How to Pickle Beef Brisket


Beef brisket is a cut of meat that comes from the brisket section of a cow. This section is above the forward shank, or leg. Pickled brisket has been soaked in a pickling liquid, or brine. During colonial times, coarse salt grains were called corns, which led to the name of corn or corned beef. This pickling process takes three days, not including cooking time. Follow these steps below to learn how to properly pickle beef brisket.

Things You'll Need

  • Beef brisket, 4 to 5 pounds
  • Saucepan
  • 2 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. pickling spice
  • 1 tbsp. juniper berries, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • Eight bay leaves
  • Six fresh thyme sprigs
  • Four garlic cloves, crushed
  • Large bowl
  • Coarse ground or kosher salt, 3/4 cup
  • Sugar, 1/2 cup
  • 2-gallon zip-close plastic bag
  • Place the saucepan on a stove and add 1 cup of water. To this, add the pepper, pickling spice, juniper berries, coriander, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic. Bring to a boil. Then let simmer for five minutes.

  • Pour the mixture from the stove into a large bowl. Let it cool to room temperature.

  • Add six cups of water, the salt and sugar to the cooled mixture. Stir until the salt and sugar is dissolved. Pour into the zip-close plastic bag.

  • Place the brisket into the bag, then seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator. Let the brisket pickle for three days, turning it occasionally so that it is evenly pickled.

  • Drain the brisket after three days. It is now ready for cooking or freezing.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use a container that seals tightly instead of a plastic bag.


  • Photo Credit Alexandra Grablewski/Lifesize/Getty Images
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