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Corned Beef Brine for Brisket


  • Gallon of Water
  • 2C. Kosher Salt
  • 1C. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Whole Black Peppercorn
  • 5 Whole Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 Bunch of Fresh Thyme
  • Optional: Whole Mustard Seed, Coriander Seed, Red Pepper Flakes, Whole Cinnamon Sticks, Whole Allspice


Combine all ingredients for the brine and 1 tablespoon of any of the optional ingredients that you may choose (2 cinnamon sticks). Bring to a boil.

Boil for five minutes or until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved 

Remove from heat and let sit until the brine cools to room temperature. This should take roughly 2-3 hours.

Phase One of the Corned Beef:

Now, trim your brisket. You want to remove as much fat as possible in order for the brine to penetrate the meat as much as it can. This is different than how you would trim a brisket for smoking.

Place the brisket into a plastic or glass container and cover with the brine.

Place a weight on the brisket to ensure the meat stays submerged (a heavy glass plate works great)

Cover the concoction and place into the refrigerator for 7-10 days. 

Once the brisket is brined, you’re ready to move to the next step!

If you plan on making corned beef, you’ll want a trustworthy brine. This recipe is our go-to brine for mouthwatering and tender corned beef brisket from the grill.

Bookmark this page because you’ll want to come back every time corned beef is on the menu.

What Does a Brine Do, Exactly?

Cooks have relied on brines for centuries to help them turn out classic and unique dishes. When you bathe meat like beef in brine, the brine helps bring out the natural tastes of the meat. At the same time, the saltiness of the brine infuses the meat with distinctive flavors.

The brine doesn’t just flavor your meat, however. It allows the meat to absorb more liquid and turn out juicier after cooking. You can always tell if a corned beef brisket has been well-brined if it’s fork-tender.

Of course, brine isn’t just used for beef. It’s also great for poultry and seafood. Once you get the hang of using brine, feel free to try it on other favorite entrees and ingredients.

Helpful Tips for Brining Corned Beef

Our brine brisket for corned beef recipe is easy to follow and very straightforward. Still, you may want a few helpful tips to make sure the end result is exactly what the pitmaster ordered:

  • Practice smart and safe hygiene in your kitchen: You’ll be dealing with raw meat, so use separate utensils and keep your preparation areas neat and clean. Some cooks like to wear gloves when they’re working with raw beef.
  • Buy a good-looking brisket: You want one that has some fat on it and has been flat cut. Not sure which brisket to choose? Ask the butcher for recommendations.
  • Use only kosher salt: When preparing a brine for beef brisket, you can’t swap out kosher salt for table salt. It just doesn’t work or produce an outcome that you expect.
  • Feel free to try a different sweetener: Not a fan of brown sugar? Only have white sugar in your pantry? Not a problem. The sweetener you use will help the brisket brown. Some pitmasters even prefer molasses or honey to brown sugar.
  • Give yourself enough time: This is a prepare ahead type of meal, not something you can make the same day. Don’t skimp on the brining, or you’ll end up with a not-ready-for-prime-time brisket.

Here’s one last safety hack: Always discard used brine. It should never be used for basting meat or brining anything else.

Who’s ready for some corned beef brisket on the pellet grill? You are — so get brining!

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