Corned Beef: An American-Irish Tradition

March is known as the month that everyone becomes Irish Americans who love to wear green and eat corned beef. But, did you know that corned beef is actually not traditionally eaten in Ireland, but was a result of the British invasion of Ireland? Either way, Americans have adopted corned beef as our staple St. Patrick’s day meat, and we can all be thankful for that!


Step 1: Brine the Beef

1 gallon water
1-1/2 cups kosher salt
½ cup sugar
4 teaspoons pink salt (sodium nitrite), optional
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons pickling spice
1 5-pound beef brisket
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in two
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
Bring all ingredients to a simmer to dissolve salt and sugar, let cool, and then chill. Submerge brisket in the brine and refrigerate for 5 days. Rinse the meat well before cooking

Step 2: Cook the Beef

5lb brined beef brisket, rinsed
2 yellow onions, peeled and halved
2 med carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into large pieces
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 cloves
6 sprigs flat leaf parsley, bruised
Wrap herbs and spices in a small piece of cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine. Place beef, vegetables, and sachet in large soup pot. Add enough cold water to completely submerge meat and vegetables. Bring to a boil, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until meat is very tender when pierced with a fork, 3-4 hours. (Add more water if necessary to keep meat completely submerged) Let meat cool in the broth. Remove the meat and strain the broth.

Step 3: Assemble Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich

2 slices of Rye bread
2 Tbsp Russian dressing
2 slices of Jarlsberg or Swiss cheese (optional)
4-5oz of thinly sliced corned beef (brined beef brisket)
1/4 cup sauerkraut, well-drained
2 tsp butter

  1. Preheat a large skillet or griddle on medium-low heat.

  2. Lightly butter one side of bread slices. Spread non-buttered sides with Russian dressing. On one of the slices with Russian dressing, layer the cheese, corned beef and sauerkraut. Top with remaining bread slice, buttered side out.

  3. Grill sandwich until both sides are golden brown, about 10 minutes per side. Serve immediately.