Skip to Content

Freshly Brined Corned Beef Recipe

I may receive commission if you purchase through links in this post.

Brining your own corned beef is easy to do at home.

A brine is a simple infusion of water, salt, spices, and sometimes sugar. When making corned beef, fresh beef brisket is soaked in this brine until it has absorbed the flavors from the spices.

The salt in the brine is essential — it pulls water from the meat, leaving behind the space for infusion to occur. Salt also breaks down the muscle and tenderizes the beef.

The results are an incredibly tender and flavorful cut of meat.

 

 

Fresh sliced corned beef with text overlay.

 

What Cut of Beef Should You Use for Corned Beef?

The traditional cut of beef to use for corned beef is brisket. Brisket has a good marbling of fat and connective tissue. That marbling gives the cooked meat the classic shredded corned beef texture.

 

A close-up of tender corned beef slices.

 

Side Dishes To Serve With Freshly Brined Corned Beef

Dark Rye Sourdough Bread With Molasses and Caraway

A basket of dark colored sourdough rye bread with caraway seeds on top.

 

Grain-Free Irish Soda Bread

 

Low-Carb Colcannon With Kale

 

Light Rye Sourdough Boule with Caraway Seeds

A soft a fluffy crumb makes this Light Rye Sourdough a wonderful bread for toasting or sandwiches!

 

Gluten-Free Irish Colcannon

 

Juicy slices of corned beef served with colcannon, cabbage. and carrots.

 

Adding Vegetables to the Corned Beef Cooking Pot

You can cook vegetables like onion, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots alongside your corned beef.

To do so, add several thickly sliced onions or shallots to the pot when starting the cooking.

Add the softer quicker-cooking vegetables like thick-chopped cabbage, halved or quartered potatoes, and quartered carrots to the pot one hour before removing it from the heat.

 

A large platter with freshly cooked and sliced homemade corned beef.

 

A large platter with freshly cooked and sliced homemade corned beef.

Freshly Brined Corned Beef Recipe

Yield: 12 to 16 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Brining Time: 5 days
Total Time: 5 days 4 hours 30 minutes

Tender corned beef infused with flavor.

Ingredients

The Brine

  • 1 gallon cold water (16 cups), divided
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons black mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic 
  • 1 tablespoon fennel
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves 

The Brisket

  • 4 to 5 pounds fresh grass-fed brisket

Instructions

Making the Brine and Brining the Beef

  1. Place 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of water in a large pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Stir all the salt and spices into the boiling water and remove it from the heat.
  3. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  4. Add the other 1/2 gallon of cold water and stir well.
  5. Find a container big enough for your brisket and pour the brine over the fresh meat.
  6. Cover this container and place it into the refrigerator for at least 5 days. Flip the brisket over several times throughout the brining process. I let mine brine for about a week, but no more than 10 days or it will get too salty.

Cooking the Corned Beef

  1. Drain the brine from the beef, reserving about half of the spices and both bay leaves.
  2. Place the meat and reserved spices in a large pot.
  3. Cover the beef with fresh water.
  4. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a gentle boil.
  5. Cover the pot with a lid but leave the lid askew so some steam can escape.
  6. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the beef for 3 to 4 hours or until fork tender.
  7. Remove the beef from the cooking liquid and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Adding Vegetables to the Corned Beef Pot

You can cook vegetables like onion, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots alongside your corned beef. To do so, add several thickly sliced onions or shallots to the pot when starting the cooking. Add the softer quicker-cooking vegetables like thick-chopped cabbage, halved or quartered potatoes, and quartered carrots to the pot one hour before removing it from the heat.

Fresh sliced corned beef with text overlay.

Freshly baked and sliced buckwheat banana bread with a jar of chia seeds.
Previous
Potassium-Rich Chia and Buckwheat Banana Bread - Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free
A 4-ounce tin with solid golden salve.
Next
Organic Salve Base Recipe - Three Ingredients and Extra Gentle

Pam

Sunday 21st of March 2021

So, I’m taking the brisket out of the brine today! I’m excited! Will cook the meat by itself today and then reheat it for when we gather together soon. Will roast with onions, carrots and cabbage. Will this be okay Courtney?

Butter For All

Wednesday 24th of March 2021

Hi Pam,

I would keep the brisket covered during reheating, either in the cooking liquid or with a lid, so it doesn't dry out! I really hope you love it!

Pam

Sunday 14th of March 2021

Hi Courtney, I’m doing this today with a large brisket I found in the freezer. It’s been in the freezer for awhile 😳 but I didn’t want to waste it. Your method is perfect! I will let you know how it goes! ~ Pam

Butter For All

Sunday 14th of March 2021

Hi Pam!

Good to hear from you. A corned beef brine sounds like the perfect way to use your brisket. I hope it's absolutely delicious!

PS. A very large brisket may require an extra hour or two of cooking time. Just periodically check it to make sure it's not losing too much liquid to evaporation.

Thanks for the note,

Courtney

Allison

Friday 12th of March 2021

Are the black mustard seeds important to the recipe or can I use all yellow? This sounds and looks wonderful and I love that there aren’t any chemicals or nitrates.

Butter For All

Saturday 13th of March 2021

Hi Allison,

Totally non-essential. Thank you for the reminder to included that in the recipe notes! You can pretty much substitute out any of the spices and even play around with new combinations.

I hope you enjoy it!

Courtney

Skip to Recipe