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How to Brine Corned Beef
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50 mins

Nitrate-free, refined sugar-free corned beef recipe

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: corned beef, low-carb, paleo, tutorial
Servings: 5 lbs
Author: Julia
Pickling Spices:
Brined Corned Beef
Optional Spices for Cooking:
Make the Pickling Spice Blend:
  1. Add the pickling spices to a small skillet and toast over medium-low to medium-heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Keep a watchful eye so that they don’t burn! Note: if the mixture begins to smoke, it can cause you to cough.

  2. Transfer toasted spices to a mortar and pestle and grind - it’s okay if they remain whole..you simply want to crush the spices to help them release flavor.

Brine the Beef:
  1. Transfer 3 tablespoons of the pickling spices to a large stock pot (reserve the remaining spices for when you are ready to cook the beef), along with 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of kosher salt and ½ cup coconut sugar to make the bring. Bring this mixture to a full boil. Remove from heat and allow bringing liquid to cool then place in the refrigerator until chilled.

  2. Place beef brisket in a glass tupperware container and pour brining liquid over it. You want to beef to be fully covered. If you don't have a container that is large enough for the beef, you can cut it into smaller portions (but try to keep the cuts large), or you can transfer everything to a freezer bag and place the freezer bag in a pot in the refrigerator). Secure the lid on the container and refrigerate for 5 to 7 days.

  3. When ready to cook the beef, remove it from the brine and rinse it under cool water. Transfer it to your method of cooking of choice, such as a pot on the stove top, Instant Pot, slow cooker or sous vide.

Cook Corned Beef:
  1. To cook corned beef on the stove top, place the rinsed beef in a large pot and cover it with 1 inch of liquid, such as plain water, broth, or a combination of water and beer (Guinness works great) or broth and beer. Add 1 tablespoon of the pickling spices you reserved and give it a stir.

  2. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook 3 to 4 hours, until beef is very tender.