Corned Beef Brine

Sorry I didn’t post this in time for you to brine your own corned beef in time for St. Patrick’s Day but if beef brisket goes on sale this week. Stock up and use this for another day, in my opinion corned beef is good every day!

This recipe has received rave reviews on the Food Network website. I used Morton’s Tender Quick instead of the kosher salt and saltpeter (I could not find saltpeter in time to brine.) Fortunately, I live close to a Penzey’s Spice Store and could get all the spices, including Juniper berries, and my total spice bill was less than $22. For that cost I purchased enough spices for at least 3 of these so if you have some friends to share with Penzey’s is a great option. You can also order online: if you buy from your local grocery store plan on spending about $50 on ½ the amount of spices.

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 10 days
Cook Time: 3 hr 0 min
Level: Easy
6 to 8 servings.

1 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket, trimmed
2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons saltpeter
1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
12 whole juniper berries
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 pounds ice
On the day you cook:
1 small onion, quartered
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
2 cans Guiness (optional)

To Brine: Place the water into a large 6 to 8 quart stockpot along with salt, sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice has melted. If necessary, place the brine into the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 45°F. Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip top bag and add the brine. Seal and lay flat inside a container, cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 days. Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine.

After 10 days to cook:
This is how Alton Brown suggests cooking the beef:
After 10 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water. Place the brisket into a pot just large enough to hold the meat, add the onion, carrot and celery and cover with water by 1-inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for 2½ to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain.

This is how I cook mine:
Rinse beef under cool water. Place in slow cooker. Pour Guinness over beef. Add 4 cloves of smashed garlic, a tsp. of mustard seeds and 6-8 peppercorns Cover, cook on low 5-6 hours.

Alton Brown’s Corned Beef

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