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Mar 5, 2010 09:37 AM

Corned Beef from scratch?

I'm going to attempt to corn a beef brisket for St. Patrick's Day for the first time. After searching for recipes, I came across this site:

I believe they use a Cooks Illustrated recipe which got a lot of good reviews. I was surprised to see that it was a dry rub instead of a brine. All of the corned beef briskets I've purchased in the past have come in a brine. Does anybody have any experience making their own corned beef? Any advantage of a dry rub vs. wet?

Also, I'm thinking about cooking this in a crock pot. I don't trust my Italian wife to make a proper boiled dinner :) and by the time I started cooking after work, we would be eating at 10pm. Any suggestions on time? Low setting / high setting?

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  1. i like braised more than boiled. if you do the beef a day ahead you can pull it from the liquid and heat and slightly brown in the oven the day of. might not be the "boiled dinner" way but i cook each veggie item separately and to its optimum texture then toss in the leftover braising liquid to heat before serving.

    1. I've never made it from scratch, but for comparison's sake, here's Alton Brown's recipe:

      And, like Appycamper, I prefer braised to boiled.

      1. Do it wet in a brine, Use Mortons Tender-quick and add lots of garlic and a couple TBS of pickling spice, better put it to cure NOW! It takes 10-12 days to cure properly, turn the meat and reseal every couple of days. Crockpot works just fine, about 8 hours.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

          Is the Tender-quick used to keep the meat pink? I'd like to avoid nitrates and nitrites, partially for health reasons, but mostly because I want to make a "grey" corned beef. We always cooked the grey corned beef when I was growing up. I think of the pink as deli meat. Maybe it's a Boston thing.

          1. re: Ali G

            Tender quick does contain nitrate, so if you find a recipe that you like, but calls for nitrate (aka Cure #1 or Prague powder #1), just leave it out. Here's a simple recipe I like that uses a wet brine. And don't skip the juniper berries if you can find them.


        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. I made it from scratch last year, using Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie recipe (and posted online at Leite's Culinaria I did not use the pink salt because I wanted to avoid the nitrite. I followed the instructions to brine for 5 days, and then put it in the crock pot on Low in the morning before I left for work. I set it for about 9 hours (my crock pot automatically turns to Warm after cooking); all in all, it was in the crock pot for probably 10-11 hours). The corned beef turned out very tasty! Also, I cooked the vegetables separately when I got home. I just bought a brisket last night and will start the brining tonight. Can't wait!