Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Traditional Corned Beef

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by making your very own corned beef.

corned beef

Photo: Andrew Olanoff/WFIU

We used beef brisket from Fiedler Farms for our corned beef.

History Of Corned Beef

We think of corned beef and cabbage as a traditional Irish dish, but it’s really an Irish American dish.

Corning was originally a method of preserving beef for ocean travel, where the beef would be stacked in barrels with corning spices and then when it was time to eat it, it would be taken out and boiled.

Irish immigrants experienced corned beef on the trip over on the boat, and they found it very satisfying. We  think of it as not a really classy dish but, when done right, it can be a wonderful celebration.

Brining Beef Brisket (For Corned Beef)


  • Fennel seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin seeds
  • All spice (crushed)
  • Colman’s Mustard
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Spanish Paprika
  • 1/2 cup pink salt
  • Bay leaves
  • White wine
  • White wine vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Thyme leaves (with stems)

Cooking Directions

  1. Mix dry and wet ingredients into a paste.
  2. Lather the mixture over the meat. Massage it in a bit, and then let sit for about 4 to 5 days or even up to two weeks.

The longer you leave the spice mixture on the beef, the more flavor you’ll get. You do want to keep mixing the brine and turning the meat so it gets evenly spiced.

Once you take the beef out of the mixture, you could use it right away, or it can last several days in the fridge.

Preparing The Corned Beef

  1. Remove the beef from the brine and put it in a pot of cold water.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until tender (about two and a half hours). You want to be able to stick a fork into it and it should be really, really tender.
  3. Add a variety of vegetables to the same broth and cook until tender so they absorb the flavor of the corned beef.
  4. Serve on a big rustic platter with some freshly grated horseradish, some really pungent mustard, and crusty Irish soda bread.
Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media