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Corned Beef from scratch?

Ali G Mar 5, 2010 09:37 AM

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. a
    appycamper Mar 5, 2010 10:00 AM

    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. n
      novelgazer Mar 5, 2010 10:19 AM

      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. mrbigshotno.1 Mar 5, 2010 10:50 AM

        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
          Ali G Mar 5, 2010 03:32 PM

          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
            Zeldog Mar 5, 2010 08:08 PM

            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.


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          goodeatsgal Mar 11, 2010 12:32 PM

          I made it from scratch last year, using Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie recipe (and posted online at Leite's Culinaria http://leitesculinaria.com/5912/recip...). 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!

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