1. 1 quart water
  2. 12 ounces kosher salt
  3. 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  4. 4 teaspoons pink salt (see note)
  5. 1 stick cinnamon broken into several pieces
  6. 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  7. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  8. 8 whole cloves
  9. 8 whole allspice berries
  10. 12 whole juniper berries
  11. 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  12. ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  13. 3 pounds ice
  14. 1 4-5 pound beef brisket trimmed
  15. 1 small onion, quartered
  16. 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  17. 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped


  1. Place the water in a large 6-8 quart stockpot along with salt, sugar, pink salt, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, juniper berries, bay leaves and ginger. Cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice has melted. If necessary, place the brine into the refrigerator until it reaches a temperature of 45 degrees F. Once it has cooled, place the brisket in a 2-gallon zip-top bag and add the brine. Seal and lay flat inside a container, cover and refrigerate for 5 days. Check daily to make sure the beef is completely submerged and stir the brine. I like to flip the bag and give the brine a quick massage everyday, but that's just me…
  3. After 5 days, remove from the brine and rinse well under cool water.
  4. Place the brisket into a large slow cooker, add the onion, carrot and celery and cover with water by 1-inch (about 2 quarts). Cover and cook on high for 8 hours.
  5. Remove from the pot and thinly slices across the grain. Store any uncut leftovers in the cooking liquid.
  6. Pink salt aka Prague Powder #1, aka DQ Cure is a combination of sodium chloride, sodium nitrite and a bit of pink dye (supposedly to prevent it being confused for regular salt) is readily available via the webernet, but may also be procured from your local butcher shop or kitchenware store. Technically, you can make corned beef without it, but I'd sure miss that color.

By © Alton Brown, Recipe and Images 2016