Homemade Corned Beef

Serves 8 to 12.

Note: From Sam Sifton.

• 2 c. coarse kosher salt

• 1/2 c. sugar

• 5 garlic cloves, smashed

• 5 tbsp. pickling spices, divided

• 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pink curing salt (sodium nitrite)

• 1 (4- to 5-lb.) beef brisket

• 2 bottles of good beer, divided

• 2 bottles of good ginger beer, divided


To brine the brisket: In a medium pot set over high heat, combine about a gallon of water, salt, sugar, garlic, 3 tablespoons pickling spices and the pink curing salt. Stir mixture as it heats until sugar and salt are dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer liquid to a container large enough for the brine and the brisket, then refrigerate until liquid is cool.

Place brisket in the cooled liquid, and weigh the meat down with a plate so it is submerged. Cover container and place in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days, turning every day or so.

To cook the brisket: Remove it from the brine and rinse under cool water. Place in a pot just large enough to hold it and cover with one of the beers and one of the ginger beers. If you need more liquid to cover the meat, add enough of the other beer, and the other ginger beer, to do so. Add remaining 2 tablespoons pickling spices. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat to low so liquid is barely simmering. Cover and let cook until you can easily insert a fork into the meat, about 3 hours, adding water along the way if needed to cover the brisket.

Keep warm until serving, or let cool in the liquid and reheat when ready to eat, up to three or four days. Slice thinly and serve on sandwiches, in Irish tacos (see recipe) or with carrots and cabbage simmered until tender in the cooking liquid.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 230 Fat 10 g Sodium 1,090 mg

Carbohydrates 2 g Saturated fat 4 g Total sugars 2 g

Protein 33 g Cholesterol 95 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Exchanges per serving: 5 lean protein.


Irish Tacos

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: From Sam Sifton.

• 2 to 2 1/2 lb. corned beef (see recipe)

• 1 small head of green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

• 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into julienne

• 1 c. mayonnaise

• 3 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt or sour cream

• 3 tbsp. cider vinegar

• Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

• 1 1/2 tbsp. hot pepper sauce, or to taste

• 12 to 16 flour tortillas, warmed

• Sliced fresh or pickled jalapeños


Warm the corned beef in its cooking liquid, or wrap it in foil and set on a sheet pan in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes or so.

To make the coleslaw: Mix cabbage and carrots together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt or sour cream, cider vinegar, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce to taste.

Pour half the sauce over the cabbage and carrots and toss to coat thoroughly. Season to taste. Reserve remaining sauce.

When the corned beef is hot, remove from liquid or foil and use 2 forks to shred it. Serve with the warmed tortillas, sliced jalapeños, the slaw, remaining white sauce and some hot pepper sauce.

Nutrition information per serving of 8 (two tacos):

Calories 690 Fat 36 g Sodium 1,760 mg

Carbohydrates 58 g Saturated fat 9 g Total sugars 9 g

Protein 35 g Cholesterol 80 mg Dietary fiber 6 g

Exchanges per serving: 3 starch, 1 carb, 3½ lean protein, 5 fat.