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Brine for Corned Beef

Prep time
30 mins

From Jeremy Johnson, Meat Manager at Willy West.


This brine recipe will yield more pickling spice than you'll need to brine a brisket, so you'll have extra on hand for the next time. It's ideal for making corned beef from brisket - perfect for St. Patrick's Day, but lovely at other times of the year as well.


1 Tallspice berries (whole)
1 Tmustard seeds (brown or yellow, whole)
1 Tcoriander seeds
1 Tred pepper flakes
1 Tcloves (whole)
1 Tblack peppercorns (whole)
9 cardamom pods (whole)
6 bay leaves (crumbled)
1 Tgarlic powder
2 tginger (ground)
1 galwater
2 ckosher salt
1⁄2 cbrown sugar
1⁄2 cinnamon stick


In a small frying pan over high heat, toast the allsprice berries, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, cloves, peppercorns, and cardamom pods until fragrant and the seeds begin to pop. Remove from heat and lightly smash in a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the crumbled bay leaves, garlic powder, and ground ginger. 

In a large pot, combine the water, kosher salt, and brown sugar. Measure out 3 tablespoons of the pickling spice, and add to the pot with the 1/2 stick of cinnamon. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar and salt, then remove from heat and allow the brine to cool to room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and cool completely.

The brine is ready to use! (See notes for some brining tips!)


This brine will be enough for a 3-5 lb. brisket. To make corned beef, place the brisket in a large, shallow container, and cover completely with brine. If the meat floats, cover with a lid or a plate, weighing it down if necessary. Brine the brisket in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, flipping it over every 24-hours.