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St. Paddy's Day Corned Beef

Top o' the morning to you. I don't know if it is his Irish heritage or what, but Casey loves corned beef! So, I've been looking for a simple recipe to DIY using our own, home grown and delicious beef. Turns out, homemade corned beef is actually pretty easy to make, and it's actually pretty good for you, especially paired with sauerkraut. It’s essentially a beef brisket that’s given a makeover by letting it linger in a brine infused with spices and then slowly braised until falling-apart tender. Here’s how to make it (including a slow-cooker variation).


For the pickling spice▢2 tablespoons black peppercorns

For the brine solution

  • ▢1 gallon water

  • ▢2 cups kosher salt

  • ▢1/2 cup granulated organic sugar

  • ▢2 teaspoons pink salt (omit if you wish to have an all-natural brine, however, your meat will not have the classic, red look of corned beef).

  • ▢3 garlic cloves minced


Make the pickling spice

  • In a small skillet toast peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds over medium heat until spices are lightly heated and fragrant. Carefully turn them onto a cutting board and smash them using the flat side of a chef's knife; don't let the seeds roll all over your counter and onto your floor. Or, if you have one, place them in a mortar and crush them with your pestle.

  • Scrape the cracked spices into a large plastic container or glass jar, adding the remaining ingredients, stir until completely combined and cover or seal.

Make the brine solution

  • In a large pot, combine the water, salt, sugar, pink salt (if using), garlic, and 2 tablespoons pickling spice. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove the pot from the heat, let the brine cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until the brine is completely chilled. For a quick chill: Bring 1/2 gallon of water to a simmer, add the brine ingredients, and stir until dissolved. Slide the pot off the heat and add 1/2 gallon of ice and water. Make sure the water is cool before adding the brisket.

  • Place the brisket in a large Ziplock bag and add the chilled brine or add the brisket to your pot. Refrigerate for 5 days, flipping the brisket once or twice if it is in a pot.

  • Remove the brisket from the brine solution, discarding the brine. Rinse the brisket thoroughly under cool running water. (Don't worry, you're just rinsing the brine solution from the surface of the brisket. The brine will continue to permeate the beef and work its considerable magic.)

Cook the corned beef

  • To make the corned beef on the stovetop, reach once again for a pot just large enough to hold the brisket. Place the brined brisket inside and add enough water to cover the meat. Add 2 tablespoons of pickling spice and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and gently simmer for about 3 hours, or until the brisket is fork-tender. You want to make certain that there’s always enough water to cover the brisket. You may need to occasionally replenish the water if it gets too low.

  • When the corned beef is done, remove it from the cooking liquid, which can be reserved, and place it on a cutting board. Slice the corned beef and serve it warm, with cabbage and potatoes if desired (see the Variation in the FAQs) or cool it, wrap it, and refrigerate it for up to a week to use in this Reuben sandwich. It's also not too shabby in corned beef hash. You can dribble the cooking liquid over the cabbage and vegetables or cover and refrigerate the liquid and rewarm it along with your leftover corned beef.

Slow Cooker Variation:

Place the brined brisket inside your slow cooker and add enough water to cover the meat. If the entire brisket won’t fit, cut off a smaller portion that will fit and reserve the remaining brined brisket. Add 2 tablespoons of your pickling spice to the slow cooker and cook on low until the brisket is fork-tender, about 7 hours. Remove it from the cooking liquid, which can be reserved for serving if desired. Slice the corned beef against the grain of the meat and serve it warm with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted carrots. Or, cool it and make your own Rueben sandwiches (this is definitelymy preference- yum!).

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