How Is Corned Beef Made: A Step-by-Step Guide

Choosing the Right Cut of Meat for Corned Beef

When it comes to making corned beef, the cut of meat you choose is important. The best cut for corned beef is brisket, which comes from the chest of the cow. Brisket is a tough cut of meat, which makes it perfect for slow cooking methods like corned beef.

When selecting a brisket for corned beef, look for one that is well-marbled with fat. The fat will help keep the meat moist during the long cooking process and add flavor. A good brisket should also be uniform in size and thickness to ensure even cooking.

If you cannot find brisket, you can also use bottom round or rump roast. However, these cuts are leaner than brisket and may require additional fat added to the brine or during cooking to keep the meat moist.

When it comes to corned beef, the cut of meat is just as important as the brining and cooking process. Choose the right cut of meat, and you’ll be rewarded with tender, flavorful corned beef that is sure to please.

Brining Process: How to Make the Perfect Brine for Corned Beef

Brining is a crucial step in the process of making corned beef. It involves soaking the meat in a saltwater solution along with various spices and flavorings to infuse it with flavor and help tenderize the meat. Here’s how to make the perfect brine for corned beef:


  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries


  1. In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the kosher salt and brown sugar to the pot, stirring until fully dissolved.
  3. Add the pickling spice, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves, and allspice berries to the pot and stir to combine.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and let the brine cool to room temperature.
  5. Once the brine has cooled, place your brisket or other cut of meat into a large, non-reactive container (such as a glass or plastic container).
  6. Pour the brine over the meat, making sure it is fully submerged.
  7. Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator for at least 5 days (and up to 10 days), flipping the meat once per day to ensure it brines evenly.

After brining, rinse the meat thoroughly with cold water before cooking. The brining process may seem lengthy, but it is essential for achieving tender, flavorful corned beef.

Cooking Corned Beef: Different Methods and Techniques

After the brining process is complete, it’s time to cook your corned beef. There are several methods and techniques to choose from, depending on your preference and available equipment.

  1. Stovetop Method: This is the most traditional method of cooking corned beef. Simply place the corned beef in a large pot with enough water to cover it, along with any additional flavorings you desire (such as onions, carrots, and celery). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender.

  2. Slow Cooker Method: This method is great if you want to set it and forget it. Place the corned beef in a slow cooker along with any additional flavorings, cover with water, and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the meat is tender.

  3. Oven Method: For a slightly different flavor and texture, you can cook your corned beef in the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F, place the corned beef in a baking dish along with any additional flavorings, cover with foil, and bake for 3-4 hours or until the meat is tender.

No matter which method you choose, be sure to let the meat rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing against the grain to serve. This will help ensure that the meat is tender and easy to eat.

Serving and Enjoying Corned Beef: Tips and Tricks

Once your corned beef is cooked and ready to serve, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure the best possible eating experience.

  1. Slicing: When slicing corned beef, it’s important to cut against the grain. This means cutting perpendicular to the lines of muscle fibers in the meat, which will result in slices that are tender and easy to eat.

  2. Serving: Corned beef is traditionally served with boiled potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. You can also serve it on rye bread for a classic Reuben sandwich.

  3. Leftovers: Corned beef makes great leftovers. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Leftover corned beef can be used in a variety of dishes, such as hash or sandwiches.

  4. Reheating: To reheat corned beef, place it in a pan with a small amount of water, cover, and heat over medium-low heat until warmed through. Alternatively, you can reheat it in the oven or microwave.

  5. Beverages: Corned beef pairs well with beer, especially Irish stout like Guinness. You can also serve it with a glass of red wine or a non-alcoholic beverage like iced tea.

By keeping these tips and tricks in mind, you can enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal of corned beef.

Conclusion: Making Delicious Corned Beef at Home

Making corned beef at home may seem like a daunting task, but with the right ingredients, equipment, and knowledge, it can be a rewarding and delicious experience. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Choose the right cut of meat, such as brisket, for the best results.
  • Brining is essential for flavor and tenderness. Be sure to give your meat enough time to brine properly.
  • Cooking methods vary, so choose the one that works best for your preferences and equipment.
  • Let the meat rest before slicing against the grain for tender slices.
  • Enjoy your corned beef with traditional sides and beverages, or get creative with leftovers.

By following these tips and techniques, you can make delicious corned beef at home that rivals any deli or restaurant. So why not give it a try and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills?

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