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How to make your own naturally-cured Corned Beef without nitrates.  It is easier and healthier than you may think! Allow one-week curing time. #cornbeef #stpatricksday #irishfood

Natural Corned Beef (Nitrate-free)

  • Author: Tonia Schemmel | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: preserved, beef recipe,
  • Method: cured
  • Cuisine: Irish
  • Diet: Gluten Free


How to make your own naturally-cured Corned Beef without nitrates.  It is easier and healthier than you may think!  Allow one-week curing time.


Curing the Beef (Allow 5 – 10 days) 

  • 23 pound thawed beef brisket (grass-fed preferred)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/21 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
  • 1 tablespoon whole cardamom pods
  • 2/3 cup sea or mineral salt
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 2 cups celery juice (1 bunch celery, see notes)
  • 2 cups sauerkraut brine or whey (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup beet juice or 1 tablespoon beetroot powder, optional (for color)
  • 5 cloves of garlic

Cook the Corned Beef

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 onion,
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 celery
  • 1 carrot


Brining the meat

  1. Rinse brisket and pat dry.
  2. Break up cinnamon stick and bay leaves, lightly smash cardamom.  Mix together with mustard seeds, coriander, cloves, red pepper flakes, salt, and sugar.
  3. Rinse and dry brisket.  Throughly massage spice/salt mixture into meat.  Roll up tying with string to secure. Place rolled up brisket in jar or glass container.
  4. Pour sauerkraut brine (or whey-see notes), celery juice, and beet juice (if using) over the meat.  Make sure meat is fully submerged.  Though in the garlic cloves.  Seal with lid.
  5. Place jar in the refrigerator for 5-10 days.
  6. Unwrap, rinse and cook.

Cooking the Corned Beef

  1. Prepare onion, celery, carrot and garlic cutting in large chunks.  Put in the bottom of a crockpot (or dutch oven)
  2. Place meat on top of the vegetables along with the water.
  3. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, until the meat, is tender and easily forks apart.


You can use sauerkraut brine that you make from your own batch of cultured cabbage or strain store-bought sauerkraut.  1-quart yields about 1 1/2 cups.  This amount will vary depending on the brands.

Celery juice can be made with a juicer, or blended in a blender with 2 cups water (then strained) or feel free to use store-bought celery juice.

If you choose to use whey- you can strain full-fat yogurt in a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl left out at room temperature for about an hour.  1 quart usually yields a bit more then 1 cup of whey.

Adding vegetables to the crockpot when cooking the meat is totally optional, it just adds more savory flavor.  Alternatively cooking in just water will work just fine.


  • Serving Size: 4 ounces

Keywords: corned beef recipe, How to cure corned beef, natural corn beef, corn beef without nitrates, homemade corned beef, naturally cured corn beef recipe

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