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Corned Beef

Jason Lowe

Servings: fifteen.

For a classic St. Patrick’s Day dinner, serve the corned beef with mashed potatoes and buttered cabbage. The thickness of your cut of beef will determine how long it needs to stay in the brine: A fat whole top round roast will take up to 2 weeks, but a relatively thin brisket will take only 4 days.

This recipe is excerpted from Beef.


For the brine:

  • 2-1/2 lb. sea salt
  • 3 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coriander seeds
  • 24 juniper berries
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 12 allspice berries
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 6 bay leaves

To cook the beef:

  • 6-1/2- to 81/2-lb. piece boneless brisket, top round, or bottom round, trimmed of any fat
  • 2 large onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and halved
  • 1 celery rib
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 parsley stems


Brine the beef:

  • In a large, lidded pot, bring 4-1/2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt and sugar and bring back to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan until almost smoking and throw in the coriander, juniper, peppecorns, allspice, cloves and cardamom. Take off the heat and let the spices toast, shaking the pan a few times so they toast evenly. Tie the spices in a piece of cheesecloth or a clean dishtowel, then drop into the boiling water. Keep the water boiling for 15 minutes to dissolve the salt and sugar and make the liquid very salty. Then remove from the heat, pour in 6 cups ice-cold water, and let cool.
  • Add the meat and bay leaves to the brine, making sure the meat is completely immersed, and cover tightly. Refrigerate, turning the meat every so often, until the meat is fully cured, about 4 days for brisket or up to 2 weeks for a whole top round roast.

Cook the beef:

  • When you’re ready to serve the beef, remove it from its brine. Put it in a large pot with the onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaves, and parsely stems. Add enough water to cover and bring to a rolling simmer. Cook for 2 hours, adding more water if needed to keep the beef submerged. Drain the corned beef, and slice across the grain.


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Reviews (10 reviews)

  • ShegetzBalabusta | 03/09/2020

    This is missing the key ingredient that will give the beef the traditional red colour: pink salt, curing salt, or Prague Powder #1. For this quantity of brine, you'd want about 5 teaspoons, as per Michael Ruhlman's "Charcuterie".

  • d_marie | 03/16/2010

    I made this with an 8 pound brisket. The only change I made was adding additional juniper berries, cardamom, etc., while cooking the beef. All fifteen of us agreed. It was the best corned beef we had ever had!

  • ckells | 03/14/2010

    pb2000 I used your recipe for cooking the corned beef... it was tender and flavorful. I think the initial browning and the 30 minute bake was was a perfect idea. Boiled corned beef never tasted right to me.

  • redwingrrl | 03/11/2010

    not sure about the sugar in the brine but my traditional Jewish recipe says to brine in salt water at room temperature for at least 48 hours. The brine should be salty enough "to float a potato", and i've never used rump roast. Always a brisket and its wonderful.

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