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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

brining a brisket

This photo was taken at Mick's Pub in Willoughby where a corned beef dinner is as easy as it can be. There are, however, several ways to approach corned beef and cabbage at home.
It takes 8 days to brine a beef brisket to make a corned beef, so I was amazed to receive several emails this morning asking for the recipe. I made that offer in the middle of a Wednesday Food story in which I shared my own personal recipe for corned beef and cabbage. That dish takes 3 hours to cook with an already prepared corned beef brisket from the supermarket.
Because of the interest shown, I am repeating the brining process here. If you decide to do it, let me know.


6 cups water
2 cups lager beer
1-1/2 cups kosher salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Insta Cure No.1 (Optional - see note)
1/4 cup pickling spice
1 6-to-8 pound flat cut beef brisket, trimmed (some fat should remain)
Pour water and beer into large deep roasting pan. Add coarse salt and stir until dissolved. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. If desired, stir optional in Insta Cure No. 1. Mix in pickling spices. Pierce brisket all over with tip of small sharp knife. Submerge brisket in liquid, then top with a heavy platter to weigh it down. Cover and refrigerate for four days.
Remove brisket from brine. Stir liquid to blend. Return brisket to brine and top with heavy platter. Cover and refrigerate four more days.
Remove brisket from brine. Rinse with cold, running water.
Can be made four days ahead. Wrap corned beef in plastic. Cover with foil and refrigerate. Simmer 3 hours following instructions.

Note: The Insta Cure No. 1 is available at
It’s a mixture of sodium nitrate and salt that’s used in smoked sausages to prevent botulism. Its only purpose in this corned beef brine is to prevent the meat from turning gray.


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