Alton Brown's Corned Beef Recipe | Food Network

Corned beef is the star of your classic, traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast, and Alton Brown does it best.

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Corned Beef
Level: Easy
Total: 10 days 3 hr 20 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 10 days
Cook: 3 hr
Yield: 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


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.

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38 Replies to “Alton Brown's Corned Beef Recipe | Food Network”

  1. I do it almost the same way but I add vinegar to my brine and instead of simmering in water I braise it in beef stock and red wine, also forget the saltpeter you don't need it

  2. Ok, I'm pissed. Seeing this in such high quality confirms Food Network has these shows in better-than-DVD quality, yet in physical format this show never got a proper, full, season-by-season DVD release. Release these either on Blu-ray or non-DRM digital files. I'd pay serious money for it.

  3. I wonder where you get things like juniper berries and allspice berries because I've never once seen those in the spice section. Maybe Whole Foods has them in those little tiny boxes?

  4. Now that St. Patrick's Day is over with, what are you going to do with all that broth? I say broth because I would never have any of that delicious corned beef left over. I did have about 3 quarts of broth left over. So, I put a large zip lock bag in a quart size container and let it mostly freeze, then, I took the bag out and left it in the freezer. The next time I go food shopping, I will get 2 bags of green split peas and a canned ham. I could get yellow split peas but I find the taste milder and I prefer the green. I could use other types of ham but I find a canned ham sufficient. I forgot to get them the last trip. I don't want to add any other flavors. No vegetables in my split pea soup, except the peas, of course. That's it. Rinse the peas and go through them for any shriveled peas or any tiny rocks. You probably won't have any but I like to go through my peas, anyway. Bring the peas to a boil, then turn the heat down real low and let simmer for a few hours. Or, once the peas as all turned to mush. If you have any hard peas, let them simmer longer. Then, put your cut up ham in the soup, let simmer for about another hour, and you are done! Add enough salt to taste (meaning add enough salt until it tastes salty enough for you, or, you could add salt to your own personal serving and leave the salt out of the pot). And, that's it. Enjoy one of the best soups you will ever have. You can do the same thing if you have a New England boiled dinner. But, once a year is enough for me.

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