Homemade Corned Beef

Homemade corned beef is crazy easy to make. It’s essentially brisket that’s given a makeover by letting it linger in an easy brine with spices and then slowly braised until falling apart tender. Includes a variation for slow-cooker corned beef. Here’s how to make it.

Several slices of homemade corned beef in a sandwich on a wooden table.

Homemade corned beef sorta defines Saint Patrick’s Day. And if you’ve heard of it but not experienced it, or perhaps experienced it but still aren’t exactly certain what corned beef is, it’s essentially brisket that’s lingered in a brine solution of spices for a few days. It becomes a little salty and a little redolent of spices and, as it turns out, it may be good for you. See, its brine solution is essentially a pickling liquid. And you’ve certainly heard the buzz in recent years about how healthful pickled things are, yes? Ergo, the only logical thing to do is pickle and consume copious quantities of corned beef. Right?! Or if you don’t buy that, consider that once a year, we’re all Irish. Kindly note, you’ll need to start the corned beef about a week before you intend to sit down to the tables. #worthit–Renee Schettler

Video: How to Make Corned Beef

Homemade Corned Beef

  • Quick Glance
  • (33)
  • 30 M
  • 5 D, 3 H
  • Makes 4 1/2 pounds, 8 to 10 servings
4.9/5 - 33 reviews
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Special Equipment: Slow cooker (if following the slow cooker method)


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  • For the pickling spice
  • For the brine solution


Make the pickling spice

Toss the peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet and place over medium heat until the spices are lightly toasted. Dump them on a cutting board and smash them with the side of a chef’s knife to crack them, being careful so the seeds don’t roll all over your counter and onto the floor.

Scrape the cracked spices into a large plastic container or glass jar or other nonreactive container and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until completely combined. Cover tightly.

Make the brine solution

In a pot that’s just large enough to hold the brisket, combine the water, salt, sugar, pink salt, garlic, and 2 tablespoons pickling spice. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove the pot from the heat, let the brine cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until the brine is completely chilled.

For a Quick Chill: Bring 1/2 gallon of water to a simmer, add the brine ingredients, and stir until dissolved. Slide the pot off the heat and add 1/2 gallon of ice and water. Make sure the water is cool before adding the brisket.

Place the brisket in the chilled brine and weight it with a plate to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days, flipping the brisket once or twice.

Remove the brisket from the brine solution, discarding the brine. Rinse the brisket thoroughly under cool running water. (Don’t worry, you’re just rinsing the brine solution from the surface of the brisket. The brine will continue to permeate the beef and work its considerable magic.)

Cook the corned beef

To make the corned beef in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.

To make the corned beef on the stovetop, reach once again for a pot just large enough to hold the brisket. Place the brined brisket inside and add enough water to cover the meat. Add 2 tablespoons pickling spice and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and gently simmer for about 3 hours, or until the brisket is fork tender. You want to make certain that there’s always enough water to cover the brisket. You may need to occasionally replenish the water if it gets too low.

When the corned beef is done, remove it from the cooking liquid, which can be reserved, and place it on a cutting board. Slice the corned beef and serve it warm, with cabbage and potatoes if desired (see the T-Shirt Variation below) or cool it, wrap it, and refrigerate it for up to a week to use in this Reuben sandwich. It’s also not too shabby in corned beef hash. You can dribble the cooking liquid over the cabbage and vegetables or cover and refrigerate it and use it to moisten the rewarmed corned beef. Originally published March 14, 2011.

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    *Pink Salt Note

    • Pink salt is a curing salt containing nitrite. It 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, including 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, and the like. And don’t confuse this pink salt with Himalayan pink salt, which is entirely different.

    • Slow Cooker Variation

    • Place the brined brisket inside your slow cooker and add enough water to cover the meat. If the entire brisket won’t fit, cut off a smaller portion that will fit and reserve the remaining brined brisket. Add 2 tablespoons pickling spice to the slow cooker and cook on low until the brisket is fork-tender, about 7 hours. Remove it from the cooking liquid, which can be reserved for serving if desired. Slice the corned beef and serve it warm or cool it, wrap it, and refrigerate it for up to a week. Curious to hear more about coaxing the perfect corned beef from your slow cooker? Check out what our tester Jackie G. had to say in her TC comment below. (Spoiler alert: She turned her leftover brined brisket into homemade pastrami, natch.)

    • T-shirt Variation

    • Corned Beef With Cabbage and Potatoes
    • T-shirt variation

      To make corned beef with cabbage and potatoes, first render the fat from some bacon that you’ve cut into matchstick-size strips or any size dice in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Toss in some large wedges or large chunks of green cabbage and cook, turning as needed, until the edges are lightly browned. This will impart a little extra flavor oomph to the cabbage. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid from the corned beef to the pot. Then toss some chunked potatoes and the sliced corned beef in with the cabbage, cover, and cook until the cabbage is tender. (If you prefer the potatoes not pick up any cabbage flavor or color, boil them separately in salted water.) Either way, cover and cook until the cabbage and potatoes are tender. The liquid that steams the cabbage then becomes a delicious sauce into which you can, if you like, stir a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

    Recipe Testers Reviews

    This homemade corned beef recipe is amazing and very simple to make. In my excitement to try this, 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 the author calls for in the recipe. I noticed in one of the comments that he mentions the salt isn’t necessary, so I continued on without it. Six days later, we sat down to the most amazing corned beef any of us had ever experienced.

    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.”

    I will never buy corned beef again after making this recipe. Turns out, pickling even substandard brisket with this astounding potpourri of aromatic spices will change your life forever!

    I was very concerned that my brisket was going to be not good enough because when I got it home, I realized that it was graded select. I made the recipe anyways but put a layer of plastic wrap on top of the brine and brisket and then added the plate to hold it all together. I was surprised at the ease with which this came together and truly astonished at the final result.

    I found the simplest way to acquire the pink salt was on Amazon. For around $10, you'll secure enough for many, many pounds of homemade bacon and corned beef.

    I decided to make the “real thing” for St. Patty’s Day this year and brined a 6-pound, well-marbled, first-cut beef brisket.

    After its bath in the brine for 5 days, I decided to cook the brisket in our slow cooker instead of on top of the stove. I couldn't fit the entire brisket in my 5 1/2-quart slow cooker, so a 3-pound chunk went into the slow cooker and the rest went back into the fridge. At first, the brisket was submerged under the water. When I checked to see how it was doing after 1 1/2 hours, the meat had curled up and was sticking out of the water. I pushed it down, but wasn't terribly concerned because brisket tends to shrink quite a bit. Sure enough, after 30 more minutes, the brisket was, indeed, covered with liquid.

    The brisket cooked for a total of 7 hours on low. I suggest you check to see how the meat is doing along the way, even though some folks warn that you should never lift the lid of a slow cooker. I find that it does not add much cooking time at all. For me, and this particular piece of meat, at that 7 hour mark, the corned beef was tender.

    Alongside the brisket I served a casserole of chopped potatoes, cabbage, and onion, which I'd sautéed in bacon fat and then finished in the oven with some Comté cheese on top. As much as we enjoyed the brisket on the first night with the casserole, we enjoyed the leftovers even more. I made this wonderful corned beef hash twice and served it with poached eggs.

    So, what to do with the other remaining brisket that didn't fit in the slow cooker? There was no question. When life gives you brined brisket, make pastrami. We were as amazed by this recipe as we were the first time we made it. Smoked corned beef brisket. The makings for some fabulous sandwiches. For a riff on a traditional Reuben, try cole slaw and Russian dressing on rye bread with or without Swiss cheese (again, Comté for us) and grilled till oozy.


    #leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

    David Says

    David Leite caricature

    This homemade corned beef recipe is so damn good, it's almost enough to make me consider converting back to Catholicism. The One and I absolutely love it. I've been making this recipe from Michael Ruhlman for years, and of course, I whip it up every St. Patty's Day. (The first photo below is me going rogue. Instead of using first-cut brisket, I used the uber-fatty second cut, as it was all I had in the freezer. I trimmed much of the fat cap. We'll see how it turns out. Stay tuned.) Over the years, I’ve played around a little with the brine ingredients: more bay leaves, a bit more ginger, more peppercorns. I don’t particularly like corned beef and cabbage, so The One and I go straight to corned beef sandwiches or Reuben sandwiches and, naturally, corned beef hash. When the weather warms up—will it ever happen, God? (I told you I get really religious-y around corned beef-time)—I want to make pastrami, which is really just a smoked cousin of corned beef.


    Well, using the second cut proved to be a wise move. You can always get rid of fat, but you can't add it. Judicious trimming prior to brining and careful carving after the meat was cooked yielded juicy, tender, memorable corned beef--the best I've ever made (below). So from here on out, it's second cut for us.

    Corned Beef Cooked


    1. I’ve posted a review before but had to post again because this is such a good recipe. Works perfectly. I’m not afraid of it any more:).

      1. That’s music to our ears, Sagar. Love that you’ve mastered the corned beef. Can’t wait to hear what you take on next.

    2. I oven roasted this and its too salty but great flavor! Just make it in crockpot and it will be perfect!

    3. I am brining a 6lb brisket (flat end) at this time. 8 days in, going for 2 more. I plan on cooking at 155F sous vide for 36-40 hrs. Recipe from J.Kenji Lopez, Serious Eats. I have done the smoked version, looking forward to my own pickling. Will post my results.

            1. This was terrific. I may do it again. Sure beats the packages you purchase in the supermarket. And, I am now (Aug. 21) in the process of thawing the point portion to sous vide it and then give little smoke in my smoker. I gave up sitting by my smoker for hours on end. Good way to drink a dozen beers, but who can eat then. I do my pork butt in a similar fashion, just slow cook in crock pot and then give a hour or two in my smoker. Enjoy your site.

    4. Why does this recipe call for so much pink salt? Typical usage is 1 ounce per 25lbs of meat or .25% by weight, is there something specific about corned beef that would require 5 times the normal amount?

      1. K, that’s what the authors, Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlman used. (I’ve made this for 10 years without any problem.) If you read through the comments, Ruhlman says you can use less if you wish. You can even omit it, but you’ll have grayish meat. If you want to reduce it, I’d suggest 2 1/2 teaspoons/15 grams.

    5. I have a whole packer brisket ~10 lbs should I double the brine or cut into two pieces and use the same amount of brine?

      1. Split a packer brisket into flat and point (both around 6lbs) and brined Saturday to Saturday. Cooked yesterday and it was fantastic. Pink didn’t penetrate all the way through the point but that’s just an aesthetic thing because the flavor and texture were brilliant.

          1. I made two brines and placed each of the halves in a 2 gallon ziploc. Didn’t stir, shake or agitate in anyway. Soooo tasty.

    6. Sooooo…I am kind of disappointed. I made the brine and then split it for 2 2-1/2 lb flat cuts. I brined for a full week in Ziplock bags in the fridge.

      I cooked using our new Sous vide at 140 degrees for 48 hours…the recipe said you could cook any corned beef and it would be falling apart tender.

      Unfortunately the result is an extremely salty and fairly tough corned beef. I don’t get much flavor other than lots of salt. Do we need to adjust if using the Sous vide? I was really excited for this on our first go-round trying our own homemade, but it is a bit of a letdown.

      1. Eric, I’m so sorry you had a bad experience. I think it’s very important to find a recipe designed for sous vide cooking. There are a lot of little adjustments needed. Because sous vide vacuum packs the meat, it will affect the flavor. Also you basically “double-brined“ the meat! If you cut it in half, you would need to brine it for half the time. The week soak is for a 5-pound cut of meat.

    7. I made this with a brisket from my own animal, grass fed, organic. I brined the meat in a stoneware crock. Then I made boiled dinner, potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips and cabbage. The best ever!

    8. I love corn beef and am going to give this home made recipe a go. Love the video, saw it on FB and figured it can’t be that hard. Wish me luck.

    9. Oh em gee. I made corned beef manifest. I’d like to see a leprechaun top that! Even though this recipe technically takes 5-6 days, it is mostly hands-off (read: easy). I made my own pickling spice per the directions, and braised the pickled beef on the stovetop for 4.5 hours (my brisket was almost 6 lbs). The finished product had a complex flavor profile and we could discern all the spice and flavor nuances imparted by the homemade pickling spices. And the color was a spectacular muted rose instead of the insipid Pepto Bismol pink featured in store-bought varieties. The Reuben sandwiches the next day were a revelation. It was, in total, a life-changing experience. I’m quoting my mama there, and she’s never wrong.

    10. I had never considered curing my own corned beef, until I watched the song-filled video by David and “The One.” I was inspired and set out to try it for myself. It could not have been easier. I made the pickling spice and popped the brisket in the brine. I had a small brisked (2 1/2 lbs) so reduced the brining time. It worked like a charm. I ended up braising the brisket in the oven, rather than doing a stovetop version. My husband loves corned beef so there was not much left for a photo. I will definitely make again.

      1. sauertea, so delighted that you enjoyed the corned beef. And no problem about no photo…there’s always next year! Curious: How long did you cure the smaller brisket?

        1. I followed your advice and cured it for three days. Took it out of the brine on Saturday. I really don’t know why I have not done this before. So simple and delicious.

    11. Saw the entertaining video on Facebook and it looked so easy I decided to make it. We got a 6 lb brisket from our butcher and brined it for 6 days. Brisket was too big for pot so cut some off and made pastrami with smaller 1/2. Both came out stupendous. Even my 8 year old likes it. Sliced it up today on St. Paddy’s day and will be making Reubens and corned-beef hash.

    12. In my kitchen, I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, how much more do I need to use to equal Morton’s? D.C. is lighter.

    13. Quick question. I have a 2.5 lb brisket, so I halved the brining solution. Are there any other adjustments I need to make? Thanks.

    14. The best corned beef ever. No resemblance to the stuff that’s vacuum-packed in brine in the meat section. I’ve said it before about recipes from this site—I will never make corned beef any other way—and it probably won’t be the last time I am wowed by how fabulous the recipes I make from Leites Culinaria are. I brined a 6-pound brisket for 5 days and halved it, making corned beef with one half and pastrami with the other. Both are excellent. I’m in brisket heaven. Both cuts are moist, tender, flavorful, and go great on good rye bread with mustard and half sour pickles. The only thing missing was either a cream soda or an egg cream—and I just found your recipe for egg cream.

      Sorry, David, no pictures. Just cutting board scraps and happy bellies.

      1. Marilyn, we’re laughing at your egg cream comment. We’re THRILLED that you love these recipes as much as we do. And you made our week, our month, our year with your kind words. That’s why we do what we do. Lovely beyond words to read your experience. Very grateful to you.

    15. Can I brine the brisket in a ziplock bag? I have all the ingredients and want to begin brining tomorrow.

    16. Waiting for the pink salt I ordered online. Brought back memories of McCann’s in lower Manhattan and their steam tables with fatty corned beef that was so tasty. Also, I think the second cut is available at Kosher butcher shops and called deckle so I will try to get it there. Nothing brings back my Irish childhood like boiled meat and Sisters of Charity. I’ll let you know how it turns out (say ten Hail Marys and an Act of Contrition).

    17. I am exploring methods and recipes to begin my adventure into cured meat and especially corned beef and barbecue smoked meat. I noticed the list of curing agents recommended for corned beef and saltpeter not mentioned. Is it an acceptable curing agent? Or are there other preferred agents? Healthwise, what are, if any, issues in the use of saltpeter and other similar agents mentioned?

      1. Michael, saltpeter was used a lot in the curing of meats but has fallen into disuse mainly because of the inconsistent results. Pink curing salts are more common, and because so little of it is used, there is no ill effect. Some people choose not to use a curing agent, but I always do, as it prevents botulism and bacteria grow.


      I’ve actually never had this kind of corned beef ever I think until a couple of weeks ago when we went to a ‘half’ Jewish wedding. At the end of the ceremony, they served what I thought was pastrami but I was told it was corned beef. It was served hot and delicious. So, I decided I would make my own and then of course came here to find a recipe. I was a bit intimidated by the recipe and the ‘pink’ salt requirement and all the comments. The only thing I did have was some wonderful brisket in the freezer – I get this from a very small farm which raises meat as humanely and ethically as possible. So, I decided to pursue it. My farmer gave me the pink salt and I got so excited and then forgot that I was going away for a few days so had another conniption because I had to marinate it for 7 days instead of 5. Anyway, to make this long story longer, it all worked fantastically. I cooked it for three hours and it was perfect but then I added the cabbage, potatoes and carrots and cooked it for another 45 minutes which did no dis-service to the meat. I took pictures but am not sure how to post it here. We ate the meat with mustard and I had a little mojo de ajo (roasted garlic paste which I commented on separately) with the potatoes. Man the choir was singing – ha ha!

      A plate of homemade corned beef with cabbage, potatoes, and carrots on the am of an outdoor chair

      Now we did find it lacked a bit of salt so I actually added more salt when cooking it for the last 45 minutes. Also, for next time, I will probably trim some of the fat off before brining it. What do you think? Should I or should I brine and cook with the external fat and then cut it off later? I will cook the veggies less – I cooked them a bit long although they still held together well. We have plenty leftover for sandwiches tomorrow – yum, yum, yum. I needed a corned beef fix last week so went and had some at the local deli – it was nothing like this one. This was just fantastic. In fact, it had a texture closer to their pastrami and pastrami as I think I know it. Having said that, I am not a connoisseur when it comes to deli meats.

      1. Sagar, what a success! So happy the recipe worked for you. As far as salt, you did the right thing: salting after the initial cooking. (May I ask what salt you used?) As far as trimming the fat, I prefer to cut it off after cooking. I find it adds flavor.

        1. Kosher salt. BTW, 4.5lbs does not really make a lot – ha ha. After we trimmed the fat and tasted away, we had enough for 4 individual meals. Yes, I know, we probably ate too much.

            1. So, I made a second one and this was slightly smaller in size and I found the salt lacking again. Again, we are not people who use a ton of salt but just the right amount:). When cooking it, I had to add more salt which was just fine. Anyway, batch #2 was delicious too. This recipe is definitely a keeper. I have plenty of pickling spice left – well, probably enough for a third brisket. Thank you for guidance along the way and of course, for the recipe.

              1. Sagar, I think the salt issue is because we’re giving it in volume, not weight. We’re changing it today. I’m delighted you’re so delighted with this dish!

                1. Hi David, thanks for that. – it will be interesting to see if that makes a difference the next time – I will post. Just to let you know that your notify me of replies/comments is not working. I did click the box but did not get a notification of your reply. Anyway, I will leave it with you.

    19. Can the brine be reused? I have one brisket brining. When I take that out to cook, can I put my second brisket in the same brine or is that a big no no?

        1. Thank you. I will report back with pictures next week. Soooooo excited. Off to find a ratatouille recipe on your site. You are a wonderful site and it is so great that you respond to all comments. BTW, there is no way to get a notification when you post a response to our comments, is there?

            1. Oh thank you David cos’ I never get any notifications. I have to remind myself to go back and see if you have replied.

    20. I am so very excited. This is the first time I am making corned beef and I even got the salt petre from my farmer. In my excitement however to get it going, I forgot that I am away for the weekend. So, I need to marinate my brisket for 7 days instead of 5. Will that be okay? Please say yes:).

    21. Brined a 2.5 lb. brisket for 5 days. Followed directions fairly closely. Used 2 teaspoons of pink salt (Prague Powder #1…ordered a lifetime’s worth from Walmart for $8.00). That’s a little less than the 1 teaspoon per pound the recipe calls for but a significant amount more than the label on the jar of pink salt. I also toned down the pickling spice (McCormick’s)…maybe half what it called for, both while cooking and in the brine.

      As noted in many posts, it didn’t look good coming out of the brine but after 9 hours in a slow cooker it looked fantastic. It also tasted amazing…hash, sandwiches, or just to snack on. I’ll be making more next time….it really shrinks up.

    22. Not going to lie this was better than my mums corned beef! This one seemed to come out a lot more succulent, might have to send her this way next time she going to make it

    23. Just wanted to say hey, thank you, and let you know I am discarding my other corned beef recipes. This is the one.

    24. Help! So I’ve brined my brisket and it looks great. I really don’t want to boil it, I think the carmelization you get in oven is much better. HOWEVER, I’m worried that it will be way too salty if it’s not cooked in water…..Any suggestions???

      1. Z beef, you’re right: The corned beef would be too salty. My suggestion is–now I haven’t made it this way so don’t show up on my doorstep the next day with a chef’s knife pointed at my chest–to cook it in the water and then transfer it to the oven and roast on high to get the crust that you want.

    25. Would the cure time be less for smaller pieces of brisket? I’m curing 2.5 pounds, of an average brisket thickness, cut evenly (short-wise) into two pieces. I adjusted the spice ratios and brine/curing salt concentration to be consistent with the full recipe, but I’m wondering if I should let it cure the full five days. Thanks!

      I’m really looking forward to trying this, it sounds amazing! When I was little, I loved Corned Beef so much I would dunk pieces of bread in the boiling liquid cause I couldn’t wait. The fat slick floating at the top was especially good :-).

    26. Hello! I’m doubling the brisket this year and my questions is: for an 11 lb brisket, should I lengthen the brining time? Or will a cut of meat this large brine in the 5 days you suggest for a smaller cut? I am going to make sure the ratio of salt to water stays relative, but very curious about the amount of time to brine the beef. Thanks!

    27. I made this last year and plan to make it again this year. It was super easy–the hardest part was finding the pink salt (online)–and super delicious. Thanks!

    28. It looks yummy! I just love this recipe. I will try it tomorrow. I got all ingredients except coriander seeds and allspice berries. Do you have any suggestion where can I find these ingredients?

      1. Roslyn, lovely to hear you’re going to make this! As for where to find those spices, it just depends on your grocery store. A lot of regular grocery stores do carry both of those. If not, sometimes health food stores carry these spices not just in the usual jars but also in bulk, which is perfect because then you can scoop out as much or as little seeds and berries as you need rather than having to buy and find space for a couple more jars in your pantry. And if neither of those works out for you, I guess you can always turn to Amazon. Good luck!

    29. Okay. I have read all the comments and suggestions for this recipe. My beef brisket is 15 pounds. My question is: do I triple the brine recipe? i.e. 6 cups kosher salt, 3 gallons water, 15 teaspoons pink curing salt, 9 tablespoons pickling spice, and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar. Does this sound correct for 15 pounds beef brisket?

      1. Rattala, my caveat: We have never tested it that way, so I can’t confidently say. Theoretically, though, yes. If you scale everything exactly, it should be fine. It would be as you have blended three single recipes together.

        1. Thank you David for answering my question. I am going to cut and trim my beef brisket to 4 and 5 pound pieces and brine according to recipe.

            1. David, O EM GGG!!! My corned beef turned out Fantastically! I followed your instructions to the letter and it worked PERFECTLY! The pickling spice recipe was excellent. The only thing I added to a pickling spice was cardamom pods and a couple of star anise. Thank you so much for your advice and help. Have a wonderful holiday :-)

    30. Hello, I wondering if you want to double the amount of meat, say 10 to 12lbs. Do you have to double everything for the brine including doubling the amount of water?

    31. Hi Folks

      I have just finished following the recipe and have put my pieces of silverside into the liquid. One question, if I leave it more than five days, what happens?
      I live in France I have managed to order from the americanmarket.com Dimond Crystal: Kosher Salt, the americanmarket is world wide so if your in the U.S.A. U.K. or Europe you will able to order it. I ordered the Pink salt (sel rougisseur: sel rose) Eric Bur. on line also.
      So if your living in France you can order it from meilleurduchef.com or info@meilleurduchef.com.
      I spent hours online trying to find these items.
      Thanks so much for the recipe.

    32. Omg! I found this recipe a couple years ago and commented before I tried it! Now I’m back to say, thank you for putting this out here for everyone to try. I have made this every 4 to 6 months since finding it. I usually make 5 to 8 pounds of meat, and there are hardly ever leftovers :-(. It’s really amazing! Again, thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    33. Delicious. I pretty much followed the directions, except brined it for 6 days in the fridge and had to swap in nutmeg for the mace. I cooked it in the slow cooker for a total of 8 hours on low. I put in a quartered onion, carrot chunks, potato chunks and kohlrabi chunks along with two tablespoons of the pickling spice and water to almost cover the meat. I threw in cabbage wedges for the last ninety minutes of the cooking. Perfect.

    34. I love this recipe so much and have made it countless times since the first time. I’ve decided to experiment a little and try this with pork. I’ll post an update when the process is over!

        1. Hey David,

          I put my pork in the brine on Monday morning however I won’t be cooking it until Sunday afternoon (dinner with friends). Do you think an extra two days will make it noticeably saltier?I was wondering if I should remove the pork from the brine on Saturday morning, rinse with water and place in a bag until Sunday afternoon? Let me know if you think I should go the extra step, else I will report my results on Sunday evening :D

          1. Marshall, to keep all variables equal, I’d remove the pork at the recommended point. That way if it is salty, you’ll know you’ll have to adjust the amount of salt next time rather than having to wonder if the extra days were the culprit.

        1. After looking around, I found a blog for smoking fish that discusses brine used to prepare the fish for smoking. The Oregonian’s Bill Monroe. There was a discussion about sugar-free brine, and the comments indicated that Splenda worked fine as a substitute for sugar.

          There was also a good discussion about the issue of sugar use for diabetics and the control of blood sugar. Their conclusion I pretty much agree with. The amount of sugar that would be absorbed into the meat is probably small & more than offset by the impact of the meat protein on the conversion of the sugar carbohydrates into blood sugar.

    35. I just made this today and it is AWESOME. I did leave it in the brine for an extra 12 or 18 hours (wouldn’t have had room in the fridge for leftovers if I’d cooked it yesterday!), and it turned out excellent. I used store-bought pickling spice, and wouldn’t hesitate to do so again. Once I removed the brisket from the cooking liquid, I cooked cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and celery in the cooking liquid while I let the brisket rest. Yum! Thanks so much for the recipe!

    36. Thanks, David. My meat was kept well below 40 and it smells wonderful…looked a little grayish when i pulled it from the brine but i believe it is just fine. I can’t wait to try it….but I most excited for the corned beef hash in a couple of days :)

    37. This is a keeper recipe! Next time, I will use a larger simmering pan than the specified “just large enough to fit the brisket” size; mine turned out tender, delicious and extremely salty, I think because it needed more cooking liquid to leach the excess salt away. I did not use pink salt, and will do the same next time.

        1. I used 1 cup kosher and 4/5 cup pickling, which was my rough interpretation of the online Morton Salt conversion chart. I did rinse well. A 5 lb brisket in a Staub cocotte – tight quarters!

    38. I have my brisket brining and plan to cook it on saturday. I was 3 or 4 tablespoons shy of the 2 cups of kosher salt….and I didn’t have the pink salt. I am not worried about not having the pink salt but because I was slightly shy on the 2 cups do you think this will effect the bacteria possibilty? Saturday will be day 5 of brining…..it has been in a very, very cold (but not freezing) refrigerator.

      1. Karen, I can’t say for sure. Some people don’t use pink salt at all. The result is a gray corned beef, but they kept it in the fridge. The temperature has to be lower than 40 degrees–anything about that is bacteria feasting time. So, I hope you understand that to hazard a guess is to risk injury, and I can’t do that. My philosophy: Better safe than sorry.

    39. Eek! I’ve procrastinated! How firm is that 5 day brine? If I have to reduce the brining time by half, should I increase the spice content by 2?

      1. Monica, I don’t think that will work. What’s better is to cut the corned beef lengthwise so that the cure can seep into the meat, otherwise, you’ll have a corned-beef coating with a plain ole brisket center.

    40. Putting this together today. Can pickling salt (green box) be used in place of kosher salt (blue box?) Thank you!

      1. Beth, yes, but because 2 cups of each doesn’t weigh the same, I’d use about 1 3/4 cups pickling salt. But, please realize that I have not tested this method nor used pickling salt, so this is only conjecture.

    41. I have been using Michael Ruhlman’s brine recipe for a few years now & have always been very happy with the results. I buy my pink curing salt online from The Spice House. I brine a 4-5 Lb brisket in a Reynold’s large oven cooking bag which sits in a glass lasagna pan. With this method I only need to make a half gallon of brine. I once accidentally doubled the sugar & it was fine. I also have accidentally doubled the pickling spice and again, it was fine.

    42. I mixed up my pickling spices about four hours before this email…The scent is INTOXICATING! If only I could just bottle it. Oh, butwait…I ALREADY HAVE!

    43. Tried the recipe and it was really good. Though it was my fist time making it I believe that it could be even better. I also have tried this in a couple of restaurants but I liked mine better.

    44. 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

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

          1. 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.

    45. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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!

    46. 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?

      1. 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.

    47. 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.

    48. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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!!!

          1. 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!

    49. 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.

      1. 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.

    50. 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?

    51. 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.

      1. 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.

    52. 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!

    53. 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!

    54. 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.

    55. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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!

    56. 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?


        1. Hi Butchers, thanks for weighing in! Please let us know how it turns out.

    57. 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

    58. 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.

      1. 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.

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

    60. 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?

    61. 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:

    62. 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!

      1. 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!

        1. 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?

          1. 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.

                1. 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!

            1. 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!

              1. 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.

              2. 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!

                1. 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.

                  1. 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.

    63. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

    64. 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?

    65. 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?

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

    66. 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….

    67. 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?

      1. 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…

    68. 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!

    69. 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.

    70. 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!

    71. 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.

    72. 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.

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

        1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

              1. David, not yet, I will be going to my butcher on Thursday as I want to make beef jerky this weekend will ask him then. Two more question, could I use coarse salt instead of kosher, also can I substitute artifical sugar for the real sugar.

          1. Just for the record, Himilayan pink salt is indeed not a curing salt, but it is definitely wonderful! And I get it from nuts.com for pretty cheap. :)

                  1. 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

    73. 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?

      1. 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.

    74. 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!

    75. 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…

      1. 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.

    76. 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.

        1. 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

          1. 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.

            1. 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.

              1. 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.

          2. 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!

            1. 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!

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