This homemade corned beef, is a Saint Patrick’s Day favorite – and a lot easier to pull off than you’d think!
When Gabe and I got married, one of the first things we did (after the honeymoon) was send one of his cows off to the slaughter house.
Tara! These newlyweds were the proud owners of an entire chest freezer full of beef.
A few months later, Saint Patrick’s Day was right around the corner, and I knew two things: I wanted to make a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, and all that beef we had int he freezer wasn’t going to “corn” itself.
I feel like it might be important to mention that Google wasn’t as all-knowing as it is now, so when I went to find out how to make corned beef, almost everything I found was how to cook one that you bought at the store.
But I finally dug down the bottom and found it – the brine I was looking for.
And it was pretty lucky, because it turned out that making it was ridiculously easy. Maybe not quite as easy as making homemade bacon, but not everything can be that simple.
And it’s definitely easier than making homemade jerky, and what outdoorsy family hasn’t tried their hand at that?
What cut of meat should I use?
Traditionally, corned beef would be made with a brisket. However, beef is beef. If I remember correctly, the piece you see in these pictures is a chuck roast. It was on sale, and arguably higher quality than a brisket.
Why isn’t your Homemade Corned Beef pink?
Ah, the million dollar question! That pink color that is so characteristic of corned beef comes from pink curing salt. Pink curing salt is a nitrite used to kill bacteria in meat.
One of the reasons we cure our own meats around here is to stay away from nitrites like that, and while it may not result in that pretty pink color, I’d rather not ingest either salt, or nitrites.
So what do you use instead?
Celery seed is often used as a natural nitrate to take the place of curing salts, but we have found that as we’re keeping the beef in the refrigerator, in a highly bacteria-unfriendly environment (both cold, and salty), and cooking it thoroughly afterward, these bacteria haven’t been a problem.
Now, I am not one to eschew food safety, and I look back at some of the things we did in the Amish community and cringe (like curing meat in open cardboard boxes in our basement), but I’ve also cured my fair share of homemade bacon, and homemade corned beef as well as brined ham with no issues.
That said, I’m in no position to disagree with the FDA, and advise you to proceed at your own risk.
This corned beef recipe is perfect served with roasted potatoes and carrots, and paired with gluten-free Irish Soda Bread!Print
Homemade Corned Beef (From Scratch!)
- 2 quarts water
- 3/4 cups kosher salt
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Mixed Pickling Spices (Make your own with this recipe!)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 fresh beef brisket or beef roast (2–3 pounds)
- 1 lb baby carrots
- 1 lb potatoes, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 celery stalks
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot
- Add salt and stir until dissolved
- Add brown sugar, pickling spices, and garlic
- Let cool completely
- Add roast, making sure to fully submerge
- If your roast won’t stay down under the water, place a plate on top of roast and weight down with a jar of water
- Move to refrigerator
- Let brine for 7-9 days
- Remove roast from brine and cook in slow cooker on high for 4 hours
- Add vegetables and cook an additional 1 1/2-2 hours