Home Brined Corned Beef (Recipe)
February 28, 2023
Home Brined Corned Beef Brisket
Every year we anticipate the special dinner we cook on St. Patrick's Day. While there's no reason you can't have potatoes, cabbage and brisket any day of the year, we enjoy the tradition of the celebration. To make it even more delectable, this week we'll show you how to brine your own corned beef.
Brining is an age-old method of preserving with salt and it's quite a simple process. Just a few ingredients, a minimal amount of prep time, about a week in the brine, and your taste buds will be so happy!
Not only is it incredibly tasty, but you get to control the ingredients. And when you eat a One Straw brisket you know you're eating premium, nutrient-dense, mindfully-raised, 100% grass-fed beef!
This is our family's recipe. It results in a mildly flavored, not-too-salty, delicious corned beef where the inherent flavor of the beef really shines.
[**A note about nitrates, food safety, and the color of the finished product. Many recipes you find on the internet (and most, if not all, commercial corned beef) contains nitrates in the form of curing salt (also known as pink salt, prague powder, or instacure). These nitrates are added both because of food safety concerns and because they impart the pretty pink color typical of corned beef. However, our recipe does not call for nitrates/pink salt.
Our take on the matter: Since we are making the corned beef for ourselves and have control over the entire process, we feel it is safe to omit the nitrates. The salt brine is a preservative and we keep the meat refrigerated until we cook it. Also, we cook the brisket thoroughly - this is what makes it fall apart tender! As far as color, if you follow our recipe the finished product will be the color of a regular un-brined roast (see above photo). For our family, this aesthetic does not spoil the flavor of the meal.
However, if you want the pink color of typical corned beef or are concerned about the food safety issues, you should follow your instinct. There are lots of recipes available that include pink salt and will still make a delicious corned beef from a One Straw brisket!]
How to Brine Your Own Corned Beef Brisket
Step One - Make the Brine
2 quart (8 c) water
6 oz (170g) salt. This measurement is by weight as each salt is different. 6oz is equal to 1 1/4 c Diamond Crystal kosher salt OR 1/2 c regular table salt (NOT iodized) OR 1/2 c + 2 T Redmond Real Salt
6 T brown sugar
2 T whole peppercorns
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp ground ginger
4 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
Combine all brine ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Cool. Two quarts of brine is enough for an approximately 5-6 lb brisket if you're brining in a zip top bag. For brining in a rigid container, you may need more to completely cover the meat.
Note: For a 3 lb brisket, make one quart (half batch) of brine.
Step Two - Brine the Brisket
Pour cooled brine over the brisket in a zip top plastic bag. Place in a container (in case it leaks) in the refrigerator. Turn the bag over every day to make sure the brine evenly penetrates the brisket. Brine at least 7 days, or up to 14 days. Alternatively, brine in a crock, glass bowl, or stainless steel pot big enough to hold your brisket. Weigh down the brisket to keep it completely covered. You will not need to turn or stir the brisket, though this method will require more brine.
Step Three - Cook the Corned Beef.
Drain the corned beef brisket and discard the brine. Place brisket in a pot. Add two cloves chopped garlic and 1/2 tsp pepper. You may also add a tablespoon of prepared pickling spice or some of each of the brining spices. If using an Instant Pot, barely cover the brisket with water. For a slow cooker or on the stovetop, use enough water to go about half way up the meat. Too much water will leach the flavor out of the brisket and into the broth. Cook according to the directions below.
Stove Top: Simmer 2 1/2 - 3 hours
Slow Cooker: Low for 8 hours
Instant Pot: 80 minutes on high pressure + 20 minutes natural release
Step Four - Serve & Enjoy!
Corned brisket is often served with potatoes, cabbage, carrots and onions boiled in the brisket cooking liquid. We like to serve brisket with garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed cabbage and Irish soda bread. Yum!
Originally published 3/3/21