Corned Beef

Total Time:
243 hr 20 min
20 min
240 hr
3 hr

6 to 8 servings

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons saltpeter
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • 12 whole juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 pounds ice
  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket, trimmed
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
Watch how to make this recipe.

Place the water into a large 6 to 8 quart stockpot along with salt, sugar, saltpeter, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice has melted. If necessary, place the brine into the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 45 degrees F. Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip top bag and add the brine. Seal and lay flat inside a container, cover and place in the refrigerator for 10 days. Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine.

After 10 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water. Place the brisket into a pot just large enough to hold the meat, add the onion, carrot and celery and cover with water by 1-inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Remove from the pot and thinly slice across the grain.

View All

Pairs Well With
Dark Beer

Toasty, bracing beer

  • Find easy pairings for your favorite recipes, Bobby's perfect picks and party ideas.
Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.6 117
Easy recipe. Made it for St. Patrick's Day. Thanks Alton!  item not reviewed by moderator and published
cannot believe this is on a cooking website. DO NOT use saltpeter, use TCM(aka pink salt or prague powder) instead a hell of a lot safer than saltpeter. no change in quantity  item not reviewed by moderator and published
As with every Alton Brown recipe I've tried, this was amazing. I couldn't get salt peter in time so I ordered some Prague Powder #1 online and used 1 1/2 teaspoons in place of the 2 tbs. salt peter and kept everything else the same. This had to be in the top 3 corned beef I've ever had. My only problem with it, and I'm going to tweak this when I make it again, is that too much cinnamon, clove and allspice flavor comes through in the end product but that's just my opinion because I don't like cookie spices with meat of any kind. I brought some home from my parent's house and made corned beef hash with it, I just chopped it up until it was basically mush and added about equal parts finely diced potatoes and a 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch so it would become a patty and it was also wonderful. Despite my complaints on the spices if you make this, people will love it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Absolutely wonderful. I only brined it for 6 days, but it was still really flavorful and so tender. We cooked ours for about 4 hours and I used Mortons Tender quick instead of the salt and saltpeter (1 cup of MTQ) and it was perfect!! We have another one brining in the same brine and will keep it in for the 10 days this time. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this for the first time for a few friends.  WOW.   I followed directions exactly and used 1 cup Mortons Curing Salt instead of the saltpeter and salt called for.  I boiled for 3 hours to make sure it was tender- and boy was it.  So flavorful and delicious.  I made Emerils rueben sandwiches with the meat.  Totally awesome corned beef and my friends loved it.  Thanks Alton for the great recipe.  I trust your tested recipes and know I can cook anything from you, even for the first time for guests, without fail every time.   item not reviewed by moderator and published
It sounds like perhaps you cooked it on too high a temperature. We always use this recipe for our corned beef (minus the salt peter as we don't mind it not being pink), but we don't cook it as Alton suggests. We either cook it on low in the crockpot all day or at 200 degrees F in our electric roaster. We typically cook the vegetables separately and serve on the same platter. <br /> item not reviewed by moderator and published
I thought this was easy and the flavor was really good. However - by beef turned out tough! No inedible tough but tough enough. I was hoping to have it perfect for St. Patrick's Day this year... does anyone have any suggestions as to why? I followed the directions exactly but I was wondering if maybe it cooked to long? Or not long enough? (I used a slightly smaller brisket because there's only two of us and cooked it for about 2 hours and 15 minutes). Or perhaps it was too hot? Any help would be appreciated.<br /> item not reviewed by moderator and published
Where's the recipe for cabbage? After seeing this show A.B. had a GREAT way to cook/Braise cabbage that included apple cider vinegar and sugar that really WOWed the family! ....Where is the recipe for the cabbage? item not reviewed by moderator and published
For those of us who have a bad reaction (I get awful migraines) from nitrites, that is what saltpeter is. Sigh. I do miss a good corned beef!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
It's wonderful and so doable! I have made it for my annual St. Patrick Day party two years now. The flavor is incomparable, it's so fresh - I am unable to eat commercially corned beef now. This year, there was only time to brine the beef for 8 days - it still had plenty of good flavor. And it makes the best corned beef hash and Reuben sandwiches with the leftovers. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Can anyone tell me if they have tried this with a leg (or any other cut of lamb). I recently stopped eating beef and the corned beef is something I cannot find a comparable substitute so I would like to try making myself. What spices would I adjust or sub. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Will reducing the curing time to 5 days still produce the desired result? I made this last year and forgot it required 10 days when I purchased my brisket this week. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This comes up under "Alton Brown pastrami" searches. But I have found it is a tad too salty if you aren't performing the boil step like you would for a corn beef. I'm going try a two do rinse in ice water before smoking this time. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is a keeper for me. I just cooked my beef Thursday, it was delicious. I thought the seasoning was perfect. I didn't use the saltpeter so the meat did look dull, but I was expecting that and it's not an issue for me. Now I'll search for a corned beef hash recipe for Sunday's breakfast! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Lots of harsh food powder ingredients to make corn beef wow ! i will reduce the harsh food powder ingredients and add dry sweet brooms with a little bit of apricot mmmmmmmmmmmmm it will taste much better awesome!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Came out great. I got the pink salt off Amazon. I made the recipe except for the spices I just used pickling spice. Then I did add a couple of sticks of cinnamon. The cinnamon is really good in this recipe. I cured mine for a week and cooked it- came out great. I weighed mine down with a canning jar I filled with water. Worked great. Much better than pre-made. Then I just cooked mine in a wee bit of water after i drained it in the crockpot. After it was done, I added the cabbage for about 15 more minutes on high. I didn't use celery b/c I didn't have any. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I tried this recipe. It tasted great but the meat turned out grey instead of pink. Is this because i didn't include the saltpeter? item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is very good. I did however, leave out a bit of the salt, cinnamon and saltpeter. I got the saltpeter on amazon. I get the rest of the spices at Whole Foods. I only get just what I need. Whole Foods is great, because if you only get just a small amount of each spice, it doesn&amp;#39;t weigh enough and they give it to you for free! I don&amp;#39;t like salty foods, but this recipe is wonderful. Before I cooked it, I rinsed it and put it in my crock pot with homemade, unsalted chicken stock and left it for about 10 hours. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have made my corned beef this way without the saltpeter for 3 years now and it is fabulous! Barely enough leftovers for hash. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Excellent corned beef recipe! Makes a lot so it's good for a crowd. If there is leftovers you can make the best corned beef hash you will ever have, and of course it makes an awesome Ruben sandwich. Because I make my own sausage, all types (will never buy at store again I have Insata Cure #1 on hand which is much more reliable than Saltpeter, its what gives that classic pink color you find in corned beef, don't use red food coloring for goodness sake. You can get at The Sausage Maker online or see if you can get your local sausage maker or butcher to sell you some. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Great recipe. Did this as an exercise, to just be able to say that I had tried it from scratch. But to be honest, it came out so nice, I would be happy to do it at least once a year for a psuedo-Irish meal. I was able to find sodium nitrate at my spice shop being sold as "curing salt". As a matter of fact, it was only by accident that I learned it was nitrates. I was making gravlax (cured salmon and asked if curing salt would help. The shop owner got all freaked and said it was only for bacon (which also sometimes uses nitrates. Just mentioning to give others another label to look for. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a great recipe for corning beef, so unlike the mass produced corned beef you find in supermarkets. It had an excellent flavor and texture. But Alton, darling, where in the world did you get the idea that a 5-pound brisket could feed 7 hungry men? I made two and there were no leftovers. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Excelleng recipe. Came out exactly as I had hoped. Difficulty in finding potassium nitrate was solved by obtaining sodium nitrate from the butcher's. Fantastic! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very amazing flavor the aromatics were a perfect blend, the only problem I had was getting my hands on potassium nitrate in Madison Wi. So I purchased the "already corned beef", and used the recipe above along with 2 bottles of beer instead of so much water. I left it in the fridge fully immersed. It turned out AMAZING! Thanks Alton for a great recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I followed Alton's brine recipe exactly for the curing process. I added red food dye to the second. The first time I found the meat an off color purplish pink on the inside and the exterior gray. I did not get the meat as tender as I'd hoped either. This time I altered a couple of things which worked. I was pleased with the outcome. My discovery was adding red food coloring to the brine. I can't tell you the difference it made in appearance. I cut the amount of Salt Peter in half....since I wasn't trying to preserve the meat. I was a little worried about that but the end result was a wonderful color inside and out. It looked just as great after cooking as throughout unlike my first attempt. I was not disappointed. The other change I made was to rather than boil I brazed the meat at about 250 until it reached 180 degrees. I can't tell you how tender the meat was. I added cabbage and potatoes after I was finished cooking. Tasty? What did you think? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Potassium nitrate (saltpeter can also be found at a compounding pharmacy - a special type of pharmacy that creates unique formulations of medications for patient specific needs. The only rub here is that you may need a prescription for it depending on where you live. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Super Easy recipe, if you are considering making it. I have made the brine recipe five times now but I cook it in the oven low and slow as a braise. Concerning the Saltpeter, I did a lot of research online and it seems Pink Curing Salt works just as well and is better for you. I just 1tsp pink curing salt per 5lb and my corn beef turns out nice and pink. Again, Alton has spoiled me and I can't eat regular supermarket corn beef anymore. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Best corned beef you're going to have! Love the flavor the vegetables take on in this dish... Truly a recipe you will be glad you made. I have made it with prepared corned beef and placed in the oven and it just wows the crowd every time! Making it tomorrow and can't wait!!! Giggity!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Absolutely fantastic, despite not having saltpeter (I couldn't find a corned brisket here in Bulgaria, let alone a specialized seasoning/spice... must confess to having to order juniper berries on amazon as well. Corned the beef for 12 days and the spices were just right, not too salty. Served with colcannon (combined Tyler's Ultimate recipe and the one from Paula Deen's show. Leftovers will be great on a sandwich tomorrow! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was super easy and turned out perfectly. I used a locally-grown piece of beef. I was pretty confident I could find all the ingredients in Madison, WI, and I was wrong. So I am very appreciative of the reviewers who suggested creative alternatives (many of which I also could not find. What is this world coming to? In the end, McCormick Pickling Spice and a trip to the sporting goods store three blocks from my house for the curing salt (thank you person who went to Gander Mtn ended the hunt. I followed the directions on the cure packet and will use the rest of the seasoning for something else. The product was from Hi Mountain Seasonings. The biggest challenge with this recipe was not eating all of it in one sitting. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Superb results when you follow the recipe exactly. I couldn't help but notice some misinformation and miscalculations regarding "curing salts" in some other posts. To clarify, the curing salts below ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE (without proper calcuations because of the differences between nitrite and nitrate and the different concentrations within each curing salt. *Potassium Nitrate (a.k.a. Saltpeter = 93.75% potassium, 6.25% nitrate *Sodium Nitrite (a.k.a. Instacure #1, Prague Powder #1, Pink Cure/Salt #1 = 93.75% sodium, 6.25% nitrite *Sodium Nitrate (a.k.a. Instacure #2, Prague Powder #2, Pink Cure/Salt #2 = 14.36% sodium, 6.25% nitrite, 4.0% nitrate *Morton Quick Tender = 99.0% salt + sugar + propylene glycol, 0.5% sodium nitrate, 0.5% sodium nitrite item not reviewed by moderator and published
Living in Texas it is difficult to find true deli corned beef however we have plenty of brisket. I corned my first brisket using Alton's recipe let it soak for 14 days and it was incredible! I served it to several friends from NY NY and they were amazed as well. I purchase another brisket which I'm currently corning and can not wait. However I would like a pastrami recipe since I believe that pastrami is corned the same but smoked rather than boiled. Thank you very much Alton!! Regards; John Saxton item not reviewed by moderator and published
We just had a stew using the last of our supply from the freezer. I am ready to start marinating another batch. Just wonderful and well worth the trouble. item not reviewed by moderator and published
good recipe but its ridiculous to think about seasoning it for 10 days. If you season this in the morning and cook it the next day it is pretty close to the 10 day wait. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Excellent!! used McCormick Pickling Spice Use many of Alton's recipe but this corned beef prompted me to write my first review. I had two corned beef briskets from the local grocery store and was looking for a good way to prepare them when I thought I would try Alton's method. I got discouraged by the 8 juniper berries and saltpeter. Found them mail order but I didn't want to buy a 1lb of berries to get 8. I went back to my local grocery store and found McCormick pickling spice. It has all the ingredients on Alton's list. I added 2-3 tsp to the brine and results are excellent. Again Alton hit another home run! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just finished my brine. Added a touch of Worstechire powder, and used Pink Curing salt instead of saltpeter. Now I wait I guess. Judging from all of the rave reviews, I think I won't be dissapointed. Thanks everyone. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was the best recipe ever! I made it for St Paddy's Day. I could not find saltpeter in time to brine so I used 1 cup Morton's Tenderquick instead of the salt and the saltpeter. bought all my spices from Penzeys Spices for around $20 if you don't live by one go to their website. Excellent, Excellent, Excellent! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Had this on St. Patrick's day! It was SOOO good! Will definitely make again! I followed the recipe exactly (was able to get all of my spices from myspicesage- added bonus of free shipping in the US and free gift with $20 purchase- and got the food grade saltpeter from pennherb, but my meat was no where near done in 2.5 hours. Had to improvise and threw 1/2 in the pressure cooker for 1/2 hour. Was not able to continue boiling it because everyone was here for dinner and all sides were done! Other than that, it was delicious and absolutely worth the effort! Leftovers made GREAT Ruben Sandwiches! YUM!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Amazing recipe! I omitted the juniper berries - next time I may add a shot of gin as another chef suggested. Instead of saltpeter, I added 2cups of celery juice. I cut salt in the final prep in half - from 2tsp to 1tsp. My only regret was that I made a smaller piece of beef since this was the first time. Delicious! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was a nervous wreck making this recipe. It was my first time and I had 12 people coming for a St. Patty's celebration. It was awesome! A little on the salty side for me, but everyone else said I was crazy. Served with cabbage/carrots of course, colcannon, Irish wheaten bread and black and tans. Followed it up with Guinness chocolate cheesecake. I was told it was the best Irish meal ever. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have used this recipe for two years and it is always a success. I bake my corned beef in a slow oven (325 degrees for 4 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the brisket. I did cut back on the salt and sugar because I was cooking it instead of saving it. My 86 year old father-in-law said it was the best corned beef he had ever had. To me that is the best testimonial that you can get. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Making your own corned beef is well worth the effort. I have made this four times now, and it is far superior to supermarket corned beef. The last time I made it, I added home made beef stock in place of half of the water for the cooking. The added flavor was awesome. I cook the beef a day before and refrigerate, then slice it cold which makes for much neater slices. I warm the sliced meat, moistened with the broth, in a foil-covered baking dish for 30 minutes before serving. The remainder of the broth is used to cook the vegetables, then then 2 cups of the broth are slightly thickened with cornstarch slurry and poured over meat and vegetables at service. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Absolutly delicious! I like to eat corned beef year around but only seem to find it during St.Pats day. Bought the berries and saltpeter online. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Yahoo! I also used InstaCure#1 instead of saltpeter. The recipe is excellent. Getting ready for St.Pat's next month and wanted to find a great curing recipe. I live in Belize, so the only corned beef you can find is in a CAN!!! The butcher here cut me a nice brisket. Made a boiled dinner and fed a bunch of Belizians, they absolutely loved it! Thanks Alton. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used Prague Powder #1 instead of saltpeter, and followed the recipe exactly. I brined it for 15 days. Simmered for 3 hours (5 lb. brisket then let it rest for about 30 minutes and then sliced it. Fantastic. Super tender, very flavorful, as good or better than any deli corned beef I've ever had. Amazing! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I did the three week brine. I am now soaking it in cold water to get rid of some of the excess salt. I will probably have to change the water 2-3 times to get the salt content right. It is a great flavor! I would make this again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is absolutely the best corned beef I have ever had. I used Morton's Tender Quick instead of the salt and the saltpeter (so much easier to find at the store. I used all of the spices except juniper berries - couldn't find them. It was hard to wait 10 days but well worth the effort. Now I varied from AB's recipe when it came to cooking. I rinsed the brisket, then rubbed both sides with a total of 1 cup dark brown sugar. Placed in a large roasting pan and poured 2 cans of Guinness around the beef, coming about 3/4 up the side of the meat. Added 4 cloves of smashed garlic, a tsp of mustard seeds and around 8 peppercorns. Sealed the pan tightly with aluminum foil and baked in a low oven 300' for about 5 hours for a 6 lb brisket. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was so good - best corned beef I've ever had. I had a 12# brisket and by the time I trimmed it, it was about 8#. I cut the point end off and brined the two pieces separately so they'd fit in the bags. I was really freaked out by the gray color when I took them out 10 days later, but once cooked and sliced, they were beautifully pink inside. I put them both in a large roaster and braised in the oven for 4 1/2 hours. Just amazing and will make again for St Patty's Day. Don't change a thing and you will be pleased. You can get saltpeter online at Penn Herb. item not reviewed by moderator and published
WOW 3 weeks? just put mine in the brine 2 days ago and still have to wait another 8 days!! will 3 weeks really make it that much better? cause if so i'll let it go for another 2 weeks...what do you guys think? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Three weeks is about right for brine time; you can actually see the brine curing the beef. So much better than the stuff in the store that there is no comparison. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Didn't have the junpier berries or the saltpeter. Also used venison instead of beef and left out the veggies. The flavor was extactly what we expected and we will definately be making this again! Great with boiled cabbage and a bit of apple cider vinegar. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hi Alton,I followed all the steps exactly,however brined for 3 weeks.A friend owns a KOSHER deli in NY and said 3 weeks is the magic #.I`m Jewish and have eaten in some excellent Jewish deli`s this is by far the best I`ve eaten in my life.Thanks so much Mr Wizard.Neil Coral Springs Florida item not reviewed by moderator and published
First time at making corned beef, and what a surprise!! It is easy, but do not skip any spices. The selection is perfect. You can have this with potatoes and cabbage (a New England boiled dinner, or cool it and slice across the grain for Reuben or corned beef sandwiches. First rate! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Left out vegetables and sliced finished product thinly serving it as deli sandwiches on rye bread with mustard. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The recipe was excellent, I followed the recipe as directed, with the exception of brining the corn beef for 7 days versus ten days. However, my suggestion is to omit the cinnamon. The cinnamon was very overpower to the corn beef and you could taste cinnamon more than the actual flavor of the corn beef. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Delicious and I could swear I got it at the Jewish deli......very very good.....however, to buy all the ingredients like juniper berries etc. plan on spending a bit of money !! I got the saltpeter online...just googled it/ item not reviewed by moderator and published
It is very good, but I do not know where to get saltpeter so my meat came out a funky color. item not reviewed by moderator and published
WOW!!! I'll never buy that bag of fatty, flat meat again! Yes, loosing that space in the fridge for 10 days was inconvenient but totally worth it. VERY easy - make the brine, cool it, drop in the meat of choice (I used a bottom round roast and doubled the recipe for the 9 pound roast I had to cut in half to fit in my container.) When brined and cooked for 10 hours on low and slow, this thing was fall apart tender and very tasty! We actually thought the spices were a bit too strong - will cut back on some of the ones that aren't our favorites. Making it this way really brought the spices forward in the meat instead of that flat, generic flavor of the supermarket meat. I could taste the individual spices so I will adjust for our tastes. Keeping in mind the salt and salt peter must be at the proper ratio, of course. My local Coit Farmers Market here in Cleveland, OH has a spice shop with fresh spices - he had the salt peter in stock so no problem there. item not reviewed by moderator and published
You can order salt peter from pennherb on the web. I've made this before and it is FANTASTIC! I'm currently bring a whole brisket which I plan to make pastrami out of half of it. Can't wait! item not reviewed by moderator and published
this is the only recipe i use for corned beef. if you cant find salt peter it is in the spice isle under allum item not reviewed by moderator and published
Can't get salt peter anywhere so I took the advice of others here and got Morton's Tender Quick. I increased the size of the mixture by 50% to accomodate the larger portions of meat that I had. I also used a pre-packaged item called "pickling spices", about 4 oz in size and dumped the whole thing in my mixture. It had all the ingredients called for in Alton's recipe except pepper corns, which I forgot to add. But, no matter, it all came out superbly. I gave a hunk to my daughter and I will be making another batch very soon. I was concerned about the amount of Tender Quick since it's a mixture of other things besides sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, but it worked just fine the way it was. It was a little on the salty side though, so I'll try using a little less salt next time. Sure beats the store bought kind for sure. Great recipe though thanks Alton. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Absolutely the best corned beef I've ever had, hands down. My only regret was that I didn't make two batches at once. I used Morton's Tender Quick for the salt and the saltpeter, available at a great online spice company...everyone loved it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
What a great recipe! What do you serve with this, it's so good? I'm having guests in a couple days, so I cooked up a test piece that has been soaking for 7 days. I used 10 kobe sirloin steaks instead of brisket, and the test piece came out a nice pink with perfect texture. Can't wait to cook the rest, but as for side dishes? Fried okra and mac-n-cheese...and cornbread with maple butter... Please, enjoy this recipe, it's deffinitely "Good eats". item not reviewed by moderator and published
My husband and I have made this three years in a row for St. Patricks day and we plan on continuing the tradition. This is such and great recipe and worth the advance planning. We start looking forward to this weeks worth of meals about the time we recover from our holiday food coma. item not reviewed by moderator and published
i followed it to a tee but it salty. i'm soakin it now will that take some salt item not reviewed by moderator and published
Hey Dennis, Did you accidently included the meat in the quick boil to dissolve the salt and spices....that would make it dry and tough. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is absolutely the best corn beef recipe! I recently used it on a 5 lb flank beef brisket and the result was divine. I was not able to get Salt Peter in the local stores, so I used Morton's Tender Quick (1% nitrates &amp; Nitrites); the color was still prefect. Here?s to many now corn beef meals. Incidentally, while I respect those who have reservations about using Salt Peter in this recipe, a word of caution ,they may also which to avoid processed meats and fish of any kind; as there is a 99% chance that they contain nitrates/nitrites ? the pink coloration is a dead giveaway. Thanks Alton! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have already done this recipe almost a dozen times. The first few I had to omit the saltpeter as it is impossible to find, but then I did a search on Amazon. It is possible to use either kind - potassium nitrate OR sodium nitrate, they both do the same thing. One thing to add: if anyone likes to smoke meat, if you take this corned beef after it has finished corning &amp; smoke for 4-6 hours until the internal temperature is about 160 (use hardwood like hickory) you end up with home made pastrami. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Went to NYC a couple of weeks ago and had a corned beef sandwich at Junior's. On the drive back to Boston we stopped at Rein's Deli and had a corned beef sandwich. Got home and started brining a brisket. Alton's recipe for corned beef was better tasting (not by too much) than either of those two great places for corned beef. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It is 2 tablespoons of salt peter. It is in last minute or so of this video Alton also explains the lack of evidence for libido effects and addresses the other concerns expressed in the comments. He even mentions my heretofore favorite use of potassium nitrate, smoke bombs, but that's a different episode. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I follow the recipe to the letter and my corn beef turn out dry and tough. What did I do wrong? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Followed the recipe exact, and simply stated the corned beef has the best flavor compared to anything I have ever eaten. I recently went back to a deli that has been my favorite corned beef for over 10 years. It had been some time since my last visit, and I was floored when I tasted the stuff they called corned beef. It just did not compare. Now Alton has spoiled my taste buds, and will never be able to eat deli corned beef without being disappointed. Thanks Alton. What would I do without you! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Since there was some concern over the amount of salt peter in this recipe I did the math myself. Note that you should divide the grams of salt peter by its density (2.109 g/cm^3) to get ml and convert to tsp (or tbsp). The warning was essentially correct in that it came out with about 2.4 TEASPOONS. However, I couldn't find the original source on this (and I looked in quite a few places), but found a reference stating "The use level of sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate (saltpeter) is 3 1/2 oz. per 100 pounds meat for dry cure or 7 pounds nitrate per 100 gallons pickle (liquid cure) at 10percent pump level." As I understand it, "10 percent pump level" is a measure of the substance within the finished cured meat by means of pump injection of the brine. I couldn't find a metric on mere immersion in the brine, and I imagine 2 tbsp is probably fine (unless it's injected into the meat). That said, why risk it? If 2 teaspoons makes the meat taste good and avoids health hazards, probably best to err on the side of caution. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I pulled a roast that was not labeled out of the freezer with full intentions to make Alton's beef jerky recipe (I make a batch of his jerky at least once a month). When the roast thawed and I removed it from the butcher paper it contained too much fat for jerky. Having just seen the corned beef show I decided to make it instead. So with an un-named roast and no salt petre, I corned the beef. At the end it was brown/gray due to no salt petre (I don't mind the color, I love not having weird ingredients in it), and it tasted fantastic. I will definitely make this again, and I will not be getting any salt petre item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a very good recipe (note the post below on the amount of salt petre though). But a couple of points - when you are doing things like curing meats, much like when baking, there are some things you can not substitute and/or modify much without not getting the bad results. 1. Salt Petre is not Kosher Salt (or a blend) - if you find something with potassium and up the level to get you there, you will have a salty product 2. The curing agent is what gets you the pink look. Do without it if the nitrite thing worries you but your end product will be gray vs pink. 3. Salt Petre will *not* make you sterile or cause males to be "hormonally non-reactive" - it is a myth. I know, it has been fed to Navy men and prisoners because of the myth. It is still a myth. Relax. 4. Sensitivity - some people are sensitive to some agents (milk, MSG, salt,etc). If you have a sensitivity to a particular chemical, you probably know this already. If not and you worry, see a doctor about a test. Most of us are ok with these things. 5. There are USDA recommended amounts (and this was referenced below). Please use them. In this case, they are there for a reason. And yes, if you eat it like a lab rat would (many pounds per day), we all expect something bad will happen (you can also die from to much water intake- it is called drowning). Follow the recommendations and do *research first* before you go off the garden path and start mixing your own chemical bath. item not reviewed by moderator and published
We have eraised our own beef for the past 8 years. I always ask the butcher to give me a whole brisket in the hopes of finding a good CORNING recipe for it. I gave up after 6 years. Tuned in to GOOD EATS in March and watched your program on corning a brisket. Followed the directions (as well as I follow directions, that is ... a bit more peppercorns, both black and white, Morton's Tender Quick instead of salt peter, added some fresh sage) ... tried it out on a whole brisket that has been in the freezer for TWO YEARS!! (UGH!, I know, bits were freezer burnt, but if I was going to screw up another brisket, might as well do it on a brisket that was messed up anyway!) Brined it for 10 days, rinsed and put in freezer until yesterday. I put the frozen corned brisket in the oven at 300*F with about 1" of water in a covered cast iron roaster and cooked it for 4-5 hours. NOM-NOM! Every bit of it was EXCELLENT! Alton, you're such a Geek. Thank you for your program from the rest of us geeks! Cyndi item not reviewed by moderator and published
I followed the recipe to the letter, and it was fantastic. I have never had better. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I need to correct an error in my previous comment ? the important message is the same but some details are wrong. The maximum amount of saltpeter (potassium nitrate) permitted in immersion curing brines is 7 lbs per 100 gallons of brine. That translates to about 8000 ppm by weight (not sure how I came up with the 700 ppm). For about 3 qts of brine, as this recipe produces, that amounts to 0.84 oz, (23 grams), which in my kitchen amounts to 3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of granular saltpeter - that?s the MAXIMUM amount that USDA food processing regulations would allow in the US. Stick with 2 teaspoons. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am in the process of starting the brine and I rather strongly suspect there is an important typo. The recipe as shown calls for "2 tablespoons saltpeter ". Based upon my experience with meat curing that is a HUGE (and potentially dangerous) amount. I have no problem with saltpeter (potassium nitrate) but I do with the amount called for in this recipe. 1- 2 teaspoons should be more than enough (1 teaspoon should suffice). The FDA allowance for brine curing is 700 ppm. Based upon my estimate of the brine amount of 6.75 lbs, 700 ppm would be about 2.1 grams of saltpeter. Be careful! This is NOT something you want to use in excess! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just finished devouring the first serving of the point cut brisket I made. Delicious. I followed the recipe to the letter, with the exception of the cinnamon which I left out from the brine because I'm allergic to it. Instead of a bag I used a plastic container filled to the top (no air left inside) which was parked on the lowest shelf in the fridge for 10 days. Cooked for 3h last night, had it for breakfast this morning. A note on saltpeter. Use it, and use the real stuff not various curing mixes. The mixes may not have saltpeter at all - some have sodium nitrite, which is a different chemical; still used in preserving, just with a different scope. Also the amount of saltpeter they have, if any, is tiny (about 6% max - the rest is salt). You can find saltpeter on ebay if none is available locally. Anyway, the brisket came out a deep red, very nice. The same color as what I had rated the best corned beef I had had so far in a deli in Williamsburg, Brooklyn a few years ago (big affluence in the local Jewish community). This however is better. Thanks Alton for this excellent recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used a whole packer brisket (17lbs) doubled the recipe and it came out terrific!! I cut it in half after 6 days and cooked the first half, it was very good but the second half after 10 days was really that much better. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've used other recipes to make corned beef but none are as good tasting or as easy as this one. Thank you Alton! Also thank you Kidron, Ohio apparently the only place in the United States where they still sell saltpetre. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was my first attempt at homemade corned beef. I used Prague Powder #1 Pink Curing Salt instead of the saltpetre. The beef turned out very good, just quite a but spicier (sweeter from the allspice, clove, cinnamon...) than I expected. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used praque powder #1, pickling spices and instead of boiling in water i used Guiness Stout. It turned out marvelous. 6lbs lasted 4 days between my wife and I. I will definitely do this again very soon except i'm doing a full brisket. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Used this on a 6lb flat brisket, except I used 3 TBS Morton's Tender Qucik in place of the saltpeter. After 12 days I cut the brisket in half, simmered half per the recipe and the other half I soaked in warm water and then grilled at 250 deg for two and a half hours. Both halves came out great, with the grilled half having a denser, more intense flavor. I have a 13 lb full brisket brining now. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is awesome when used on wild goose or duck breast. Add a pastrami rub and smoke it for great pastrami as well. item not reviewed by moderator and published
WOW! This was the best corned beef I've had. Easy to make and flavorful. I had a hard time finding salt peter, but my local Gander Mountain sporting goods store had a cure with sodium nitrite, which worked perfectly. Beautiful pink meat. You will love this recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
That's what my husband said when he ate it. I thought it was easy to make. I did have a little problem though. Two days before it was supposed to come out of the brine I had a family emergency and had to leave town. I couldn't find anyone that was willing to finish this for me. So what to do....I figured that if the raw ones in the grocery store have been frozen than I could do that too. I emptied most of the brine out of the bag, and sealed it. I put that bag into another freezer bag and tossed it into the deep freeze. Three weeks later I was back in town and ready to cook it. I thawed it and simmered it for six hours (it was 1/2 of a whole brisket on the big side) then I added home grown cabbage, potatos, and carrots in the last hour. We went to happy hour and when we got home it was perfect. I will definately make this again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
use Morton's TenderQuick instead of the saltpeter and salt. TenderQuick is a mix of salt and potassium nitrate, so it fits the bill perfectly. you cannot make this recipe successfully without a curing ingredient! also, I've used top round and brisket with success in this recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have not tried this recipe yet, but fully intend to soon. I want to try it on a Sirloin Tip Roast so that I have slices big enought to to make a really good sandwich. We love Reubens here. I looked in the Deli Dept of our local supermarket and it was $10.99 per pound. That is outrageous!!!! One question tho= Wasn't Saltpetre used on prisioners in the jail to reduce the libido? Do I really want to use that? Then have to resort to other medicines later on? I quess the Pickling Spice is what I will use. I'm sure the Pharmacy would have a good laugh over it all.....maggie item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very easy worth the effort! I cooked mine in the crock pot and my husbands exact words were "That thing was freaking delicious!" Used mcormick pickiling spices and some penzey's ..only brined it 7 days. Used instacure #1 from My hubby goes to Buffalo,NY once a month for business so he just picked it up, they only charged him 5 bucks. If you've never made this before please try it! You Will Love It! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have used other recipes for corned beef but I must say this one produced one of the most tender ones and the flavor was excellent also. I could not get any saltpeter (tried all our laughed at and lots of strange looks) but not having any didn't hurt it at all, just not the nice red color. I wanted to try the Corned Beef and Cabbage but we didn't have any leftovers! AB you're the best! item not reviewed by moderator and published
We've had corned beef from local haunts to Pittsburgh's Strip District to Cleveland's west side to Buffalo all the way to the Carnegie Deli in NYC. I have made it from several recipes I found to my own to my late mother-in-laws (hers was fabulous), But this is the best we have ever had (hopeful she doesn't have the internet in heaven to read this!). I varied the cooking by a little since I wasn't going to be home to babysit a pot. After rinsing, I placed the brisket into a CorningWare baking dish, added the veggies and covered with water. I then put the baking dish into my electric roaster (with the lid on both the baking dish and the roaster) at 300 degrees and cooked it for 8 hours, removed it from the baking dish, drained it, dried it off and let it rest for half an hour before attacking. The leftovers were refrigerated. The next day I removed the fat cap and ran it on the slicer for reubens. OH MY! And yes - it was pink inside. Notes: - Drain and save the onions from the cooking liquid. They were great on ham and pastrami sandwiches with spicy mustard. - The pharmacist at a little local pharmacy ordered the saltpetre for me. 8 oz. was less than $5. - On the spice issue - purchase the big containers for $6 instead of the baby ones for $4. Even my local grocers sell the larger 16 oz. bulk containers for just a couple of bucks more than the name brand 1 oz. size and our town is only 14,000 people in size. Just place the extra in zip bags in the freezer or vacuum seal them - you will save money, I promise. - Bought my meat from a local butcher. I got the size I asked for, it was fresh and IT WAS CHEAPER THAN THE WALMART PRICE! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just finished off the leftovers from my third corned beef using this recipe. It is simply delicious. Not the least bit salty. The texture is silky and, yes, the color is PINK. I just read the other reviews and agree that Saltpetre (Potassium Nitrate) is a bit odd. On the jar it says "for technical use only" which got a few laughs from the guests I served the meal to. I took the advice of previous reviewers and found Sodium Nitrate or "InstaCure #1" on I'll try that next. I also found 2 Gal. Zip Locks at Smart &amp; Final. A perfect vehicle for brining. And, my Costco brisket was even better than Whole Foods at a fraction of the price. YUMMY! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'll say up front I have not yet made this recipe. I got a funny tickle in my brain while watching show and found out why this evening while re-reading one of my recipe books. According to the book "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing" by Rytek Kutas (the bible for most home sausage makers) the author states that saltpetre is potassium nitrate. The book states that in 1975 the use of potassium nitrate was greatly restricted by the FDA and is no longer allowed in smoked or cooked meat or sausage. It can be used sparingly in dry cured meats such as salami. Corned beef falls into the cooked meats category. What should be used, again according to the book, is soidum nitrite. Evan, in the post below, used the right stuff and even bought it from the the author's website (he has passed away but his family still runs the business.) In short, nitrites are used for meats that will be smoked and/or cooked and nitrates are used for meats that are dry cured. I'm not trying to tell Alton his business. He knows far more about cooking than I can ever hope to know and every one of his recipes I've tried have been fantastic. I'm also not a food nazi trying to tell you that nitrites and nitrates are bad for you. I love nothing more than great sausage, BBQ and anything else that's "bad" for me. I hope I haven't offended anyone. There has been a lot of suspect information put out over meat curing and I just wanted to get this information out there. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is PERFECT! I too was concerned that the beef would somehow turn out gray in color, but to my total satisfaction I got that pink color that I had hoped for. I had a little trouble finding saltpetre but was able to get sodium nitrate online at You can get the pickling spice there too. The saltpetre is sold as "InstaCure No.1". Made homemade rye bread this morning then put the brined brisket in a pot to cook. It'll be corned beef sandwiches and knishes for dinner tonight!! (What else does a Jewish family from NY eat on St. Patrick's Day?) Will try to make pastrami using the same recipe. Once the weather warms up a bit, I'll smoke the brined meat instead of boiling it. I hope it's just as good!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a good recipe, but it does require a longer cooking time. I'm surprised to read how many reviewers are having trouble finding salt peter. My people have used Morton "Tender Quick" for more years than I would like to admit. It is available in most markets in the canning dept, you know, with the Ball jars and lids, pectin and so forth. It comes in a 2# bag and has the just right mix of salt and salt peter. The sub-title of this product is "Home Meat Cure". It isn't all that expensive ether. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was checking out the ingredients to make sure I had everything to do it again this year, and while reading reviews, could not believe I hadn't reviewed it already! This will be my 3rd year brining my own and I'll never buy the cryovac w/ picking spice ones again. Invest the time, shop for the saltpeter on line, don't worry if it looks grey on the outside - it is pink as it should be on the inside. The taste is so much more natural than the pre-packaged ones, the texture feels real while still ultra-tender - all at less than 1/3 the cost - eventually - granted, buying all the spices up front if you don't have them will set you back, but whole berry spices like this will keep - FOREVER. Do it, follow the timeline, then cook it anyway you normally love your corned beef and cabbage. AB's way's awesome, but do it your way so you have something to compare it to after all your brining prep! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was hoping for some kind of suggestion. I made the recipe exactly as written. Everything was measured exactly - even the saltpetre, and brining for 10 full days. However, the beef looks exceptionally gray and unappetizing - not the beautiful pink that I associate with corned beef. Any suggestions? It's not cold yet, so I haven't cut and tasted it, so I don't know how it is. But I was really disappointed to see the color. I kept thinking it would pink up, but it hasn't and looks awful. I guess I'll see how it tastes, but was hoping for suggestions for the next time I make it regarding the color. TIA! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Bob from Pittsburgh, PA - You can order this online at for $10.99 fro an 8 oz. package. item not reviewed by moderator and published
If it was tough, you need to cook it longer. It softens as it continues to cook. <br /> item not reviewed by moderator and published
Sandra, leave out the saltpeter. I never use it and I get rave reviews and family requests for this corned beef when people come to visit. And, when you tell people your corned beef is brown instead of pink because you leave out the nitrates/nitrites they are even more impressed. item not reviewed by moderator and published
You should check the nitrite level of your saliva?  You must have constant migraines. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I did it for 8 days with good results. item not reviewed by moderator and published
If I were to make this with lamb, I would first use shoulders instead of leg, as shoulder is lot less gamey. I would also double up on Cinnamon, and add 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, crushed. That should eliminate some of the lamb smell and help disguise the cut to be more beefy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Wha??? item not reviewed by moderator and published
What in God's name are you talking about?? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ha item not reviewed by moderator and published
@ Kevin French + jimmyfizz88- she's talking about the saltpeter I imagine. Won't get the pretty pink colour by removing it from the ingredient list but it'll still taste yummy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
What grain of pink salt did you use? Looks like fine grain may be the best choice but it also comes in extra fine grain. I've also read you should use 1 teaspoon fine grain per 5 pounds of beef. Alton's recipe calls for 2 tablespoons. Did you use the full 2 tablespoons I want to make sure I don't oversalt the beef. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Yep. Saltpeter will keep the nice pink color. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I read somewhere that Saltpeter was not good for you….can you tell me what it is? item not reviewed by moderator and published
What does Insata Cure #1 in it? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Sodium Nitrite, used for the same reasons as saltpeter, but a bit more reliable. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Are nitrates bad for you? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Did you make 2 5lb cuts in the same pot? I'm trying to double it for a family dinner and don't know the best way to do so. If so, did it take longer to cook? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Braising vs boiling had more to do with the color difference, than adding food coloring and dropping the saltpeter amount. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Thanks for the info, I was wondering how people were successfully making the substitutions since the other products were not saltpeter. I would like to use Prague powder, but not sure how the difference of potassium vs sodium works, and how I need to make adjustments. item not reviewed by moderator and published
If you do not make it, do not rate it. This is the wrong section. If you want to blog, go somewhere else.<br /> item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

St. Patrick's Day