Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Corn your own beef recipe

Growing up in a big Irish Catholic family, we ate a lot of casseroles, stews and soups and other hearty foods (usually with corn bread) and none is better than corned beef and cabbage. I may give you my mom's recipe for that someday, but for today I'll teach you how to corn beef so you don't accidentally assume the Irish are afflicted with a lack of tastebuds when you try store bought corned beef.
You may think I'm crazy for suggesting you corn you own beef. Not that it's hard, but it does take a week of letting it sit in the fridge. Nevertheless, it really makes a lot of sense. The typical store-bought corned beef is awful and hasn't been done right. And home-corned beef is awesomely good. Far better than the stuff at the store. Some say you can save money and not notice much difference substituting flank steak for the brisket, but come on, life is too short to eat bad steak!

Prep Time: 0 hour, 15 minutes


  • 1 1/2 lb. beef brisket
  • Brine:
  • 1 1/2 qt. water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 5 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 lg garlic clove; smashed
  • 2 Tbsp. pickling spice (you can buy pickling spice at the supermarket if you look in the canning section)
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt (sodium nitrate, optional)* but recommended, come on, life is short.


1. Combine brine ingredients in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve.
2. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate for 4 hours.
3. Tie brisket into a roll, place in a bowl and cover with brine. Weight down with a plate to keep it submerged.
4. Refrigerate for 5 days. (I'm not kidding!) Remove from brine and rinse.
5. Prepare the corned beef as you would any corned beef - but be ready for a real treat.
*Note: Sodium nitrate is not something most grocery stores have - I get it mail-order. It will keep the meat pink (otherwise the beef turns gray) but it isn't essential in this case because the Kosher salt, sugar, spices and refrigeration provide enough preservative.
Note: Be sure to slice the brisket across the grain.


Don said...

Have you tried this recipe or is it strictly your Mom's? It sounds great.

sobriant74 said...

I've done it a few times, if you can find the pink salt it makes the meat look amazing, but it doesn't change the flavor vs sea salt. Its waaaay better than the store bought corned beef in a bag you get in the deli area.