2 cups coarse salt (use one cup of salt per 2 quarts of water, I use Redmond Salt)
1/2 cup unrefined whole cane sugar (or regular brown sugar works too)
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon prague powder/curing salt #1
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground ginger
10 allspice berries
4 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 beef brisket (5 lbs)
TO COOK THE BRISKET:
1 brined corned beef brisket (above)
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 bay leaves
6 allspice berries
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit this if your corned beef has been brining the full 10 days or longer– it likely will be salty enough)
1 12 oz beer (stouts or porters are good options)- optional
1 pound small red potatoes
2–3 cups carrot chunks
FOR THE BRINE:
*The water needs to completely cover the meat during the brine process, so the exact amount of water required will depend on the size of your brisket and the size of your brining container. Adjust the salt if you use less water (the general rule of thumb is 1 cup of coarse salt per 2 quarts of water).
Place the water, salt, prague powder, sugar, garlic, and all the herbs and spices in a stockpot and bring to a simmer. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved, then set aside to cool.
Put the brisket in a large non-reactive container and pour the cooled brine over the top. The brine should cover the meat completely. If the brisket wants to float to the top, weigh it down with a plate. (I use these large food-grade plastic tubs with lids for brining.)
Let the brisket brine in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 days. The longer it sits, the saltier it will be. If you are in a hurry, you can brine for a shorter amount of time, although the finished product might not be as flavorful.
TO COOK THE BRINED BRISKET:
Thoroughly rinse the corned beef with cool water– this will prevent the finished product from being too salty.
Arrange the onion wedges and garlic in the bottom of a slow cooker, then place the corned beef on top, fat side up.
Add the mustard seeds, bay leaves, allspice, pepper, salt, and beer. Fill the slow cooker with hot water until the beef is almost completely covered. (As it cooks it will sink down a bit.)
Cook on low for 5 hours, then add the carrots and potatoes. Cook for another 2 to 3 hours, or until tender.
Thinly slice the corned beef across the grain and serve with the carrots, potatoes, grainy mustard, and cabbage, if desired.