This Corned Beef Brine Recipe is the first step to making the world's best-corned beef. Our brine produces corned beef that is tender, flavorful, and juicy, with just the right balance of salt and spices.
Corned beef is a salt-cured brisket that is popular in Ireland and celebrated on St. Patty's Day!
To make corned beef, choosing the right brisket is key. I like to go for a brisket with a nice fat cap. We will trim some off, but the fat will keep this corned beef tender, and juicy.
A typical brine includes salt, sugar, and pickling spices (such as coriander, allspice, cloves, peppercorns, mustard seed, garlic, and bay leaves).
The beef is soaked in the brine for seven days, which allows the flavors to penetrate the meat for that distinctive flavor.
Check out my Sous Vide Corned Beef recipe for the best way to cook this piece of meat.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make a traditional corned beef brine recipe!
- Beef Brisket - The cut of beef used to make corned is beef brisket. I like to trim the fat, so I have control over the fat content.
- Pink Salt - Also known as pink curing salt, used to cure and preserve meats. Ever wonder what gives corned beef its pink color? Just remember, never use pink curing salt to sprinkle on your food. It's only meant to be used for curing meats.
- Pickling Spice - A blend of spices used in the brining process. In our recipe, we used: Yellow mustard seeds, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, allspice, coriander, and bay leaves.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make the brine
Making this 7-day corned beef brine is so easy, here's how to make it:
Step 1: Using a large dutch oven, toast pickling spice over medium heat for 30 seconds or until you smell the aroma.
Step 2: Add the water, salt, sugar, and pink salt and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt.
Step 3: Remove from heat and add in ice cubes and chill to 45°F/7°C.
Step 4: Submerge beef brisket into brine and cover it with a plate to weigh it down. Brine for seven days.
Tip - As you trim the fat, try to leave a thin layer of fat behind, approximately ¼ inch thick. This layer will help keep the brisket moist and flavorful during cooking.
- Brisket Substitution: If you can't find beef brisket try using rump roast as a substitution.
- Slicing Corned Beef: Slice corned beef against the grain for a tender slice of meat.
- Pickling Spice: Add your favorite spices to customize your pickling spice. I like adding cloves, allspice, and juniper berries.
- Submerge: Completely cover beef brisket with the brine and weigh it down with a plate.
This recipe is a 7-day brine, perfect for 5-pound beef brisket. If you brine for more than 10 days, the brisket will taste too salty.
No, you should not cook corned beef in the brine. Rinse your corned beef with cold running water and pat dry with paper towels after the brining process. Failure to do this will result in salty and unedible corned beef.
Yes, brining any type of meat too long will have a beyond-repair salty taste and mushy texture. We recommend 5-7 day brine and don't exceed 10 days.
Corned beef is typically made from beef brisket, which is a tough cut of meat from the lower chest of the cow. The brisket is cured in a brine solution of salt, water, sugar, and various spices, which gives it its distinct flavor and color.
More Beef Recipes
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Corned Beef Brine Recipe
- 1 5-pound brisket
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons pink curing salt
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 8 cups ice cubes
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Toast mustard seeds, cinnamon, black peppercorns, cloves, allspice, coriander, juniper berries, and bay leaves until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add water, pink salt, kosher salt, and brown sugar to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir until the sugar and salts have dissolved.
- Remove the dutch oven from the heat and stir in the ice cubes. Chill the brine down until it reaches 45°F/7°C.
- Transfer the cooled brine to a large 12-quart plastic container. Submerge beef brisket into the brine and place a plate on top to weigh it down.
- Place in the refrigerator for 7 days, checking daily to make sure the corned beef is submerged in the brine.
- Remove corned beef from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Now you are ready to cook your corned beef.
- As you trim the fat, try to leave a thin layer of fat behind, approximately ¼ inch thick. This layer will help keep the brisket moist and flavorful during cooking.
- Pink curing salt is only meant to be used for curing meats. It's not pink Himalayan salt and you should never sprinkle it on your food.