Liven up this classic Irish boiled dinner by curing the beef yourself. Our recipe takes less time than most (3 days instead of weeks), and you can tailor the seasoning to your own taste. You’ll likely have leftovers—use them up in a Corned Beef–Potato Rösti or our larger-than-life Reuben Sandwich.
What to buy: We use a whole boneless beef brisket for this recipe; you may need to special-order one from your butcher.
Game plan: If you want to make this for St. Patrick’s Day, plan ahead—you will need to let the beef brine for at least 3 days before you cook it. If you want the pickled flavor to be more prominent, you can brine the beef for up to 1 week. The color will be more gray than store-bought corned beef, which is often full of nitrates and curing salt, helping keep it pink.
This recipe was featured as part of our Make Your Own Corned Beef project.
- 1Combine the water, salt, sugar, and pickling spice in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- 2Poke several holes on all sides of the brisket with a knife or metal skewer and place in a 2-1/2-gallon resealable plastic bag. Pour the brine over the meat (making sure the meat is completely submerged), press out excess air, seal the bag, and place in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Refrigerate for 3 days or up to 1 week.
For the corned beef, cabbage, and sauce:
- 1Remove the beef from brine and brush off any spices that have stuck to the meat. Place in a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Skim any foam that floats to the top, cover, and simmer until meat is fork tender, about 2 to 3 hours.
- 2Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, horseradish, mustard, and lemon juice in a medium nonreactive bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- 3Once the beef is fork tender, add the cabbage to the pot, cover, and cook until cabbage is easily pierced with a knife, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- 4Remove the beef to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Trim fat as desired and thinly slice against the grain. Serve with vegetables and horseradish sauce.