A technique for doing a quick brine overnight for your corned beef dinner.
Learn some shortcuts to making a delicious brisket without having to cure it for days. Perfect for when you have run out of time!
Our brine ingredients don't include added nitrates or nitrites.
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This week the supermarkets are going to be full of those already pre-packaged corned beef, ready to just throw in the pot.
Most will be tempted to go that route. But those more adventurous people will brine their own corned beef.
Doing it yourself will bring a better flavor and give you the ability to control your seasonings (like salt).
Most recipes call for you to brine your corned beef for 7-10 days. Imagine that you have totally forgotten and now its the day before. You might think that going the pre-packaged way is your only option now.
I am here to tell you different. There is a way to quickly brine corned beef, giving it great flavor in 24 hours, if you follow our two main tips - make a dry brine and tenderize your meat.
? Dry Brine Method
For Thanksgiving I use Alton Brown's dry brined turkey a try and I was amazed with the results. I decided to take that concept and test it out on corned beef.
I went to the store and got myself about 3 pounds worth of brisket. The difference between the turkey and the brisket is that the brisket isn't as thick and doesn't have an outer skin. This would enable a shorter brine time.
Brisket is a cut of meat that easily takes a brine better than other cuts.
Before I applied my dry brine, I pulled out a blade meat tenderizer. This is a meat tenderizer (not one of those hammer things) that has a series of needles.
You push down on it on top of the meat and it makes holes in the meat. These holes serve two purposes:
- Tenderizing the meat
- Helping the dry brine to penetrate the meat easier
You can buy one of these devices online or where I did at Cost Plus World Market. If you aren't going to use one, then just skip the tenderizing step.
?️ Note - I don't recommend the hammer-like tenderizers. I think they tear the meat more than tenderize it.
This is just like applying a rub. You want to get good meat to dry brine contact. Aim to spread it evenly over the entire surface of the meat.
Here is what I used for my 3 pounds of brisket:
- 3 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground juniper berries
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the strongest flavor use whole spices when you can and grind them in a coffee grinder.
Turn It Pink
If you are looking for that traditional pink color that corned beef is you won't get it with this method. However you could try adding beet powder (one of our readers suggested this). 1 or 2 tablespoon should do it, but I haven't test it myself. If you try it come back and leave comment!
You want to allow the meat to sit overnight in the fridge. 24 hours would be even better.
I figure if I am going to be refrigerating this thing for 24 hours I might as well employ some dry aging techniques. The salt in our dry brine is going to draw moisture out of the meat. If the meat has less water in it, then the flavor will be concentrated. This is what top steakhouses do with their steaks. While this technique isn't exactly that, it's a good do it yourself method.
How to Do a 24 Hour Dry Age
What I did with the brisket is:
- Get out a drying rack and put it on top a large non-wood cutting board (you could use a quarter or half sheet pan).
- Place some paper towel on the board to absorb excess moisture.
- Place the brisket on the drying rack
- Leave it un-covered. You want to moisture to escape after all.
- Place in the back of the fridge, away any other food.
- Allow to sit in the fridge over night. 24 hours would be better.
?? How to Cook
After 24 hours, your meat is ready to go. Use your favorite recipe. If you need a suggestion, try out our Instant Pot Corned Beef recipe.
I found the meat to be flavorful, even better that some that I have brined in the past for several days. I prefer it over the cheap corned beef briskets you find on a sale at the grocery store the week of St Patrick's Day.
If you want to do some more brining check out these recipes.
- Grilled Brined Pork Chops
- Panko + Ramen Brined & Bread Pork Chops
- No Time to Brine Turkey
- Butterflied, Dry Brined Turkey
Here is a list of all our corned beef recipes.