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How to Cure Corned Beef at Home – It’s Easy to Make Homemade Corned Beef!

Updated on October 11, 2010

Corned beef is good – homemade corned beef is great; and it’s really very easy to make - if you’ve got the patience to let a piece of brisket sit in a brine in your fridge for a week or so – then can make a great brisket at home!

This is seriously easy, but in this microwaved day and age, when the home preservation of meats is indeed an unusual thing to do – there’s real satisfaction in the slow transformation of a very inexpensive and tough piece of beef into something so different and so good.

As the days get colder and you once again crave the kinds of homey meals that get your kitchen smelling great through long afternoons of simmering, try making your own corned beef – once you do you’ll never go back to store bought again!

How to Make Corned Beef

The instructions as follows are pretty closely adapted from corned beef instructions in Michael Rhulman’s tome on charcuterie – which is a must have book for anyone interested in curing meats and making sausages.

  • 4 liters of water
  • 1 lb of salt
  • ½ cup of regular white sugar
  • 5 tsps of pink salt (Pink salt is a curing salt. It contains 93.25% regular salt and 6.75 sodium nitrite. It is dyed pink to prevent accidental use and ingestion as table salt. The pink salt will prevent botulism and will also keep the corned beef from turning grey as you cook it)
  • 2 Tbls of pickling spice
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 5 pounds of beef brisket (look for one with good marbling)
  1. To make the brine, mix together the water, the salt, the sugar, the pink salt, the pickling spice and the garlic in a sauce pot and bring the mixture to a boil briefly, just to dissolve the salt and sugar in the brine.
  2. Let the brine cool and then refrigerate until chilled. Once chilled, plop your brisket in in one piece and put something heavy (like a plate) on top of it to keep it from floating above the waterline.
  3. Let this sit in the fridge undisturbed for 5 days – and now you’re ready to boil up your corned beef for eats!
  4. To cook, first rinse the brisket well in running water and then place in a new pot, just covering it with cold water. Add in another couple of Tbls of pickling spice and bring the pot to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for about 3 or 4 hours, or until the corned beef is very tender.



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    • John D Lee profile image

      John D Lee 7 years ago

      Good question - for corned beef you want to use a first cut portion, which is the leaner end of the brisket, not the fattier point or triangular cut.

    • v_kahleranderson profile image

      v_kahleranderson 7 years ago from San Jose, California

      My husband and I have been wanting to cure corned beef forever now, but so far it's been only talk. Reading your hub, however, has inspired me to do it.

      Question, please - are all brisket cuts the same?