Homemade Corned Beef

Making your own corned beef is especially satisfying because it’s so easy—and so inexpensive compared to commercial corned beef. It’s also a pleasure to have a hand in what is an extraordinary transformation of a cheap cut of meat. We love simple braised brisket, like the Belgian stew carbonnade, cooked slowly in beer and onions, but to cause the metamorphosis from brisket to delicious corned beef is a different pleasure altogether. Corned beef becomes firmer. It takes on the delicious cured flavor. And, while it’s excellent for sandwiches, it can make an elegant main course for a full meal, served with, say, sautéed blanched cabbage or Brussels sprouts with a mustard vinaigrette and boiled potatoes.

Then there’s corned beef and cabbage, which is one my favorite preparations because it takes what ought to be a kind of one-pot stew collection of cheap ingredients—cured brisket, cabbage, and potatoes—and with just a little bit of effort turns them into a beautiful, distinctive meal.

Cabbage and bacon are a great combo, so I love to render some lardons (batons of cured pork belly or bacon) and sear the cabbage in bacon fat. (Is there a better phrase in the kitchen than “sear in bacon fat”? I can’t think of one.) This flavors the cabbage and gives the edges of the leaves a cool crinkled design of brown and bright green. I then add some of the poaching liquid from the corned beef (step 6) to the pot and cover it so that the cabbage steams and becomes tender. (Sometimes I even slow roast the corned beef ahead of time, wrapping the corned beef in foil with a little water and cook it at 250°F till it’s tender.) I like to cook the potatoes separately because they look better and brighter, but if you want to cut down on pots you could add sliced potatoes to the cabbage. For a quick meal, you can add the already cooked corned beef with potatoes to the cabbage, cover the pot, and steam it all together. The liquid that steams the cabbage then becomes a delicious sauce when you stir in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

There’s no single best way to cook these common foods. For me the fun is in taking ingredients we thing of as pedestrian and making them great.–Michael Ruhlman

LC Pickled Beef Note

Pickled beef. That’s essentially what corned beef is. Any questions?

Pink Salt Note

Pink salt, is a curing salt with nitrite that does a few special things to meat: It changes the flavor, preserves the corned beef’s red color, prevents fats from developing rancid flavors, and–most importantly in home curing–prevents many bacteria from growing. It’s sold under various brand names, such as tinted cure mix or T.C.M., DQ Curing Salt, Prague Mix #1, Curing Salt #1 and Insta-Cure Salt #1. Do not buy Insta Cure #2, which is used for air-cured meats that aren’t cooked, such as pepperoni, hard salami, genoa salami, proscuitti hams, dried farmers sausage, capicola, etc.

Homemade Corned Beef Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 5 D, 3 H
  • Makes 4 1/2 pounds, 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • For the pickling spice
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hot red-pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon ground mace
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
  • 2 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • For the brine
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 ounce (5 teaspoons) pink salt (see Note)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice (above recipe or store-bought)
  • One 5-pound well-marbled (first-cut) beef brisket

Directions

  • Make the pickling spice
  • 1. Lightly toast the peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet, then smash them with the side of a knife just to crack them.
  • 2. Combine the cracked spices with the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Store in a tightly sealed plastic container or glass jar.
  • Make the brine
  • 3. Combine the water, salt, sugar, pink salt, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the pickling spices in a pot large enough to hold the brisket comfortably. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the brine until it’s completely chilled.
  • 4. Place the brisket in the brine and weight it down with a plate to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days.
  • 5. Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse it thoroughly under cool running water. (Resting is not required here because the distribution of the brine will continue in the long, slow cooking process.)
  • Cook the corned beef
  • 6. Place the brisket in a pot just large enough to hold it and add enough water to cover the meat. Add the 2 tablespoons of pickling spice and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for about 3 hours, or until the brisket is fork-tender. There should always be enough water to cover the brisket; replenish the water if it gets too low.
  • 7. Remove the corned beef from the cooking liquid, which can be used to moisten the meat and vegetables, if that is what you’re serving (see headnote). Slice the corned beef and serve warm, or cool, then wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve, or for up to a week.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Julie Dreyfoos

Mar 14, 2011

This corned beef recipe is amazing and very simple to do. In my excitement to try this recipe, I hadn’t read over the list of ingredients very well, so as I was putting the brine together, I realized that I didn’t have the recommended pink salt that Michael calls for in the recipe. I noticed in one of the comments above that Michael mentions the salt isn’t necessary, so I continued on without the salt. Six days later, we sat down to the most amazing corned beef all four of us ever had. One of my testers, who claims to be a corned beef snob, said, “Although I would have preferred it a bit saltier, it was one of the best that I have ever had.”

Comments
Comments
  1. mary says:

    I read the book and was so anxious to try the corned beef that I went to the store and bought some Morton Tender Quick instead. I wanted to brine the brisket like the book, said but I couldn’t wait to buy on line “pink salt,” and the grocery store didn’t have it. The problem is the Morton people have you dry rub the salt mixture and stick the brisket in the fridge. We’ll see how it turns out.

    I’m ready to get a sausage grinder and stuffer next, because I really want to make my own sausage. I am so glad this book came out because I don’t know anyone who is remotely interested or who knows anything about this subject.

    • David Leite says:

      Mary, how did it turn out? I’m curious.

      • Patti Carr says:

        Have you tried freezing the beef after it has been brined? Would like to brine several at a time and always have corned beef available for my frequent Reuben Sandwich attacks! Thanks

        • David Leite says:

          Hi, Patti. No I’ve never frozen corned beef. But from my research, I see you can freeze it after it’s been brined and cooked. I’d suggest making sure the surface is completely dry before wrapping in plastic wrap and then foil. (If you have a vacuum sealer machine, that would work, too.) Freeze it for no more than 2 months.

          • Jakki says:

            I have just tried this recipe and it turned out nicely. The brisket I used wasn’t that fatty or well marbled. I also used two 2-pound pieces, but cooked them for the 3 hours. I wonder if I would have used a more well marbled brisket if it would have turned out more tender? Also would cooking it for a longer period make it tougher or softer? It was tender. I just think it could have been slightly more so.

            • David Leite says:

              Jakki, so glad you liked the recipe. Two smaller pieces won’t need to cook as long as a larger piece of meat and it could have made it a bit tougher. But the biggest contributor to tenderness is the marbling. Definitely try to special order 5 pounds of first-cut brisket with plenty of marbling. I think you will find a huge difference.

        • Marshall Rogers-Martínez says:

          I would think freezing after brining but before cooking would be okay because the freezing point of highly salted water is much lower than your freezer would be capable of and assuming the brine has reached the innermost regions of the brisket, it probably won’t freeze per se but stay preserved in the brine at a low temperature. I would try it just to see!

          • David Leite says:

            Hi, Marshall. Freezing brined by uncooked brisket would change the texture of the meat–making it slightly spongy. (Cook’s Illustrated did an experiment of freezing brined meats.) Patti, if you don’t think you’d mind that slightly different texture, go for it!

          • ruhlman says:

            i freeze brined chix all the time with no truly noticeable difference. don’t see why brisket would be much different.

  2. Janie says:

    I am glad you posted this. I have made my own corned beef before, many years ago, but have been searching for a recipe to do in the present, since I have lost the older one, which I think was either a Gourmet, or Bon Appetit recipe. This is the only one that adds the red pepper flakes, I have found. I do not recall using the pink salt, as I couldn’t find it.

    I am wondering how the above recipe turns out using the Morton Tender Quick, and thinking I will look for it rather then wait for the pink salt…

    • David Leite says:

      Janie, glad you found the recipe, too! I’m going to have Michael Ruhlman weigh in on the salt issue.

    • ruhlman says:

      I’ve never worked with tender quick. it’s got less sodium nitrite in it so I’m curious how it will work. Good luck. Also, I reduce the salt concentration by 50%.

      I’ll bet the tender quick has a brine ratio for using it–follow that, with the above pickling spice.

  3. ruhlman says:

    This can also be done with beef short ribs. Coat your cured meat in black pepper and coriander and smoke it if you want to turn it into pastrami!

  4. Emily says:

    I’m excited to try this as a St. Patrick’s Day project. A couple questions, in the paragraphs above the recipe it says, “I slow roast the corned beef ahead of time, wrapping the corned beef in foil with a little water and slow roast it at 250°F till it’s tender.” Would that be in instead of boiling as instructed in the recipe body? Also, would it work well to cook the beef the day before and then reheat for serving?

    • ruhlman says:

      I would simmer it (as in step 6) since the brine is so strong. If you want to reduce the brine’s strength to five percent salt concentration, then you can do the oven steam/roast method.

  5. sue says:

    where can get curing salt in CANADA, Hamilton Ontario

    • David Leite says:

      Sue, I’m sure in your area, but two places that may have it are stuffers.com in BC or the Sausage Maker in Buffalo, NY.

    • Dan Kraan, LC Community Moderator says:

      I live right around the corner, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Sue. My local butcher carries that kind of stuff. Alternatively, see if there’s a few places that offer sausage making supplies near you.

    • David Leite says:

      Sue, Michael Ruhlman sent this, which came from a reader of his. She lives in Canada:

      “I got it from Bill Leathem at the Stuffers Supply Company online store in Canada…but you have to email them for the small quantity as it is not listed on their website. The link is not handy.”

      Hope this helps.

    • sue says:

      I found Himalayan Pink Mountain Salt today. What are your thoughts?

      • David Leite says:

        Sue, Himalayan Pink Mountain Salt isn’t a curing salt, despite having the word pink in the title.

      • sue says:

        Meat is in the fridge.

        • David Leite says:

          Sue, tell us how it turns out.

          • sue says:

            I looked at my meat today, looks anemic, I will cook it tomorrow.

            • sue says:

              The anemic meat is in the pot.

              • David Leite says:

                Sue, you’re scaring me….

                • sue says:

                  David, no need to be scared, you’re not eating it, I am…Beef looked really anemic, something I would never buy at the store. Threw it in the pot, with the thought what take out will be tonights dinner. Well lo and behold, it turned a beautiful red and tasted just like corned beef. This will be a regular dinner at my house, no longer just a treat. Oh by the way, David you are invited for dinner, if you dare. Turning the broth into soup now. Rubin sandwiches and soup for lunch, see you at noon. Thank you for sharing this recipe

    • Anjela says:

      Also you can order curing salt online.

  6. Si Chen says:

    Today is the fifth day! I couldnt find pink salt near me so I substituted the salt for morton’s tender quick and omitted the pink salt. Hopefully it comes out good! I have no motivation at work today. I just want to go home and simmer my corned beef.

    • Si Chen says:

      Quick question: for the cabbage/corned beef/potato, Did you boil the potato whole then slice? or sliced then boil?

      • David Leite says:

        Si, the potatoes should be boiled whole, cooled slightly, then sliced. I always lightly grease my knife with olive oil when cutting potatoes. Helps the slices not stick.

    • Dan Kraan, LC Community Moderator says:

      Please let us know how it turned out for you.

  7. David Straney says:

    The corned beef recipe in Charcuterie was the one of first ones I tried when I purchased the book a few years ago. I’ve since repeated the process many times, occasionally with a few tweaks of my own, but nothing major. I’ve corned the beef to cook and serve on it’s own, or as a step en route to pastrami. The results have been nothing less than excellent.

    That said, I do have one issue with the recipe – The amount of pink salt called for. I buy most of my curing supplies from http://www.butcher-packer.com which, if I recall correctly, is recommended as a source in the book. Their web site and the packaging clearly state that 4 ounces of the pink salt will cure 100 pounds of meat. The recipe calls for 1 ounce (5 teaspoons), or enough to cure 25 pounds of meat. My adjustment for a 5 pound brisket is to use 1 teaspoon, and have never had a problem with the finished product.

    If Michael is still following this, I would be interested in his comments on this matter.

  8. ruhlman says:

    We’re reevaluating pink salt levels for the new book so can’t answer specifically. that’s brian’s recipe. the govt recommended level of nitrite in a product is 200 parts per million, so if you’re good at math, figure out 200 ppm for the weight of the brine and meat combined. don’t forget also that it’s simmered, which leaches out salt. also, nitrite converts to nitrous oxide so I’m not sure how much nitrite you’re getting in final product. trying to research this now!

  9. David Straney says:

    Thanks for the response, Michael. I checked a number of sources of information regarding the use of pink salt – commercial and governmental. Most recommend 4 ounces per 100 lbs of meat. A couple recommended no more than 5 ounces. I’ll be interested in seeing the outcome of your research. In the meantime, I’ll stick with my ratio.

  10. Kye says:

    How did you cook the cabbage? It looks grilled but a little raw.

  11. Phillip Abbott says:

    Channeling my “inner Patton” here: Ruhlman, you magnificent bastard! I (bought and) read your (and Polcyn’s) book! Made a great pastrami last week from the Charcuterie recipe for pastrami; the point became corned beef and flat pastrami. Friends and family have been drooling ever since! Thanks for the great read!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Phillip, terrific to hear, cursing and all. We’ll share your effusiveness with Ruhlman…

  12. Marcus Callahan says:

    Bought a brisket a little early for a March 17 party. Would it be OK to cure the brisket now and leave it in the fridge for two weeks? Or better to freeze it?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Better to freeze it now and brine it later, Marcus. It’s just for two weeks, so there should be little to no side effects from freezing it. Besides, any slight impairment in taste or texture will be overshadowed by the loveliness that the brine brings to the meat. Do let us know how it goes…

  13. Mike says:

    Hi everyone, In a pinch I use one table spoon of tender quick per pound of meat plus one heafty extra table spoon and omit any other salt a recipe calls for, have yet to be dissapointed or a bad outcome :) You can get pink salt or saltpeter online very easy or at a pharmacy if you ask politely explain why and if they say no then catch another pharmacist cuz these days they carry it or much of it on hand but will order it for you. A common misconception is you need pinksalt to make the cured meat red bzzzzt wrong! its pink so it dont get mistaken for regular salt.. where as saltpeter is obviously different looking….

  14. rarn says:

    Really nitrates? Most medical sources recommend avoiding them as much as possible due to their associations with cancer. Don’t take my word for it do a quick a cursory glance.

    When will we learn preservatives are never a good thing?

    • David Leite says:

      rarn, we understand completely. But as compared to commercial products–which are filled with nitrates and are what the medical community is warning us about–this recipe calls for far, far less and most of it is left in the brining solution. Cooking our own foods, and eating them in moderation, is always best.

    • ruhlman says:

      We get 95% of our nitrate from vegetables (from ground nitrogen); they convert to nitrites which are powerful anti-microbe fighters in out digestive tract and in our saliva. There was concern in the ’70s that foods with nitrites at high heat created nitrosamines which were believed to be carcinogens. That proves to be overblown. There’s evidence that nitrates are good for us (indeed if they were bad for us humans would have a serious design flaw). Meats cured at or below 200 ppm eaten in normal quantities, not abundant quantities, is not a cause for concern. See my site on the no-nitrites market hoax.

      Eat real food, use your common sense, and relax.

      • David Leite says:

        And…the King has spoken. rarn, I hope this encourages you to make Michael’s excellent recipe.

  15. tim says:

    I would like to try boiling the brisket in beer versus water. Have you heard of this before? If so what was the result or opinion?

  16. Gail says:

    David, I came across your blog just today, as I am planning to make corned beef for the first time this St. Paddy’s day. The first recipe I came across didn’t include ANY pink salt in the brine. The recipe did admit that the color would not look traditional, but the flavor would be the same. I’m wondering what you think about omitting pink salt entirely. Also, I live in Singapore and though I haven’t gone on the hunt, I’m not sure I’ll be able to even get it here.

    • David Leite says:

      Hi Gail, if you found another recipe that doesn’t include pink salt, then I’d encourage you to use that one. Michael says the pink salt “changes the flavor, preserves the corned beef’s red color, prevents fats from developing rancid flavors, and prevents many bacteria from growing.” I’m concerned if you don’t use it, your meat might develop rancid flavors or certain bacteria. The other recipe might take that into account with its ingredients. I’d rather you be safe than sorry.

    • ruhlman says:

      Actually, there’s no bacterial risk here given salt content and the fact that it’s fully cooked. Ok to omit pink salt.

      • David Leite says:

        Michael, thanks for weighing in. I think info will be very useful to readers who are concerned about using pink salt or are concerned about bacteria.

      • Gail says:

        Thank you Michael, and that’s good to hear, because I couldn’t find pink salt here, and I decided to go ahead and try it with just salt. It’s on day 3 of marinating and I look forward in 2 days to the final product.

  17. I just bought all of the ingredients today at Kalustyan’s on 28th/Lexington. Well not all of the ingredients, but I bought the curing salt (#1) and the pickling spices at Kalustyan’s. Then I went across the street to that Halal butcher (Lahori Market; the butcher’s name is Arshad I believe) and bought a unidentifiable piece of beef. I’m not really sure what it is; he wasn’t able to tell me what part of the cow it came from. I’m not sure how it will turn out; it has very little marbling (not a good sign right? I won’t get a lot of flavor is my hypothesis), is very dense (again, from the low fat content) and looks nothing like the pictures on google images of “beef brisket.” I figured it was only $3.99/lb (that’s CHEAP for NY meat prices; especially for Murray Hill imo) and corned beef was originally meant as a way to preserve meat by poor people and make the meat more palitable so I figured any chunk-o-beef would work. I’ll be putting pictures on my website when I get to cooking the piece later this week. I will start curing tomorrow!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Such culinary curiosity, Marshall! Just what we like to see. I agree that typically marbling lends to lovely flavor, although with all the spices in the corned beef, I actually have high expectations. Do let us know how it goes, and definitely post some pics of the raw cut of beef so we can all jump in as crackpot butchers and try to identify it!

      • So the brine is cooling down right now and everything seems to be on track for St. Patrick’s day. I’m going to go over the 5 days recommended in this guide because I have found other recipes on the net that call for up to 2 weeks. St. Patrick’s day is a week away, so I figure 7 days is probably just the right amount of brining time.

        Anyways, here is a photo of the raw piece of beef I purchased from Ashad. Maybe an expert can identify it?

        • c says:

          Definitely not a brisket…way too lean…

        • David Leite says:

          Hello, Marshall. That looks very much like a bottom round roast. It’s not the ideal candidate for corned beef. Brisket, as the recipe states, is really the best. It has the right shape and thickness to allow for maximum penetration of the corning solution as well as the right meat-to-fat ratio.

          • Hi David,

            Do you think it will work at all? Should I keep going with this?

            • David Leite says:

              Hi Marshall, I think you might be disappointed in the results. Did you ask the butcher for brisket?

              • He couldn’t understand me. I was asking him if he had brisket and he just showed me this other cut of meat and told me that he had beef. It was a language barrier thing. I did a quick google search and the wikipedia article for corned beef says it is usually made with “brisket or round steak” then I also found a recipe using round roast.

                I think I’ll keep going with it and if it isn’t satisfactory I’ll redo it with a brisket. In fact even if it is satisfactory I will. I love corned beef. I could eat it everyday!

                • David Leite says:

                  Hey Marshall. As Terry says in her recipe, it makes a lean corned beef–not the stuff you could eat all day! That’s fattier and probably more tender.

          • Well I turned it over today in the brine to make sure it is evenly brined (this is probably unnecessary in hindsight given the entire thing is submerged; I really just wanted to take a peak!). When I was turning it I noticed some nice fatty portions throughout the other side of the cut. So while it’s positively not a brisket, hopefully it won’t be a complete disappointment. :/. I’m counting down the days until Saturday. I’ll give everyone a complete photo walk through of my meal with a breakdown of how it turned out. On another note, I think it’s really awesome that you respond to comments on your site, David. I think that’s really great and it makes it so much more personal. Truly an inspiration!

            • David Leite says:

              Marshall, I look forward to the images. Realize that it might take a bit longer to brine, and also to cook, because from the photo it looks much thicker than a brisket. And thank for the kind words about our commenting. We trying for a “no comment left behind policy.” Sometimes a comment slips by without us noticing, but we get to them all eventually.

            • ruhlman says:

              David’s right on the cut and the fact that it’s really too lean to simply eat on it’s own. It will be corned and tasty, though, so just find some way of getting more fat on the plate or sandwich—for a quick fix, mix whole grain mustard with mayo. Better still, make your own mayo!

              • Yah, after it was mentioned that it will be too dense to eat as a main course, I began contemplating sandwiches for next week. Thankfully it’s only 2.5 pounds of beef.

                I’m having a hard time finding brisket in Manhattan, and I want to redo this the right way with a brisket next week or the week after. Do you have any suggestions, Mr. Ruhlman, on where to find brisket in the city? I’ve tried several Hispanic carnicerias in Morningside Heights near my place, asking for “pecho” but to no avail.

                • David Leite says:

                  Marshall, I contacted Citarella for you, and they do indeed have first cut brisket. You can call (212) 874-0383, press #1, and you’ll be connected to a sales rep who will order for you. It usually takes one day.

            • David Leite says:

              And Marshall, here is Michael’s excellent mayonnaise recipe.

  18. So the results are in… it turned out wonderfully! The beef was so tender, the shreds were falling apart. I know some cooks out there like Jaden Hair over at Steamy Kitchen like to prepare/steam their vegetables separately from the corned beef, but I always dumped the vegetables into the pot for the last 30 minutes or so. I love the briny taste the cabbage takes on after a quick bath with the corned beef. The meat is very dense so I couldn’t eat much of it, but I will definitely be making sandwiches this week! Thanks for the great recipe Ruhlman! Here are photos of my entire process, from brining to meal:

  19. Aberdeen says:

    I’m planning to try this with moose, but all the recipes I’ve found talk about cooking immediately after the brining. We get moose in September, and I’d love to have it for the spring. Does it freeze well between the brining and the cooking?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Aberdeen, I don’t know from experience, but my instinct is to freeze the meat prior to brining in the fall, then defrost, brine, and cook it in the spring. I’m going to ask around and see if I can get a voice of experience to weigh in…

  20. Chris says:

    Pink salt or Sodium Nitrate in cured foods is becominng increasingly linked to pancreatic cancer. There is no need to use it.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Chris, I, too, am a little leery of using sodium nitrate. Although I also believe that a little of just about everything in moderation or, in this case, very occasional indulgence, is okay.

    • David Leite says:

      Chris, as you can see above, Michael says you can safely omit the pink salt. So no worries.

  21. Murray says:

    We have been reading your conversations with great interest. We do have a question. We started brining our brisket on Thursday, the 15th. We are planning on a late St. Paddy’s Day dinner. Probably March 24th. Is it O.K. to leave the brisket in the brine for 8 to 9 days. Or should we be taking it out now and processing it either by freezing or cooking it. The brisket is about 6 pounds and appears to have been rolled into a roast about 5 inches thick by about 12 inches long. Any advise is appreciated. Thanks.

    • David Leite says:

      Murray, I have but one rule when it comes to making a recipe the first time: follow it exactly. I think it best to take it out on time and cook it. That way you can judge for yourself what you think and tweak it next time. Michael may see it differently.

  22. Ruhlman says:

    Shouldnt brine rolled. But if so 9 days may be fine. Once it’s cured can be frigerated for a while or frozen, but it’s cured, shld be good for weeks

  23. Carol says:

    bought a corned beef brisket ready to cook, can it be frozen as packaged and how long will it keep?

  24. Anne says:

    This recipe looks wonderful. I have all of the ingredients except for the allspice berries. Can I use ground allspice? How much of it do I use. I am thinking about 1 1/2 tsp?

    Thanks

  25. Rebekah says:

    I just made my brine and realized that I doubled the sugar. Is that a big deal? Also I used Celtic salt instead of the pink. Should I brine for a couple less days to prevent bacteria?

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Rebekah, I’m curious to hear how this turned out. The pink salt contains nitrites which aid in the curing process. I’m not sure that you will have the same success using Celtic Sea Salt and your corned beef may be a bit sweeter than normal due to the additional sugar. Please let us know.

      • Julie Dreyfoos, LC Production Manager says:

        Hi Rebekah, I just want to add that I have made this twice without “pink salt” and left it in the brine for the specified days and had no problem what so ever, in fact the author states in one of his comments that this is perfectly fine.

      • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

        Just a quick update- I just heard from Michael Ruhlman and he says that “it will be sweeter and will look like pot roast when cooked but will still be good”.
        Thanks Michael!

  26. paul says:

    There always seems to be debate about nitrite in cured products. You can make many of the cured products without it, but they’re never the same. I have been in the natural and organic industry for many years now and we use celery juice powder to cure meats. It works just like the pink salt or the cure used in Morton’s Tender Quick. I cannot vouch for its safety vs. any other cure, but I can tell you it’s approved for use in organic meats. It’s a bit costly at $40.00 per lb and tricky to find, but it works great. We use it all the time in the market where we cure meats I will be making several hundred pounds of corned beef for the upcoming St. Patty’s Day. Mr. Ruhlman is correct, it will be fine, but not the same as if cured.

  27. sushiphaze says:

    I am making my first cured Corned Beef and I am using Mortons Tender Quick curing salt. It went into the brine today and will come out on the 17th in time to be braised for dinner. Thank you for all of the great tips in this thread, it helped a lot!

    • David Leite says:

      sushiphaze, our pleasure. And make sure to take a few pictures and send them to us so we can post them with your comments.

  28. CalmBliss says:

    Made this for yesterday’s St. Patty’s Day dinner. It was fabulous! So full of flavor! Thanks for posting what will now bw my go-to corned beef recipe! Yum!

    • David Leite says:

      CalmBliss, my pleasure. It’s always a delight to hear another likes a dish that I have fallen hard for.

  29. john Clark says:

    Hi, I have a couple of questions before attempting this recipe. Is the recipe using American gallons ? And regarding the amount of pink salt , is the amount recommended not too high? I have read elsewhere that a ratio of 1 level tsp to 5 pounds of meat should be used.

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi John, the recipe is in US gallons. As far as the salt, I know that there was some discussion about reducing the salt, but our testers all made it as written and had great success.

  30. Elena Valencia says:

    I followed the recipe for the corned beef but after 5 days, it still looked brown, not reddish. What happened? What did I do wrong?

  31. I’m making it again, this time with a Mexican cut – “pecho de res” – which literally translates to “beef chest” but from my best understanding is the same as beef brisket. The piece I have is thin and lightly marbled and curls on itself leading me to believe it is a piece of brisket which has been filleted/carved. Will post photos soon.

    • David Leite says:

      Hello, Marshall. Yes, pecho de res is considered beef brisket. I’m just not sure if it’s the first cut, which Michael suggests here. Looking forward to hearing about and seeing your success.

  32. Miss Sarah says:

    Hi, this is the best looking recipe for corned beef that I have found (after hours of research.) I have never actually done a beef brine before, and my question is, is the sugar THAT important? I know it isn’t that much, and I have no real idea how much sugar the meat will soak up, but could I leave it out?

    • David Leite says:

      Miss Sarah, if the sugar is the only thing stopping you from making the corned beef (say, because of dietary restrictions), sure, leave it out. It’s role is to lend some sweetness and to counteract the saltiness, which is needed in the beef. So your beef might be a wee bit more salty tasting. Don’t reduce the salt, though, as it’s needed for the proper brine.

      • Miss Sarah says:

        Thanks. I have also been reading that the sugar is a hydrophilic, which means it attracts and holds water. This helps keep the meat moist and tender. I will keep the sugar. I’m so excited to try this recipe this weekend!!!

        • David Leite says:

          Miss Sarah, yes, sugar is hydrophilic (that why when we macerate fruit it gets liquify)–but salt is far more hydrophilic. Considering there’s four times as much salt than sugar in the ecipe, I think the heavy lifting is being done by the salt. Also, brining won’t make meat more tender. It will make it moister, though. Common misconception.

          I can’t WAIT to hear what you think when you make this. I adore it!

  33. Miss Sarah says:

    OMG!!!!! I have NEVER even tried to make corned beef. Not even with pre-made spice and by just throwing it into the crock pot. SO, I felt really overwhelmed when reading the recipe. WELL, THIS recipe was amazing and EASY! I loved it. My husband loved it, and now it is going to be a meat I make every few months. :-) BTW, I followed the recipe exactly. Thanks so much for sharing.

  34. hddonna says:

    Help! I tried this recipe for the first time this year. I followed the recipe exactly, including using the pink curing salt. My brisket was scheduled to come out of the brine today. It is gray, not pink! What could be going on? There are some red as in fresh looking spots on the bottom, where it rested on the bottom of my container. I returned it to the fridge minus the plate, so the brine could reach the uncured spots, but I am wondering what I should be doing with it. My plan was to drain it and wait a couple of days to cook it, when more members of my family will be home to enjoy it. Should I cook it right away, drain it and wait as planned, leave it in the brine another day or two? Any idea why it isn’t pink?

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      hddonna, is the pink salt fresh? Was the brisket fully submerged? Was the brine fully diluted? If it’s red on the bottom I wonder if the solution wasn’t fully mixed. Or if you used less pink salt than called for. I’ve made this for several years, and the only time I had grey areas was when I didn’t let it sit long enough, so the middle wasn’t pink. I’d stir the brine to make sure it’s fully dissolved, return the meat to the pot upside down, cover it with a plate, and let it sit two more days. Even if it’s gray, it will still have good flavor.

  35. hddonna says:

    Thank you for responding so quickly! Yes to all of your questions. I bought the salt one year ago from Amazon and didn’t open it until making this recipe. An online source says it has a two-year shelf life. I used the full 5 teaspoons and made sure everything was dissolved before chilling the brine. I’ll follow your suggestions and cure it a couple more days and see what happens. I’m sure it will be tasty, and I did notice that the expected textural changes have taken place–the meat was much firmer than when placed in the brine. I’ll post my results after I cook it.

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      hddonna, I got the photo. NO worries. You’ll see the difference when you cook it!

      • hddonna says:

        I cooked my corned beef on Saturday, and as you can see, it turned pink as promised. It was delicious. I did think the spices were a little strong. If all the spice mix left after corning the beef is added during the cooking, as the recipe directs, that is a lot of spice. I originally made up only a third of the mix, noting that only two tablespoons were called for in the brine. Only afterward did I notice that the rest was to be added later, so I made up another batch of a third, so that the total used in both brining and cooking was still just 2/3 of the full recipe. In future, I think 1/3 will be more than enough.

        Corned Beef

        Finally, a note about the cut of brisket. I was unfamiliar with the term “first cut”. Here in St. Louis, and in Nebraska, where I grew up, brisket is sold as “flat cut” or “point cut”. I did some hunting online, even watched a video of a butcher subdividing a half of beef, but was not able to find anything about the first cut. I bought a whole brisket and trimmed and cut it myself, and I decided to use the flat cut to corn, since that’s what I prefer when buying my brisket already corned. Later I had occasion to talk to an acquaintance who turned out to be a butcher, and he told me that the first cut would be the point cut, but that he would recommend using the flat cut, as I had done. Well, I think this particular piece was leaner than I would have liked, so the result was not as succulent as I had hoped for. I have the point cut in the freezer, so I think I might try corning that in a couple of months and compare the results. That piece was so fatty, however, that the layer on top of the thick fat layer looked more like bits of beef in fat that bits of fat in beef. But looking back at the photo at the beginning of this post, I think the meat in the picture does more resemble that cut in shape.

        • David Leite David Leite says:

          hdonna, well, we have the pink issue behind us! Now on to spiciness. Clearly, it’s very subjective. I’ve never found it too spicy for my taste. Let ask you: You left it in the brine a few extra days, correct? If so, that could have caused the extra kick of spice.

          As to the name of the cut, that can sometimes be regional. I’ve only heard “first cut.” Also, my research says that the first cut is the flat cut while the fattier second cut is called the point cut. So if you want more fat, I’d suggest second cut. Nothing wrong with using it as the fat can be trimmed before serving.

          Did you cook it low and slow? That’s what will help the corned beef be a bit more succulent.

          • hddonna says:

            As to the seasoning, I’ve decided that it’s the cloves that are too much for me. I find that a little clove goes a very long way–but that’s my personal preference. I think if I cut back on the cloves, I would be happy with the taste. You’re right, leaving it in the brine longer would no doubt increase the absorption of spices, though I only left it in an extra 24 hours (20% longer than the recipe specifies), then removed it, rinsed it, wrapped it, and put it in the refrigerator for another two days. I did cook it low and slow. Since I had to be away from the house, I brought it to a simmer in my dutch oven and then placed it in a 275 degree oven for three hours. When I got home, after the three hours, it took another half hour to get tender.

            I enjoy a boiled dinner, but it’s the Reuben sandwiches and the red flannel hash that really float my boat. We had the Reubens this evening, and they were fantastic. No complaints there. The meat I used was from the other side of the roast, which would have been the middle of the whole brisket, right next to the point cut, and it was tender, juicy, and, yes,– succulent! What I served the other day was from the end farthest from the point, and there is definitely a difference.

            Regional difference in meat terminology are interesting. I often run into this when reading cookbooks and blogs from different parts of the country. Have you got a favorite website or other source of information to help one check exactly which cut is meant by a certain term? I never did find anything on first and second cuts in my own search.

            And thanks again for your help in answering all my questions. I think it’s awesome that you take the time to follow up like that, even when the comments are to a post that’s been around as long as this one has. Your website is first class!

  36. Khan says:

    Sorry, am a little confused… So only 2 tablespoons of pickling spice in the brine and then the remaining 2 tablespoons when you cook the corned beef?

    Can someone also kindly let me know the quantity of salt, pink salt, and water to make the brine for each kilogram of meat?

    Finally… Cant source Kosher salt anywhere in my region… Did manage to find Pure Himalayan Salt – Can i use this? Appreciate some guidance on which varieties of salt can be used for the brine

    • David Leite David Leite says:

      Khan, yes, 2 tablespoons for the brine and 2 tablespoons for the cooking. You’ll have some left over. (I made the directions clearer.)

      Now, regarding the water, pink salt, and salt per kilogram. You have to be very, very careful because you need the meat to cure properly and fully. The salt and pink salt do that. You want to be precise with it. (That’s my little caveat.) So, for each kilogram of beef use:

      1.8 liters of water
      1.8 teaspoons (11 grams) of pink salt
      200 grams of kosher salt

      I’ve not used Pure Himalayan Salt, so I can’t vouch for it in this recipe. The best way to handle the salt issue is to use the weight I supplied. that is correct for each kilogram of meat. Don’t use a measuring cup because different salts have different volumes.

      Hope this helps.

      • Khan says:

        Brilliant, thanks David… Have a brisket on brine for past 6 days… planning on taking it out to cook on Friday which will be day 8… I used a ready salt mix (salt & pink) in my brine…fingers crossed it turns out pink! Have ordered the pink salt directly, should be here in a day or two… but choosing the right Salt, whether Kosher or not has me stumped…. have been reading i cant use normal table salt because of its iodized… then read cant use sea salt or himalayan salt as they have high content of minerals which can effect the curing process…. then read i can use Kosher Salt or a Pickling Salt…. Well, I live in the Middle East and for obvious reasons, you will never find salt here branded as Kosher! So now my problem is identifying the right salt….. If you or anyone here can help spread some light on this, I would be truly grateful…. Thank you!

        • David Leite David Leite says:

          Khan, please take note of the email I sent you. I believe you have used far too little salt and pink salt for your cure, which can be dangerous. That being said, I do know people who don’t use any pink salt whatsoever, but they used the correct amount of salt–and their corned beef comes out fine, but it’s gray and unappetizing. My concerned is you haven’t corned it properly with the right amount of salt.

          As far as finding the right kind of salt where you live, I’m stumped. Perhaps one of our readers can help out.

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