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Homemade Corned Beef

It takes some time but the flavor payoff is worth it
Homemade Corned Beef
Chicago Tribune

By doing a little planning and allowing enough time, you can enjoy homemade corned beef this St. Patrick's Day. This recipe calls for TCM, which is also called "pink salt." According to chef James P. DeWan, it's a "mixture of sodium nitrite and salt called 'tinted curing mixture' (TCM) — aka 'pink salt' or 'curing salt,'" he writes. "TCM is available online or in restaurant supply stores under names like Prague Powder, Insta-Cure or Morton's Curing Salt. It prevents the growth of the bacteria that cause botulism. It also provides flavor and gives corned beef its distinctive red color rather than have it turn a dismal gray."

This recipe is by James P. DeWan, chef and culinary instructor at Chicago's Kendall College, and is an adaptation of a recipe by his Kendall colleague, chef Pierre Checchi. This recipe was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.


Once the meat is brined, follow your favorite corned beef recipe for cooking.

Dextrose, aka glucose, is a simple sugar commonly available in health-food stores and brewing supply companies. You may also use granulated sugar.

Look for 2-gallon zip-close plastic bags, or use a large, nonreactive container.

Total time includes 4 days for curing and 3 hours chill time.


  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 gallon water
  • 11 Ounces kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 ounces dextrose (see notes)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon pickling spice
  • 3/4 Tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 ounces TCM (pink salt)
  • 1 piece (5 pound) brisket, fat trimmed to 1/4-inch, cut in half


Step 1: Puree 4 garlic cloves and 1 cup water in a blender. In a large pot, add garlic puree, the remaining water, 11 ounces kosher salt, 3 1/2 ounces dextrose, 1/2 tablespoon pickling spice and 3/4 tablespoon whole black peppercorns. Heat to a boil; remove from heat. Stir to dissolve the salt and dextrose.

Step 2: Cool to room temperature; then cool in the refrigerator. Stir 1 1/2 ounces TCM (pink salt) into the cold brine to dissolve.

Step 3: Place 1 (5 pound) piece of brisket in a sealable plastic bag (a bag large enough to hold the meat and all of the brine). Add the brine to the bag, making sure the brisket is completely submerged.

Step 4: Place the bag inside a large bowl; refrigerate for 4 or 5 days. Check periodically to make sure the meat is submerged. Flip in the brine as needed to ensure complete coverage.

Step 5: When beef is ready, remove from the brine, discarding brine. Rinse, pat dry and cook in simmering water following your favorite corned beef recipe.