Homemade Corned Beef

March 10th, 2008

Homemade Corned Beef Recipe

Homemade Corned Beef Recipe

Let me start this post off by first addressing the lack of updates to Wasabi Bratwurst as of late. This year we have been very blessed with rain here in Southern California. So much, that we have in only the second month of the year, already received what feels like 2 years worth of rain; and this translates into a lot of snowfall for the local mountains. That being said, most of my off-time has been dedicated to hitting the slopes before the snowboarding season ends and the lack of updates on the blog is primarily due to that reason. To the end of the season all I can say is I am thankful there is an upcoming holiday that will help me to drown my sorrows and ring in the Spring.

When I mentioned at the office that I was planning on sharing my corned beef recipe in honor of the upcoming Irish holiday, my colleague Dan nodded and said "Now that is an easy way to a Jewish man's heart". You don't have to be Jewish or Irish to enjoy this recipe, just like the Irish holiday it transcends all ethnicities.

Where is the Corn?

Corning is nothing more than a form of curing meat; and contrary to common belief, it has nothing to do with corn. The process of corning dates back to the Anglo-Saxons. Lacking in refrigeration, meat was dry-cured using coarse salt pellets similar in size to corn kernels. The salt was rubbed into the beef to prevent spoiling, thus, preserving the meat. Today "corned" beef is made by brining, which is a technique of using salted water rather than the traditional method of dry salt cure.

History of Corned Beef

So what does corned beef have to do with the Irish? And where and when did this tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's day start? In the late 1800s Irish immigrants, primarily residing in NYC's Lower East Side learned a great secret from their Jewish neighbors. Corned beef was similar in both taste and texture to the their traditional Irish bacon, but cheaper. So this traditional St. Patrick's Day meal began in the U.S. The truth is, today this dish is viewed by many Irish as "too plain" and frankly not worthy for a holiday meal. Personally, I love St. Patty's Day because of the corned beef...and I suppose the beer drinking and Irish whiskey doesn't hurt ;)

Corned Beef Brine Recipe

1 ½ quart of water
1 ½ cups kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon juniper berries
5 cloves
4 bay leaves
A sprig of thyme
1 4-5 lbs beef brisket, trimmed. Don’t trim off all the fat :)
2 tablespoon of saltpeter *Totally optional: Sole purpose is to prevent the meat from turning gray. Helps to preserve the meat's red color. ** EDIT** InstaCure #1 aka pink salt is also a great replacement.
1 bottle of good lager beer

The Procedure of Corning Beef

  1. Add all ingredients minus the beer in a large mixing bowl and stir well until dissolved. Add beer and stir again to combine.
  2. Pierce brisket all over with paring knife or any small sharp knife.
  3. Place brisket in an over-sized zip bag and pour in brine liquid being sure to submerge completely. Extract as much air as possible, seal and lay flat in the refrigerator for a week flipping the bag daily.
  4. After patiently waiting for 7 whole days, it is time for you to remove the brisket from the brine. Rinse well under cold running water.

Now that your beef is all corned up how do you cook it? Here are two of my favorite applications: Corned Beef with Vegetables and Corned Beef Sandwiches. Of course you can always use a store bought corned beef if time does not permit you to corn your own beef.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

2 bottles of Guinness
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 whole allspice
1 small red chile, dried
1 head of cabbage, quartered
6 medium carrots, peeled
4 medium onions, peeled, halved
3 lbs mini red potatoes
feel free to add any other root vegetables of your choosing: parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, etc.

  1. Place spices and herbs (including chili) in cheesecloth, tying off to create a bag. This will make it easier to remove the ingredients later.
  2. Place corned beef in large Dutch oven or large pot. If you have a slow cooker, you can use that too. Add Guinness and then water, enough to cover the meat by 1 inch or so.
  3. Add spice bag to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer until tender, about 3 hours or so.
  4. Remove brisket from liquid and add vegetables bringing to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and boil until vegetables are tender, no more than 20~30 minutes. Place brisket back into liquid for 5 more minutes to warm up. Remove and discard spice bag.
  5. Transfer meat to cutting board. Cut across the grain of the brisket, slicing as thinly as possible. If you have an electric knife, this is the time to whip it out. Serve with mustard, horseradish. Eat!
    Yield: 6 to 8 servings but who's counting :)

Best Corned Beef Sandwich

Rye bread - I like to pick up a variety of styles
Dijon mustard*
Corned beef, thinly sliced
Vegetables, leftovers from recipe above
Fontina cheese, sliced

*When having people over I usually request everyone bring a mustard this adds extra fun to the party. My favorites are of the stone-ground variety.

  1. Assemble sandwiches using all the ingredients above.
  2. Butter outside of bread and add sandwiches to skillet. Cook until golden brown over medium heat, pressing with spatula occasionally. Flip and repeat. Cut and chow down...yummy!!

For those of you with leftovers, check out my absolute favorite corned beef hash recipe. Oh and don't forget to sign up for the recipe update. Thanks for reading!

46 Responses to “Homemade Corned Beef”

  1. Ricardo FigueiredoNo Gravatar Says:

    I’m gonna whip this up for St. Patty’s for sure! Thank you for the knowledge Wasabi man!

  2. Wasabi BratwurstNo Gravatar Says:

    Ricky, why don’t you cruise over for corned beef and cabbage dinner. I mean, you live only a mile away and I made PLENTY for the occasion. We can make some car bombs too!

  3. Best recipes from around the web » Homemade Corned Beef Says:

    […] A fellow blogger wrote a fantastic post today on “Homemade Corned Beef”Here’s ONLY a quick extractHomemade Corned Beef Recipe Let me start this post off by first addressing the lack of updates to Wasabi Bratwurst as of late. This year we have been very blessed with rain here in Southern California. So much, that we have in only the … […]

  4. Jonathan LiebermanNo Gravatar Says:

    Great photo, makes me want to cook it :)

  5. Organic GuyNo Gravatar Says:

    When is dinner? :-)

    This sounds like a great recipe and fairly easy as well!

  6. Wasabi BratwurstNo Gravatar Says:

    Jonathan & Organic, I have another 5 lbs of corned beef sitting in the fridge ready to be cooked. Perhaps we need to take Tuesday off so we can eat, some drinking, and talk shop!

  7. David MahlerNo Gravatar Says:

    Wow! All the info to make the killer meal! Nice job. Appreciate the detailed info.


  8. Homemade Corned Beef Hash Recipe Says:

    […] hash is a combination of finely chopped ingredients; so use any and all of your leftovers from the Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe. The actual ingredients and measurements will vary depending on the leftovers you have. If you […]

  9. rob samaNo Gravatar Says:

    You ever smoke your corned beef to turn it into Pastrami?

  10. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Rob, that is a negative for me. I really have not had a chance to get in to smoke cure of any sort. That is on the list of to do’s :)

    Have you?

  11. rob samaNo Gravatar Says:

    I’ve smoked ribs and suckling pigs on the backyard smoker, and I’ve done a brisket Texas style. But never tried making pastrami. It may wind up being a summer project for me…

  12. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Sweet! Is any of this smoking business on your blog?

    A friend of mine made some Carolina style BBQ last weekend. He cooked up 17LBS of pork shoulders and 2 big bottles of home made bbq sauce. It was yummy but he did not give up any of his secrets :(

  13. brisket Says:

    […] Homemade Corned Beef, Just Add Beer!Brine your own for the best corned beef brisket you’ll ever have. If you can boil water, measure ingredients, and chop vegetables you can make homemade corned beef from scratch! Happy St. Patrick ??s Day, cheers!http://www.wasabibratwurst.com/homemade-corned-beef-recipe/” […]

  14. CatanmarieNo Gravatar Says:

    Never had corned beef in Ireland,mostly bacon and cabbage, but like the former over here.
    I always add lime and orange juice, garlic, some tomato paste or juice and Coleman’s mustard to the original recipes on web. I simmer for 3 hours. Very tasty outcome also. Must serve with Coleman’s mustard and horseradish. Some people add white parsley sauce. Delicious o.

  15. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @Annette what is this white parsley sauce you speak of? You have my attention :)

  16. ArtieNo Gravatar Says:

    As someone who comes from Dublin and who was brought up on Corned Beef and cannot get enough, I was very exited to find your recipe as I cannot get corned beef where I now live. I have now collected all of the ingredients and hopefully will be putting it all together at the weekend. So many thanks for this. Just one question please – what are the approximate boil/simmer timings for the beef for 1lb, 2lb and 3lb sizes.

    Many Thanks

  17. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @Artie – Not a lot of good corned beef served in San Diego county with just a handful of exceptions. We used to go to Hershel’s, a NY style deli here in Encinitas but since it’s closed it’s doors, we were forced to better optimize the recipe.

    You are looking at about 45 minutes to an hour per pound on the stove top method. The internal temperature should clock at at least 160 degrees F.

    Thank you for reading and please let us know how it turns out.

  18. StefaniNo Gravatar Says:

    I love corned beef and cabbage. I have only had my Nan’s though! Would love to try to make my own one day.

  19. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @Stefani Whats holding you back? It’s so easy :)

  20. StaceyNo Gravatar Says:

    Do you have an alternative recipe without the beer, or can it be omitted from this form?

  21. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    @Stacey – The brine can be executed with water. And as for the cooking liquid, I would try to use something that will bring flavor to the party say like beef broth.

    Just curious, any particular reason you would not want to cook with beer??

  22. MarkNo Gravatar Says:

    No one posting here has actually prepared your corned beef recipe and posted their results. They’ve only critiqued the recipe. I’d like to know what folks think about it after they’ve actually tried it.

    You state that saltpeter’s sole purpose is to “prevent the meat from turning gray” and “help preserve the meat’s red color.” I’ve read elsewhere that saltpeter not only preserves the meat’s red color but also prevents fats from developing rancid flavors, prevents many bacteria from growing, and most importantly CHANGES THE FLAVOR.

    I’m looking for a corned beef recipe without nitrites, as found in saltpeter, since they are known carcinogens.

    Have you tried this recipe without the saltpeter? Did it taste the same?

  23. adminNo Gravatar Says:


    I guess I need to have my friends to submit comments in exchange for the free dinner I fed them! Hey they should of anyways with out me begging :)

    Mark, you are correct. In my recently purchased cookbook I read that nitrites do several important things for cured meats besides helping them to retain color. It is the reaction between the nitrites and the nitric oxide (NO) that slows the development of rancid flavors. Many even argue that it contributes its own sharp and piquant flavor. Personally, I have yet to try any other recipe to corn beef. If I’m not corning it myself I just pick up a pre-brined one from the market (and they all contain “a little dash of the magic”). I encourage you to try it for yourself and share with the readers.

    In regards to health risks, they appear to be small. Nitrates in store purchased cured meats are usually well below the US limit of 200 parts per million (0.02%). As with anything else its about moderation, and I don’t make a habit of eating corned beef or deli meat everyday so I am not too worried. Ninety percent of my fruits and vegetables are organic or home grown so I guess I am willing to take the small risk.

    Thanks for stopping by, hope to hear from you about the no-nitrate version of the recipe in the future.

  24. seosurvivorNo Gravatar Says:

    @Mark Fumi (aka Wasabi Bratwurst the man himself) made the best Hot & juicy Reuben sandwiches with the left over corned beef. I actually ate his corned beef recipe before he posted this. I commented on the blog right away but I did not want to do it again as to inflate his already swollen ego. :P

    But yeah, I can’t wait for next St. Patrick’s Day so I can be invited for a Corned Beef & Cabbage dinner.


  25. Tyler JordanNo Gravatar Says:

    I tasted this recipe a couple months ago and absolutely loved it. I’m not really a corned beef kind-of-guy and I wasn’t even very hungry, which would usually call for the ol’ “poo-poo” if it wasn’t up to par.
    I was pleased with not only the incredible flavor, but the fact that it wasn’t too dry. The sandwich was so good I finished it and had to unbutton the top button of my jeans on my long drive home.

  26. JewbaccaNo Gravatar Says:

    I was raised jewish and by trade that makes me a corned-beef expert. I loved the hell out of Fumi’s recipe. Just like grandmother used to make, with less guilt and profanity.

  27. Organic GuyNo Gravatar Says:

    I was also fortunate enough to taste this recipe and it was really good. Of course the cancer I developed as a result of all the carcinogens was unfortunate. But hey, it was damn good corned beef I tell you! J/K

    On a serious note, I wonder if the recipe without the saltpeter would have the meat come out all grey and nasty looking? I also wonder what the difference in taste would really be?

  28. Fumi MatsubaraNo Gravatar Says:

    @seosurvivor @Tyler Jordan @Organic Guy @Jewbacca

    Thank you all for your kind words. You know we need to have a big St. Patty’s day celebration, shoot, why don’t I make a batch for Dan’s Halloween party?

  29. FoodRenegadeNo Gravatar Says:

    I’ve made corned beef without the saltpeter, and it’s really tasty. You add a little more actual salt (make sure it’s kosher sea salt and iodine-free), but otherwise it’s the same. It’s far healthier for you, and all those nourishing enzymes not killed by the salt peter really aid in the meat’s digestion.

  30. Fumi MatsubaraNo Gravatar Says:

    @FoodRenegade Like you, I am also in to eating wholesome food and not a fan of stuffing preservatives and unnecessary chemicals in to my body. However, I am not so sure if I can do gray colored corned beef. I need to give it a try though.

    Curious, you mentioned to add a little more salt, how much are we talking about? I wonder if I maintain the same salt volume and keep the joint soaked in the brine longer.

  31. mikeNo Gravatar Says:

    Thanks for reminding me that corned beef needs to be on my ever-expanding mental “need-to-make brisket list”. I’ve inserted it right after pastrami…

  32. Sherrie BelleNo Gravatar Says:

    I’ve been making my own corned beef for several years. It far surpasses the over processed counter meats thats sit in the case for weeks. Always looking for new recipes and I’ll try yours this year. I live in a small town in northern Wisconisn that’s primarily German, Swedish and Finnish folks, but St Pat’s Day is a huge event here. Every mom and pop tavern and restaurant features corned beef and cabbage on the 17th, planty of Killigans beer and a bountiful array of Irish wiskeys.

    Bon Appetit
    Sherrie Belle
    Northwoods Gourmet

  33. The Hungry MouseNo Gravatar Says:

    Oh, sign me up! I’ve had homemade corned beef before and it’s deeeelicious. Yum!


  34. Gera @ SweetsFoodsNo Gravatar Says:

    I’m in!! homemade corned beef wow…better impossible in a delicious sandwich!!

  35. DNo Gravatar Says:

    My Jewish stomach is growling.

  36. Jason's BBQ AdventuresNo Gravatar Says:

    Corned beef is wonderful, love the recipe. I generally by corned beef briskets and then smoke them to make pastrami. I might just have to corn it myself. If interested in the pastrami part check out:


  37. chef matNo Gravatar Says:

    I recommend using pink salt (sodium nitrite) instead. At my restaurant we make about 50-60lb of corned beef a week and I find that salt peter is too difficult to control. use about 3 wt oz. in this recipe and your corned beef will turn out a beautiful color.

  38. JanieNo Gravatar Says:

    I made my corned beef,cured it for 11 days, then cooked it with veg for 3 hrs to eat for supper. It was delicious, but it was too fall-apart for the nice deli sandwiches that I love. Am I not supposed to cook it so long if I want it for thinly sliced deli meat?

  39. JanieNo Gravatar Says:

    Appreciate anyones help on this

  40. Veggie AnnieNo Gravatar Says:

    Just what I’m looking for! Sounds really delicious. My question: Can I use a shoulder, rather than a brisket?

  41. EllieNo Gravatar Says:


    Found every thing but the saltpeter. My butcher recommended insta cure #1 as a replacement.

    Brisket will be in the frig soon….will cook next Sunday. Can’t wait. Thanks.

  42. DarcyNo Gravatar Says:

    I did up your recipe and everybody thought it was too salty. My brisket was only about 6 lbs would that have any thing to do with it? Or should I just reduce the salt (by half according to my pallet)next time? Other wise the color texture etc was great.

  43. BruceNo Gravatar Says:

    I am a organic dairy farmer and we raise all animals born on the farm. We sell certified organic beef and have been looking for a corned beef recipe to try. I will try this one, it sounds great. By the way we sell AND SHIP ORGANIC BEEF. E-mail me for pricing etc.

  44. JennyNo Gravatar Says:

    I’s been after this type of recipe for an age. Finally tried it last night – wonderful, thank you so much. I was a bit naughty and had it with these (best recipe for this side I’ve ever come across):

  45. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Don’t see why not :) The cooking time should be shorter with the shoulder.

  46. adminNo Gravatar Says:

    Try shorting the cure time to 7 days.

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