Beef: 4 - 5 pound brisket.
Our briskets will be double the size, therefore double the recipe of cut in half and use half for corned beef and the other half for another cooking procedure and get the most for your brisket. I would use the bottom half or the flat. There should be a bit less fat content and will give you a higher yield.
Pickling spice: You will find different variations based on the individuals recipe but for basic pickling spice you will need:
1 Tbsp whole allspice berries
1 Tbsp whole mustard seeds (brown or yellow)
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 Tbsp whole cloves
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
3 large bay leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1 stick cinnamon crushed
2 quarts of water
1 cup of kosher salt
½ cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of pink salt (Pink salt is sodium nitrate. It is used to add some flavor but really is used to add that pink color you are most familiar with when eating corned beef. You can order it online, find it at kitchen specialty stores, or your local butcher shops.)
2 pounds or so of ice.
Take the allspice berries, mustard seeds, coriander, red pepper flakes, cloves, and black pepper and toast in pan either on high heat on our stove top or place in an oven on high until fragrant. Once done remove and mix with bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Using a pestle and mortar, or if you do not have one wrap all of the spices in a foil and use the back of your knife to crush and combine, to crush and then combine with ground ginger.
While you are toasting your pickling spices, in a large pot add 2 quarts of water, salt, brown sugar, and pink salt. Turn the heat on high and stir the brine occasionally making sure none of the sugar or salt sticks to the bottom of the pot and burns. You want to cook long enough for the salts and sugars to dissolve into the solution. One the everything dissolves pour the water into another container and add the ice to cool the brine. The ice will also melt into the brine giving you close to a gallon of liquid which should be the target amount of liquid you are looking for the brine. With a spoon continually keep stirring, it will help release the steam from the brine and will help it cool faster. If by this point the brine hasn’t reached your target 41 degrees, place the brine in the fridge until chilled enough.
Once the brine has reached your target temperature add three tablespoons of the pickling spice mix into the brine. Reserve 1 - 2 tablespoons for the cooking process. Before adding your brisket to the brine take a fork or knife and stab the brisket all over. You do this to allow the brine to absorb to the center of the brisket. Then place the brisket in the brine putting a plate, or something heavy, on top of the brisket to make sure it stays submerged in the solution and refrigerate for about 6-8 days rotating the brisket every two days.
Once the brisket has finished its brining process, remove it from the brine and rinse under cold water. Then add it to a pot large enough to fit the brisket and cover with an inch of water. Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of the remaining pickling spice and cook on a high heat until it begins to boil. Then reduce heat to a low simmer and cover with a lid for 3 - 4 hours, or until fork tender. Remove brisket from water and place on cutting board to cool. You can use the remaining liquid to boil vegetables such as carrots, celery, or potatoes. Or you could use it to boil cabbage to complete the Irish meal! When cutting the corned beef make sure to cut against the grain for ultimate tenderness and enjoy!