Homemade Corned Beef Curing Guide

corned beef
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  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 12 to 16 servings

It's easy to make your own corned beef at home. Just plan ahead. The beef brisket will take about 3 weeks to cure. You can also use bottom round roast in place of brisket if you wish.


  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon saltpeter (see note 1 below)
  • 2 beef briskets, about 4 pounds each (see note 2 below)
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons pickling spices
  • 8 bay leaves

Steps to Make It

  1. Boil water. Add salt and saltpeter, stir to dissolve and set aside to cool.

  2. Place brisket in a large crock, zipper-style plastic bag or another non-metallic container. Pour salt water over meat and add garlic, pickling spices, and bay leaves. Meat should be submerged; use a weighted jar to hold meat under pickling solution.

  3. Refrigerate or set in a cool place for 3 weeks.

  4. Drain and remove bay leaves before cooking.


  • Saltpeter is known commercially as potassium nitrate and is used to give the meat a pink coloring.

Recipe Variation

  • Bottom round roasts may be substituted for the brisket for a leaner corned beef.

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal March 8, 1995. Reprinted with permission.