Curing your own corned beef at home is easier than you might think. It basically involves soaking a brisket of beef in a brine for several days. You're essentially pickling the meat. If you have a marinade injector you can pump some brine directly into the meat for even more flavor.
What You Need
- A five-pound brisket of beef, with fat trimmed to about ¼ inch.
- 1 cup Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Prague Powder
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons pickling spices
- 4-5 small dried red chili peppers (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 bay leaves
- Marinade injector (optional)
Time Required: 5 Days
Steps to Make Corned Beef
- In a gallon of cold water, combine the Kosher salt, Prague powder, and sugar. Stir until dissolved.
- Using a marinade injector, pump about 10 ounces of the brine into the beef brisket. Inject the brine at various locations evenly spaced around the brisket.
- Add the pickling spices, garlic, bay leaves and optional chili peppers to the remaining brine liquid.
- Transfer the brine into a shallow nonreactive (i.e. stainless steel or glass) container and then add the brisket. You can weigh it down with a dish to keep it submerged. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 5 days.
- Now, it's time to cook your corned beef.
Curing Meat Warning
Curing meat requires specific expertise and failure to cure meat properly may result in sickness or death. If you have no experience in this area, we advise you to consult an expert to teach you proper techniques and applications.
Great Resources on Curing Meat
Since curing meat requires such a specific skill set, otherwise, it can lead to illness or worse, we highly recommend consulting with an expert to teach you proper techniques. We found that the following four publications are super helpful guides and go in-depth about just such processes, procedures, and techniques:
- Charcuterie: The Art of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
- Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages by Stanley Marianski
- The River Cottage Smoking & Curing Handbook by Steven Lamb
- USDA’s Processing Procedures: Dried Meats