Adventures in Home Charcuterie: Corned Beef, Part 2- Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Well, let’s get right to it. Corned beef is worth doing at home. It is tender and tasty, and the pink color is fun as well. The salt and spices are very smooth and integrated with the brisket. Much better than any store-bought corned beef I’ve had. Making something like this at home sort of feels like alchemy, the creation of something special from average ingredients. Charcuterie, I am finding, is tasty alchemy at home.

As for the corned beef, we served it as traditional corned beef and cabbage. We had some long-time friends and their kids over for dinner and they were (relatively) willing test subjects. I usually hate testing new dishes on guests, preferring to subject family to such experiments….;-). In any event, we started with our treats from the farmers market, had a beer, ate the corned beef and cabbage and had the cake from Miette for dessert. The corned beef was a big success. Even the kids liked it. And the broth was very flavorful, sort of a meal unto itself. And we are making Reuben Sandwiches right now! (teaser image below)

Recipe soon...and you want this, you really do...

To be fair, the kids really liked the corned beef, but LOVED the cake. It was double chocolate with a thick layer of frosting. Sometimes, I just can’t compete.

The recipe we used for the corned beef and cabbage is a combination of Michael Ruhlman’s recipe for the corned beef and pickling spice and Alton Brown’s recipe for the actual dish. A key adaptation is that we do not add any salt to the cooking liquid at the beginning of cooking the corned beef and cabbage. Many recipes suggest this early seasoning, but the beef is salty by itself from the brine, so we wait and taste before adding any additional salt to the cooking liquid. We are glad we waited to taste for seasoning, as there was NO need for additional salt. But you should check seasoning during cooking and adjust to your taste.

One other note on making your pickling spice (if you make it yourself). Use your judgment on specific flavors. I don’t necessarily suggest adding anything to the recipe below, but you can certainly subtract, based on your tastes. Don’t like cloves, allspice? Take some out. The pickling spice mix is art, not science.

Corned Beef:

(Makes 5 pounds of corned beef)

Notes Before You Start:

–       Corned beef is relatively easy to make but requires time and fridge space. Keep the fridge space in mind.

–       You can use commercial pickling spice or make your own per the recipe below.

What You Get: High quality corned beef for corned beef and cabbage, reuben sandwiches and hash. If you have guests for a few days or over a weekend, corned beef would be a good dish you can use many times, but in vastly different applications.

What you need: Pink curing salt (see here). A large plastic container for brining, the container needs to fit a 5 pound brisket. Fridge space.

How Long? Total prep time of 30 minutes. 5 days to cure in brine. 3 hours of cooking. Corned beef takes some planning but requires limited active time.



–       1 gallon / 4 liters of water

–       2 cups / 450 grams of kosher salt

–       1 oz. / 25 grams of pink curing salt ( 5 teaspoons)

–       3 cloves of garlic, minced

–       2 tablespoons / 20 grams pickling spice (see below for recipe or store-bought)


–       One 5 lb. beef brisket (with fat on if possible). First-cut brisket is preferred.

–       2 tablespoons / 20 grams pickling spice (see below for recipe or store-bought)



  1. In a large pot, over medium heat, combine water, kosher salt, pink curing salt, garlic and pickling spice. Bring to a simmer and stir until all salts dissolve. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. Place brine in large plastic container and refrigerate until cold.
  3. Once the brine is cold, add the brisket and weigh it down with plates so it is fully submerged. Keep in refrigerator for 5 days.


  1. Remove corned beef from brine. Discard brine (it cannot be reused). Rinse meat thoroughly. (see below for Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe)
  2. Place meat in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Add 2 tablespoons of pickling spice.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until corned beef is fork-tender.
  4. When the corned beef is tender remove from the cooking liquid and serve warn or at room temperature. Reserve the cooking liquid, if you like. The corned beef, wrapped or in an airtight container will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

Corned Beef and Cabbage:

(Serves 8-12 with leftovers)


–       5 lbs. of corned beef, brined but not cooked. See recipe above and start from #4.

–       2 tablespoons pickling spice

–       1/2 pound diced carrots, approximately 4 small

–       1/2 pound diced onions, approximately 2 small

–       1 pound small potatoes red potatoes, cut in half

–       ¼ pound diced celery, approximately 2 stalks

–       1 small head cabbage, sliced into ½ inch wedges

–       Salt and pepper (if needed, for seasoning)

–       1 cup Italian Parsley


  1. Place corned beef in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add enough water to cover meat by 1 inch. Add 2 tablespoons of pickling spice.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for 2 ½  hours. Add water, as needed, to keep meat covered.
  3. Add carrots, onion, celery and potatoes to pot. Stir.
  4. After 15 minutes, add cabbage. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until tender. Taste broth and season if necessary.
  5. Remove corned beef from broth, sliced the desired amount and serve in bowls with broth and vegetables. Garnish with parsley. Accompany with mustard or prepared horseradish, if you like.

Our Pickling Spice

Pickling Spice:

(makes about 1 cup of spice)


–       2 tablespoons / 20 grams of black peppercorns

–       2 tablespoons / 20 grams mustard seeds

–       2 tablespoons / 20 grams coriander seeds

–       2 tablespoons / 12 grams het red pepper flakes

–       1 tablespoons / 8 grams allspice berries

–       1 tablespoon / 8 grams ground mace

–       2 small cinnamon (cassia) sicks, smashed or crumbled

–       12 bay leaves, crumbled

–       1 tablespoon / 3 grams whole cloves

–       1 tablespoon / 8 grams ground ginger


  1. Toast the peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small dry pan or skillet over medium-low heat. If you hear popping, its done. Remove spices from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Crack peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds using a heavy pan or in a spice grinder.
  3. Combined cracked spices with all other ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

5 thoughts on “Adventures in Home Charcuterie: Corned Beef, Part 2- Corned Beef and Cabbage

  1. Pingback: Adventures in Home Charcuterie: Corned Beef, Part 3- The Reuben Sandwich « Putney Farm

  2. There is one final step to making excellent corned beef that I’d encourage you to try. Make a simple glaze of brown sugar and Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard. Then bake for 15-20 minutes with the fat side down. Adds an amazing amount of flavor!

  3. Pingback: Crockpot Corned Beef and Cabbage RecipeOnline Crockpot Recipes

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