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Homemade Corned Beef

This Homemade Corned Beef recipe will make you wonder why you’ve never made it yourself before. The corned beef brine is a perfect balance of everything that you love about Corned beef for St Patricks day and gives you the most fork-tender and flavorful brisket you’ll ever have!  

Dinner table with corned beef brisket on it.

With St. Patricks Day fast approaching I wanted to share this homemade corned beef recipe with you so you had plenty of time to make your own corned beef for all of your favorite corned beef recipes like Corned Beef and Cabbage Soup and Corned beef Hash.

Corned beef is traditional St Patricks day food and is super popular this time of year.  When I first started thinking about making this I went to the store to buy store-bought corned beef and then it hit me?   What the heck am I doing, homemade is almost always better.  (Save for the jiffy cornbread  mix….there is no way to top that for a fast easy cornbread!!) 

This corned beef recipe has subtle hints of cloves, ginger and cinnamon while being super tender.  Cut against the grain it is so succulent and literally melts in your mouth.

 The meat is very well seasoned, comes out fork-tender and has the perfect red color you expect in the best-corned beef recipe.

What does Corning Beef even mean?

Corning is actually a pickling method of using salts, and spices to season or flavor the meat.  You cure/brine the meat for several days then rinse the meat and cook as you normally would any beef brisket.  

What gives Corned Beef its traditional red color?

Prague powder is a pickling salt that is a bright neon color that after several days of brining gives you that beautiful red color we’ve come to expect with homemade corned beef.

The pink color is to help distinguish it as a curing salt. Curing salt is used to help preserve the meat and help prevent spoilage.

You can find it in some supermarkets but I got mine at Amazon – this one by Anthony’s …. look at that crazy neon pink color, hard to believe that it turns the corned beef red but it does. 

Don’t worry about the neon pink color… it is totally edible and not harmful at all!

all of the ingredients for the brine to make corned beef at home

 

What ingredients go into the corned beef brine recipe?

  • Water
  • Kosher Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  •  Pink Salt (Prague powder)
  • Cinnamon
  • Mustard Seed
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Whole Cloves
  • Whole Allspice Berries
  • Bay Leaves
  • Ginger
  • Ice

See?  No fancy things in these corned beef spices.  You can find most of them at your local supermarket except for the Prague powder pickling salt which you can find at a local butcher or on Amazon.

How do you make corned beef?

  • Start with the brine.  Add your water to a stockpot and then add all of the brine ingredients to the water.  
  • You’ll want to stir it while it boils, it takes about 15 minutes to dissolve the sugar and the salt, then it is done.
  • Add the ice to help cool it and use a thermometer to get the brine to 45° or less.  You might need to put it into the refrigerator to help cool it down.  This step is critical because you don’t want hot water to come into contact with the corned beef to start any cooking.  
  • Pour the chilled brine over the top, remove any air and seal the bag. Be sure to submerge the beef fully.  (I actually use 2 oven bags so in case any leaks. — these from Amazon work great (they would be at your grocery store too— but so you know what to look for!)
  • Store it in any container in the fridge.  (I put mine in a large stockpot, but a bowl is fine too.  I’m always afraid the bag will spring a leak and I want to catch any liquid before it creates a mess in my fridge.
  • After it brines you’ll want to drain away the brine and completely rinse the brisket to wash away any extra salt on the outside.
  • At this point, it is your option how you cook it.  I like the slow cooker method to cook my corned beef.  Set it and forget it just works for me.  

PRO TIP:  Be mindful of the amount of water and ice you use.  Measuring is important.  More or less water will affect the flavor of the final corned beef taste.  Too little water, it will be super salty,.  Too much water and it could be bland.


 

Cooking Corned Beef in an Instant Pot

Place the brined brisket fat side up on a rack. Add spices and water. Cook on high pressure for 90 minutes, then allow a natural release. Remove the brisket from the Instant Pot/ Pressure cooker add potatoes, carrots and cabbage and cook on high for 3 minutes. Allow to naturally releast for 5 mins, then release any pressure. Cut the meat against the grain and serve with veggies on the side.

Cooking Corned Beef on the Stovetop

Place brined brisket and spices then add broth/water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours until meat is tender. You can add veggies during the last hour of cooking so they don’t turn to mush.

Oven Method for Corned Beef

Start the process on the stovetop. Add Brisket, spices and bring to a boil. Once its boiled for 15 minutes, place in a 350° oven covered for 4 hours. Add the vegetables after 1 hour.

close up of tender, juicy fork tender corned beef

 

Common Questions with this homemade corned beef brisket recipe 

Can I make Corned Beef on the stovetop?  This recipe is easily adapted to be made on the stove.  Braise it in a cast-iron pot or stove pot for 3-4 hours on a medium simmer until the brisket is fork-tender. If you make it this way you can add the cabbage with about 15 minutes to go to be braised in the liquid. 

Can I make corned beef without the Prague Powder Pink salt?  You can absolutely make a delicious corned beef recipe without the pink salt.  BUT,…. you’re brisket will be brown like you a regular beef brisket.  The flavors will still be corned beef tasting though! You will need to use a curing salt for the brisket.

Can I use Himalayan Salt instead of the special pink salt? While Himalayan salt is a pink color, it is not the kind of salt you want to brine with. You must use a curing salt or a Prague powder pink salt.

What kind of brisket should I buy for the best-corned beef brisket recipe?  Any beef brisket will work very well for corning the beef in the traditional corned beef brine. A pointcut is a little fattier but has more flavor. The flat cut is prettier when cutting— because it cuts more evenly. BUT— really—- either one will taste wonderful— it really doesn’t matter which you buy.

What kind of sauce works with Corned beef?  I use this horseradish cream sauce and add a little mustard to it.  It adds just the right creamy zing we love with corned beef.  It also works as a sandwich spread!

bowl of horseradish cream to serve a top corned beef

Mustard Horseradish Cream Sauce works brilliantly with corned beef!

Recipes to use this homemade corned beef brisket recipe!

More Recipes to Celebrate St Patricks Day!

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Yield: 16

Homemede Corned Beef (Brining your own!)

close up of tender, juicy fork tender corned beef

This Homemade Corned Beef recipe will make you wonder why you've never made it yourself before. The corned beef brine is a perfect balance of everything that you love about Corned beef for St Patricks day and gives you the most fork tender and flavorful brisket you'll ever have!  

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Brine time 5 days
Total Time 5 days 8 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place the water, in a large stockpot.  Add Salt, sugar, pink salt, cinnamon, mustard seeds, peppercorn, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger.  Cook on high heat until salt and sugar have dissolved.  
  2. Remove from the heat and add the ice.  Stir until melted.  Brine should be 45° or cooler.  Refrigerate if necessary.  
  3. DO NOT SKIMP ON ICE.  You need the volume of water to help dilute the mixture,  Shorting water or ice will yield a salty brisket.
  4. Place the brisket into a large zip lock bag.  Once the brine is cooled to 45° pour over the brisket into the plastic bag.  Remove air, seal the ziplock and place in a bowl/stock pot that will fit in the fridge.  Allow to brine for 5 days.
  5. Daily, pick up the bag and swish the liquid around so that the brine gets moved around and all areas are able to get completely saturated.  
  6. After 5 days remove brisket from brine, toss leftover brine.  Rinse brisket and pat dry.  
  7. Place cut onions, carrots and celery in to the bottom of a slow cooker.  Place the brisket on top.
  8. Cook on high for 8 hours until brisket is fork tender. You can use the vegetables in the bottom of the crock pot but they will be somewhat mushy.
  9.  Serve along side boiled potatoes, carrots and cabbage (done in a separate pot) if you want less mushy vegetables.   

Notes

This recipe was  adapted from Alton Brown's recipe for homemade corned beef.  

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

16 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Saturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 8932mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 23g
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Alli

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

This is one recipe we look forward to eating this time of year. Absolutely love it.

Cheryl S

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

We will be making this for St. Patty's Day!!

Sommer

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

This meat makes into the best sandwiches!

Aimee Shugarman

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

Made this last week as a trial run for St. Paddy's Day. Turned out delicious and will be making again!

Becky Hardin

Monday 4th of March 2019

All I can say is this looks so delicious!

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