St Patrick’s Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage,

  • What is corned beef?

  • What does it mean to ‘corn’ something?

  • Why do I have to plan 10 days in advance? 

Corned beef is salt-cured brisket of beef. The term comes from the brining of the meat with large-grained rock salt, also called “corns” of salt for 7 to 10 days. 

Recipe by Chef Greg Jordan of The Quarry Restaurant, 415 Whiting St, (Rt 53), Hingham, MA

Corned Beef

The Brine


340 grams kosher salt
100 grams brown sugar
23 grams pink salt (sodium nitrite)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons pickling spice
½ gallon water
4 pounds ice
5 pounds beef brisket, trimmed, (grey or pink? it’s a New England thing)

Pickling Spice


2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons allspice berries
2 tablespoons juniper berries
2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
4 bay leaves, crumbled
2 tablespoons whole cloves
1 tablespoon ground ginger

Toast all whole spices in a dry pan and crush by hand in a mortar & pestle. Add dried and ground spices.


In a saucepot, combine the salt, sugar, pink salt, garlic, and pickling spice with ½ gallon of water, and bring to a boil. Add the ice and allow the brine to fully cool. Submerge the trimmed meat in the liquid for 7-10 days and keep refrigerated to allow the brine to fully penetrate the meat. Stir the brine daily to keep the brine evenly distributed.

Remove from brine and rinse thoroughly. It may be kept for up to 7 days prior to cooking, well wrapped, and refrigerated.

Cooking the corned beef, and the rest of the meal

2 pounds peeled diced Yukon gold potatoes
2 cups rough cut carrot
2 cups rough cut celery
2 cups rough cut celery
2 fresh bay leaves

Place corned beef in a large, non-reactive pot. Add the pickling spice and bay leaf, and cover in cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 2.5 hours. Remove cover and add potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions and cook for 15 minutes uncovered. Add cleaned cabbage to the pot and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve.