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Mar 16, 2006 08:54 PM

Corned Beef with no spice packet?

  • h

I'm going to make corned beef and cabbage (and potatoes, carrots, onions and celery) for the first time tomorrow. I just bought a 3-pound corned beef and was surprised to find there was no “spice packet” included. The meat was packaged as “corned beef brisket” as opposed to just beef brisket, so I assume there has already been some kind of curing prior to packaging.

I have some garlic cloves, peppercorns and bay leaves in the house, but no allspice berries or cloves, etc.

Will I still get the traditional “corned beef” flavor I’m after or do I need to get some additional spices?



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  1. You can go to your local market and pick a small can of pickling spice and add s couple of teaspoons (more or less depending how much you like the flavor).

    We like the flavor it addes so we normally add more. This help the cabbage, carrots and potatoes which we cnnk in the corned beef water.

    1. j
      JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

      From the way it sounds on the package, it's already been corned, and shouldn't need more spices added in. Lop off a small chunk and cook it up, and decide from there. For additional spices, allspice would be a good idea, as would some thyme.


      1. I don't know what part of the country you are in but the mexican food section in most grocery stores sells spices by the packet and they usually carry pickling spices. It is also pretty cheap. The stuff in the spice section in the bottles is better but if you need pickling spices once then the packets maight be the route to go.

        1. FWIW, the packet that comes with some brands of corned beef appears to consist of some mustard seed, coriander seed, bay leaf, and maybe some hot pepper. If you're slow-cooking most brands of corned beef, any of the above would be good additions, especially the coriander seed and bay leaf. I would also throw in some peeled and smashed garlic cloves, but then that's my favorite vegetable...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            the first actually helpful response i.e. some people like to do things from scratch. lol thank you

            1. re: NCJerseyGirl

              For a family's worth of corned beef (that is' not a large crowd) you want one bay leaf, ten peppercorns, a tablespoon or a bit more of yellow mustard seeds, a scant tablespoon of coriander seeds, one allspice berry, two or three whole cloves and some fennel seeds (or cumin seeds, or even caraway seeds) and just a little salt. Some spice packets have a dried hot pepper, and that's a good idea, too. Some have a teaspoon or so of dill seed. That's the "pickling spice" element, and it's a good idea as well. Whole spices is the way to do it!!

          2. I agree that pickling spices are the way to go, but last year I just added bayleaves and peppercorns in a pinch and it was okay.