Curing Corned Beef


1 hr


  • 5-6 lbs. ‏Beef Brisket Flat
  • 1 gallon ‏Distilled Water
  • 1 cup ‏Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp ‏Prague Powder #1*
  • 1 cup ‏Brown Sugar
  • 5 tbls ‏Pickling Spices
  • 4 ‏Garlic Cloves, crushed

This is the first step of making corned beef or pastrami. You can buy your own already corned beef ready to cook or use this recipe to make your own. This is much better than store bought.

Note: If you are using a larger brisket (over 7 lbs.), you might want to cut it into 4-6 lb. pieces and brine separately. Thick pieces will take too long to cure all the way through and will become too salty.

* What is Prague Powder #1? – This is the standard for quick curing meats. It is approximately 94% plain old sodium chloride with approximately 6% sodium nitrite with some anticaking agents and a touch of red dye that makes it pink so you won’t mistake it for table salt or sugar. I found mine at Planters Seed Co. in the River Market.


  1. Find a container large enough to hold 1 gallon of brine and the meat.
  2. Mix all the cure ingredients into the distilled water and stir until dissolved.
  3. Trim the brisket – If using for corned beef, remove as much fat as possible. If using for pastrami, leave about an 1/8″ layer on one side.
  4. Add the meat to the curing solution. If it floats, cover with a plate or bowl until it is submerged.
  5. Refrigerate for 7-10 day depending on the size of the brisket. Flip it once a day to stir up the brine.
  6. More than 10 days may be too much as the meat can get too salty.

Now that the brisket is corned, you can make Corned Beef or Pastrami.

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