Corned beef has such a unique and easily identifiable flavor. With this simple recipe you can have all of the corned beef whenever you want and not just on St. Patrick’s Day.
Corned beef is the main ingredient in one of my favorite sandwiches the Reuben. I cannot get enough of the stuff. While this recipe does take a little bit of time to plan ahead and a little refrigerator real estate, the results are well worth it. When making this recipe you will want at least five days to cure the brisket however I suggest 7-10 time permitting.
What's in corned beef?
What makes this recipe so simple is that all you need to brine and cure your brisket is salt, curing salt, water, brown sugar, and your favorite blend of pickling spices. Bring everything other than the brisket to boiling to dissolve the salt and sugar. Then cool it, add the brisket, cover and refrigerate for at least 5 days. Easy peezy lemon squeezy.
One of the important things to note about this recipe is the use of curing salt. This salt is dyed pink to make sure that this isn’t confused with regular salt. Although pink Himalayan salt is also colored pink make sure to keep curing salt away from your other cooking materials. The reason being is that it is harmful if consumed directly.
I am now sure you are asking why you would make something with ingredients that are harmful if consumed. It is because this particular salt, which is sodium nitrite, kills bacteria that live in salty water. As the bacteria break down the salts the remaining by products destroy the bacteria. Secondly it gives the corned beef its unique flavor. Finally it keeps the beef its signature pink color instead of turning it brown.
Pickling spices will give your beef its own unique flavors. Whether or not you make your own blend or buy a store-bought version you will be using quite a bit of them. Personally I like to grind up the spice blend to help release flavors and oils however you don’t need to do it. The easiest way to grind spices is with a coffee grinder.
Simple Oven Braised Corned Beef
- Dutch oven
- Large plastic container at least 1.5 gallons
- 4 quarts water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup pickling spice blend
- 4 tsp pink curing salt
- 5 lb beef brisket
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 tbsp pickling spice blend
- 3 large carrots peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 lb small red potatoes cut in half
- 1 head green cabbage quartered
Making the brine
- In a Dutch oven or large stock pot add the water, kosher salt, brown sugar, pickling spice blend, and pink curing salt. Bring to a boil and stir until salt and sugar have dissolved, if they have dissolved before reaching boiling allow to get to boiling before removing from the heat. Turn off heat and cool.
- In a large container or large sealable plastic bag place beef brisket and pour room temperature brining liquid over and cover or seal. You don't want the brining liquid to be hot as it will cook the meat instead of cure it. Store in a refrigerator for 7 days, and flip the beef over on day 4. On the seventh day remove from brining liquid and discard the liquid.
Braising the beef
- Preheat oven to 350°F or gas mark 4.
- Place the corned beef in a Dutch oven or large pot. Add the pickling spice, beef fat side up, potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. Cover and place on the stove to bring to a boil on high heat. Once it has started boiling move the pot to the oven and bake for 3.5 hours. Check the pot periodically to make sure the liquid stays above the beef.
- Slice across the grain and serve.