How to Make Corned Beef

My family loves corned beef, and not just for St. Patrick’s Day. We could probably eat corned beef and cabbage on a monthly basis, but it’s not always possible to find a good corned beef when we get a craving for it. And when you do find it in abundance, especially around March, the price can sometimes be cost prohibitive.


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We like to buy meat in bulk and repackage it into meal-sized portions. We do this with pork loin, ground beef, sirloin when it’s on sale and brisket. We stumbled across a large beef brisket that was on sale, so we picked one up and portioned it into several different meals. With what was left, Kevin decided he wanted to try making corned beef. I have no idea where he found his brine recipe, or I’d link a credit to the site, but the smell of it when he was finished made my mouth water, so I think he found a good one. The brine he used is plenty for an 8-pound brisket.


Homemade Corned Beef

8-pound beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat

2 quarts water

1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup white vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed

Pinch ground cloves

4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped or smashed


Trim beef brisket of as much fat as you desire. Fat does add flavor, so you may want to leave some on the brisket.


corned beef 2


Combine all ingredients except for the garlic cloves in a large saucepot, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cool to room temperature (or cool quickly in the refrigerator).

Put the beef brisket in a large, sealable plastic bag (or use a large plastic container like we did). Pour in the brine, and add the peeled and chopped garlic cloves. If using a plastic bag, squeeze out excess air and seal.

corned beef in brine


Place the sealed bag in the refrigerator for 6 to 7 days, turning the bag every other day. Remove the brisket from the bag, and discard the brine. Cook brisket as desired, or package meat for freezing for a later date.
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