It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a homemade, home-cured hunk of corned beef that cooks in beer for the better part of an afternoon. While it takes a bit of foresight (like, you need to go buy a brisket today if you want to do it the old-fashioned way) and patience (it takes five days to do it the old-fashioned way), the recipe is really quite easy. “Corning” is simply the process of making a flavorful salt bath and letting the brisket soak in it for five days.

If you don’t have the patience to wait for a brisket to corn in your fridge, this recipe will be slightly less satisfying, but you can still get a pre-corned beef from your local butcher shop or grocery store. They’re as ubiquitous as green milkshakes this time of year.

Whether you corn the beef yourself, or pick it up from your local corner grocery, you still get to cook it in booze. We prefer a really dark stout for this recipe, but others believe the only true way to keep a corned beef Irish is with a big old can of Guinness. The choice is yours, and as long as you’re letting it braise long enough, you can’t go wrong. And don’t forget to marinate your liver in copious amounts of Irish whiskey while you’re at it.

Corned beef with beer

Beer-Braised Corned Beef

For the corning:
5 pound brisket “flat”
1 gallon water
12 ounces salt
4 teaspoons pink salt
4 Tablespoons pickling spice
½ cup brown sugar
1 head of garlic, cut in half

For the braising:
2 onions, roughly chopped
12 ounces stout
12 ounces of veal stock
1 tablespoon pickling spice

Warm the water in a stock pot. once it is bubbling, add the salt, pink salt, and brown sugar. Stir until everything has dissolved. Turn off the heat. Add the pickling spice and garlic and allow the mixture to come to room temperature. Add the brisket, placing a plate on top to make sure the whole brisket is submerged.


Place it in the fridge and wait five days. (You can do other stuff, but don’t mess with the brisket, other than checking occasionally to make sure it’s fully submerged.)

Preheat the oven to 300º.

Pull the brisket out of the corning solution, rinse, and pat dry.

Place the brisket in a Dutch oven or roasting pan. Add the onion, pickling spice, stout, and stock, and then fill the rest of the way with water until the brisket is just covered. Cover and cook until the corned beef is fork tender, about 3 hours. Remove from the liquid and let it cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing or pulling with a fork. Serve with cabbage, colcannon, and Zima. Kidding—serve it with plenty of stout and a couple shots of Jameson for dessert.

Corned beef with beer