This recipe takes 7-8 days from start to finish so plan ahead about a week … you won’t be sorry. This from-scratch corned beef is better than any commercial corned beef you could ever eat
If you get a whole beef or packer cut brisket, you will want to trim it into two pieces. A whole brisket is between 8-13 pounds and requires a lot of trimming. The traditional trimming usually leaves you with a flat piece and a pointy piece, conveniently referred to as points and flats. The trimming of a beef brisket deserves its own article because it is tricky. So, for this article, I recommend you buy a pre-trimmed brisket flat or point and skip the hassle.
Home Cured Corned Beef
- 1 4-5 pound beef brisket
- 1 Tbsp. pickling spices
- Pickling spices:
- 1 Tbsp. whole allspice berries
- 1 Tbsp. whole mustard seeds (brown or yellow)
- 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp. whole cloves
- 1 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 9 whole cardamom pods
- 6 large bay leaves, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 stick cinnamon
- 1 gallon water
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 5 teaspoons pink curing salt, also known as Prague Powder #1 or DQ Curing Salt #1,
- 3 Tbsp. pickling spices
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Add about 3 Tbsp. of the spice mix (reserve the rest for cooking the corned beef after it has cured), plus the half stick of cinnamon, to a gallon of water in a large pot, along with the Kosher salt, pink salt (if using), and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate until well chilled.
- Place the brisket in a large, flat container or pan, and cover with the brine. The brine should cover the meat. The meat may float in which case you may want to weigh it down with a plate. Alternatively you can use a 2-gallon freezer bag (placed in a container so if it leaks it doesn’t leak all over your refrigerator), place the brisket in the freezer bag and about 2 quarts of brine, squeezing out the air from the bag before sealing. Place in the refrigerator and chill from 5-7 days. Every day flip the brisket over, so that all sides get brined equally.
- At the end of the cure, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse off the brisket with cold water to remove any brine residue.
- Place the brisket in a large pot that just fits around the brisket and cover with at least one inch of water. If you want your brisket less salty, add another inch of water to the pot. Add a tablespoon of the pickling spices to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a very low simmer (barely bubbling), and cook 3-4 hours, until the corned beef is fork tender. (At this point you can store in the fridge for up to a week.)
- Remove the meat to a cutting board. (You can use the spiced cooking liquid to cook vegetables for boiled dinner or corned beef and cabbage.) Notice the visible lines on the meat; this is the “grain” of the meat, or the direction of the muscle fibers. To make the meat easier to cut, cut it first in half, along the grain of the meat. Then make thin crosswise cuts, across the grain to cut the meat to serve.