Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
May 13, 2009 11:16 AM

Corned beef - 3 days enough time for brine?

I'm hoping to make corned beef for Sunday dinner. However, my absent-mindedness made me forget about picking up a piece of brisket until today. So if I put it in brine tonight (wednesday), it'll brine for 3 days at least. Is that sufficient? It's going to be a smaller piece, about 3-4 lbs. My gut says it'll be ok.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not possible dry cured, but it is possible in a wet brine. I'd suggest injecting some of the brine into the thickest parts of the meat.

    5 Replies
    1. re: embee

      Hey Embee, I was thinking wet brine + injection.

      While I've got your attention, what's the best supermarket variety of rye bread? I don't think I'll have time for a big hike to a specialty bakery. Also, do I use same bread for regular sandwiches vs. a reuben?

      1. re: grandgourmand

        Open Window, preferably double, with or without kimmel, unsliced. Dampen the crust and put it in a hot oven for a few minutes to crisp up, then slice.

        Same bread is fine for a reuben, though some people prefer marble rye or dark rye. Be sure you don't slice the bread too thick, or the bread will overheat before the sandwich contents warm up.

        1. re: embee

          I can get that at Loblaws?


          1. re: grandgourmand

            Yes, but not at every one. Good luck.

      2. re: embee

        I used a wet brine for my brisket and 3 was not even close. I did it after St Paddys Day but not even close. I was very dissapointed in the results and followed all the rules of CH's but had a short time frame. Most told me longer but time was an issue. I thought I would try regardless, but I knew the risks.

        The second one I did 5 days and so much better. I would of been embarassed to serve the ones I did only 3 days but maybe just me. The 5 day was good. But too much work and not enough room in my place for me. I'll buy from now on but it was fun to do it again, it had been a couple of years. It just wasn't worth the cost or my time, but fun it was. But 5 days would be my minimum for adequate flavor and tendor meat.

      3. When we were testing our recipe for our Make Your Own Corned Beef Story: we brined many briskets from 24 hours to 1 week. The longer the brine the more flavorful (obviously) but after 3 days the brisket was had a nice pickled flavor and was very tender (after simmering). We didn't have to inject it or anything.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kramos

          Thank you. I suppose injecting it could increase the pickled flavour.


          1. re: grandgourmand

            Injecting brine into the center of any thick areas is just your insurance that the meat will cure through. If the whole thing is, say, an inch thick max, it probably isn't necessary. However, since it's really easy to do, I'd do it.

            In case anyone picks up on a possible inconsistency, this is not the same as high pressure, multiple needle, chemical curing - which I don't like. It's just getting your barrel brine to the meat's centre when your available curing time is marginal.

        2. I would just do it when you've got time, or make a corned beef and keep it for whenever you're ready. I find it's best after 2-4 weeks in the cure, and after 4 weeks, it will keep for months in the fridge.

          When I do my beef coop purchase, I usually make a corned beef right away, because it saves freezer space, and then I've got it ready to go whenever I'm in the mood for it.

            1. re: embee

              I had written a response to your question, but it didn't stick for some reason. Anyhow...

              Turned out great. I got my meat at T&T. It was a small piece brisket point. I placed in the wet cure + injection for three days. Also, after rinsing, I soaked it in water for a couple hours. I boiled it for about three hours, during the last half our or so, added a variety of vegtables. It was difficult to know if the meat was ready to eat simply by prodding it, but in the end my instincts were good and it sliced beautifully. I think the soaking was good for reducing the saltiness without hurting the spice too much. I do, however, want to spice more aggressively. Definitely a keeper recipe, and do-able in a three day period.

              Thanks for the input.

              1. re: grandgourmand

                What would you recommend for spicing a piece like this (mine is usually dry rub).

                BTW, I really like my rye bread source, though out of the way for most people.

                Breadhouse Bakery
                893 Bayly St, Pickering, ON L1W, CA

                1. re: jayt90

                  For the corned beef, I followed the recipe from the Charcuterie book by Ruhlman/Polcyn. Used that basically to determine how much curing agent and salt to use for my meat. For spicing, I used the pickling spice from Highland Farms. I added garlic, extra bay and peppercorns. It seems pretty heavy on the coriander seed, so felt the others should be added to beef up their presence (pun intended).

                  Basically boiled water, added sugar, salt and prague powder #1, stirred to dissolve, took off the heat, added the pickling spice, extra spices and garlic and let it steep and eventually become cool enough to add the meat. I also injected.

                  At some point I'll develop my own pickling spice, but for now, the ready mixed stuff works fine. I use it for refrigerator pickles as well.

                  1. re: grandgourmand

                    I, too, use this book as a jumping-off point - I like extra garlic and never inject, although I may try it next time.

                    My Jewish in-laws in Oklahoma used to have corned beef shipped from New York - Now I do it for them as they prefer it. Go figure!

                    1. re: tommyskitchen

                      I injected because of the tight timeframe. Otherwise, i don't think it would be necessary.

            2. FYI, T&T on Cherry St has AAA briskets for $2.98. These were just off the delivery truck, and still sealed in plastic bags, at about 9:45 AM.

              I got a beautiful 6 pound double with full deckle and 3/4 in. of fat on top. Since they usually trim all of the fat before selling, I tried to negotiate a small discount, but was not successful :-(

              Still, this should cook up beautifully. I figure 1/2 as BBQ next week and 1/2 as pastrami later in the month.

              2 Replies
              1. re: embee

                I'll check that out at T&T Milliken. Is the deckle the triangular end, marbled, with fat down the center?