This Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe is a classic Irish dinner perfect for St. Patrick's Day! The meat is brined for 7 to 10 days in savory spices and the brisket becomes tender and flavorful once cooked.
In a large pot, combine the water, salts, and sugar and bring to a boil and cook until sugar and salt have dissolved. Let cool on the stove until it reaches room temperature.
Divide the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and garlic between two gallon Ziploc bags. Add a piece of brisket to each bag. Ladle to the brine into the bags making sure to fully cover the meat, you do not want any part of the meat exposed to air.
Place the bags in a 9x13-inch pan in case they leak. Place in the fridge for 7 to 10 days before cooking, checking daily for leaks and rotating the bags ever two days.
Once the brining process is over, remove the bags from the fridge and rinse off the meat. Add the meat to a large pot with the celery, onion, and carrots and add enough water to cover the ingredients. Boil for 1 hour and 45 minutes, checking periodically and adding more water as needed.
Add the cabbage to the pot and boil for another 45 minutes. Use tongs to remove the corned beef and cabbage from the pot. Let the rest of the pot contents come back to room temperature and discard.
Slice corned beef and enjoy, save any leftovers for fried cabbage or corned beef hash.
You're probably wondering why the recipe includes celery, carrots, and onions but they get discarded at the end of the cooking process. Well, these are considered the Holy Trinity of cooking and are primarily used to add flavor to the beef. Of course, no one will stop you from eating them if you'd like, but they will be very mushy.
Yes, the 7 to 10 days really is necessary for the best flavor. You might be able to get away with 5 or 6 days, but I wouldn't do any less than that. If you didn't plan ahead, you can still use the cooking section of this recipe with a storebought brisket.
When it comes to brisket, not all cuts are created equal, look for the flatter end of the brisket, this will have less fat, will brine better, and will cook more evenly.
The Pink Curing Salt or Prague Powder is a very important part of the recipe and shouldn't be skipped. This is not the same as Pink Himalayan Salt. It may be hard to find in your local grocer so I recommend ordering it online.
Sodium levels in this recipe are high but are not as high as the nutrition labels says. Most of the salt will be discarded with the brine and there's actually between 1200 and 2000 mg of sodium per serving in the meat.