How to brine your own brisket

How to brine your own brisket

I feel like I came into this homesteading thing really late in the game. I am the epitome of the phrase, “If I only knew then what I know now.” (Or, “better late than never” works, too.)

Still, here we are and I couldn’t be happier.

Homesteading has really required me to step out of my comfort zone, in a good way.

Let’s take St. Patrick’s Day.

I am Irish and a corn beef and cabbage dinner was required dining each year. (Note: Yes! I know that corn beef and cabbage is more “Irish-American” than Irish, but it has a long history here in New England.)

This year we had kidding around the same time and we weren’t sure what we were going to do. We typically order a corn beef brisket from the local butcher, but this year we had a whopping 5 1/2lb brisket in the freezer. (Long story, but a friend didn’t want her brisket that came with her half cow purchase, soooo….)

I knew I had to figure out how to “corn” my own corn beef.

I am not one to follow a recipe exactly and I think this was a great place to see that in action. To make a corn beef you basically brine it similar to brining a chicken or turkey. That means salt, water and spices.

I am giving you a quick run down of the spices and process I followed below. All I can tell you is that this was THE BEST brisket I have ever had. The flavor was amazing and the fresh brisket was amazing.

I will never go back to store bought brisket ever again.

And too top it off….we used some of the leftovers to make corn beef hash…but I’ll save that story for later.

To brine your own corn beef you will need the following. I had most of these spices already. I ordered the juniper berries and the sodium nitrite. I read you can skip the sodium nitrite but with changes to the recipe and the flavor isn’t as good, so for my first stab at this, I used it.

(Note, these are approximate measurements as what I really did was grab all the pickling spices I had and just scooped a little of each into the water.)

1 tbs whole juniper berries

1 tbs whole allspice

1 tbs whole mustard seed

1 tbs coriander seed

1 tbs black peppercorns

1 tbs whole cloves

1 tbs whole cardamom

4-6 bay leaves

½ tbs ground ginger

1 cinnamon stick broken in half

4 tsp sodium nitrite (Pink curing salt)

½ cup brown sugar, packed

2 cups of kosher salt

1 gallon water

1 5 – 5 1/2lb brisket

 

How to make the brine

Pour the gallon water in a large stock pot. Add the salt and seasonings and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cool the brine. I let mine sit on the stove for a while and then refrigerated it.

Once your brine solution is cold, use large turkey bags and place your brisket and the brine in the bags. We also placed the bags in the cleaned out stock pot just in case they leaked at all. You will need to refrigerate your brine for 10 days. We have an extra refrigerator we were able to store it in. If you don’t have one, just try to find a container that will fit in your regular refrigerator. You will need to flip your brisket once a day or so.

After 10 days, take out your brisket and rinse. Discard the brine and wash out your pot if you used it to store the brisket.

Place the brisket in the pot, cover completely with water, add onions and a couple bay leaves, cover and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook your brisket for about 3 ½ hours. Add more water if necessary.

After 3 1/2 hours, add in carrots cut in half, a small cabbage, quartered, and 4 large potatoes, quartered in that order. Place lid back on pot and simmer for another ½ hour to 45 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.

 

And there you have it…a home made St. Patrick’s Day corn beef dinner that you made from scratch!

Boiled Dinner in pot

 

How to brine your own brisket
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
 
Brining your own brisket is easier than you think.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbs whole juniper berries
  • 1 tbs whole allspice
  • 1 tbs whole mustard seed
  • 1 tbs coriander seed
  • 1 tbs black peppercorns
  • 1 tbs whole cloves
  • 1 tbs whole cardamom
  • 4-6 bay leaves
  • ½ tbs ground ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken in half
  • 4 tsp sodium nitrite (Pink curing salt)
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups of kosher salt
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 5 – 5½lb brisket
Instructions
  1. How to make the brine.
  2. Pour the gallon water in a large stock pot. Add the salt and seasonings and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cool the brine. I let mine sit on the stove for a while and then refrigerated it.
  3. Once your brine solution is cold, use large turkey bags and place your brisket and the brine in the bags. We also placed the bags in the cleaned out stock pot just in case they leaked at all. You will need to refrigerate your brine for 10 days. We have an extra refrigerator we were able to store it in. If you don’t have one, just try to find a container that will fit in your regular refrigerator. You will need to flip your brisket once a day or so.
  4. After 10 days, take out your brisket and rinse. Discard the brine and wash out your pot if you used it to store the brisket. You are now ready to cook your own corn beef dinner.