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Homemade Corned Beef

March 27, 2024 • 0 comments

Homemade Corned Beef
All-natural corned beef, without the synthetic nitrates. This recipe will teach you all the basics you need to know, from making your own pickling spice to brining the meat, for a delicious centerpiece to your meal.
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 8


Don't let the long ingredient list (or prep time) deter you! This corned beef is quite simple.

You'll need two days to prep the brine. On the first day, you'll make the pickling spice, make brine, and chill it for several hours or overnight.

Then, you'll add the beef to the brine and keep it for five days before cooking.

The result is a delicious corned beef (without sodium nitrate!) that you'll love.

This recipe comes from From Scratch by Michael Ruhlman - hands down our favorite cookbook for learning how to cook farm-fresh meat and learn new skills in the kitchen.


Pickling Spice: 

  • 3 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp. allspice berries
  • 2 tbsp. whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. ground mace (substitute: nutmeg)
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, cracked and broken into pieces
  • 4 bay leaves, crumbled

For the brine: 

  • 2 quarts water
  • 5 tbsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. pickling spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. celery powder (substitute: more salt)
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 celery rib, roughly chopped

For the beef:

  • 1 3-4 lb. beef roast
  • 2 quarts water
  • 5 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. pickling spice
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 celery rib, roughly chopped


  1. To make the pickling spice: toast the peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, allspice berries, and cloves in a dry pan over high heat for a minute, just until they start to smell fragrant. Turn off heat and crack them using another pan, knife, or bottom of a mason jar. Transfer to a small jar and add the red pepper flakes, mace/nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and bay leaves; mix well. Store in the refrigerator and use as needed.
  2. To make the brine: Combine the brine ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
  3. To brine the beef: Place the beef in the brine in a large bowl and weigh it down with a plate to keep submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days.
  4. To cook the beef: Remove from brine. Put the beef in a heavy-bottomed pot (like a dutch oven) and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then, either reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender; or cook in a 275 F oven until the beef is tender, about 3 hours. Add water as needed to keep the beef covered. 
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