Chef Nicole - Sous Vide Homemade Corned Beef question

Hi Chef Nicole,

I do not have or want a Facebook account but received the following recipe in Gmail Inbox so I cannot reply to the recipe.

Did you calculate your PPM of Sodium Nitrite in the recipe? To me, it is too high even at 256 PPM Sodium Nitrite for the weight. Weight = Water Weight + Meat Weight. This would be the total weight of the brine.

You listed Prague powder/saltpeter. Prague powder/saltpeter are not the same.

Prague powder come in 2 numbers, Prague #1 and Prague #2. Prague #1 is Sodium Nitrite/Salt. Prague #2 is Sodium Nitrite/Sodium Nitrate/Salt. The user wants Prague #1 or Insta Cure #1.

When it comes to cures, make the recipe by weight, not volume.

Please update your Facebook post.


Sous Vide Homemade Corned Beef

Author: Nicole Poirier
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Irish-American, American
Prep time: 25 minutes + 5 days of brining
Cook time: 60 hours
Total time: 60 hours 25 minutes
Serves: 10 servings
This recipe is worth the 60-hour wait once the corned beef is finished brining. The meat holds together but melts in your mouth, and delicate hints of each of the spices used can be detected as you savor each bite. Whether enjoying this with traditional accoutrements or thinly sliced and piled high on a sandwich with melted Swiss cheese, you are in for one delectable corned beef treat!

3 quarts/12 cups/2.84 liters cold water, divided into 1 quart/~1 l & 2 quarts/~2 l
1 cup kosher or 1/2 cup sea, Himalayan, or table salt
1/2 c coconut sugar/brown sugar/granulated cane sugar/monk fruit sweetener/xylitol
2 Tablespoons Prague powder/saltpeter (you may have to order this online)
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon green cardamom pods
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 whole bay leaves
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 7-8lb brisket, trimmed

In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups water with the salts, sugar, and spices over medium to medium-high heat. Simmer and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. This will also allow the flavors from all of the spices to steep like tea and be more readily available to be soaked up by the meat.
After the salts and sugar are dissolved, remove from the heat and cool. This can be expedited by adding ice or refrigerating.
Once the mixture is cooled, stir into the remaining 2 1/2 quarts of water in a container large enough to hold the entire brisket and taste. You want it to taste both slightly sweet and pretty salty. However, if the level of saltiness is too extreme for you, this is your opportunity to dilute with more water. The meat is going to soak up all if the salt and flavor and you do not want it to be to salty to enjoy!
Now add the brisket, making sure that it is covered entirely with the mixture. Cover your container (or close your bag) and place in the refrigerator for at least 5 days, as many as 10.
After the chosen number of days has passed, remove your corned beef from the brine and pat dry.
Set your Anova Precision Cooker to 140ÂşF/60ÂşC, preferably in a well-insulated container as this is going to be a long cook.
Place your brined brisket into a zip-locking, vacuum seal, or silicone pouch and use the immersion method to release as much air as possible before sealing where applicable.
Transfer the sealed bag into the preheated water bath and, stabilizing either with clips or lid placement, submerge for 60 hours. You could cook for a minimum of 48 hours, but we found that 60 hours gives you the best return on time investment, with gorgeously succulent and tender meat.
Remove the cooked corned beef from the bath and bag. Rinse to remove any extra salt and pat dry.
For a little color, you are welcome to sear the corned beef, but it is also perfectly tasty to slice and eat as it is.
Pair with your favorite accoutrements and enjoy!

Hi Chef Nicole
Chris is perfectly right.
For a strong brine, and staying below 200ppm, you use like 1tsp/Liter water. And about 30g of salt, like pickling salt or kosher salt. Go by weight of salt NOT volume. Never use Saltpeter of Prague #2, this is sodium nitrate and not nitrite. Use Pink Prague #1 only.
Below a very useful calculator.

Cheers - Dieter

1 Like

Thanks Dieter!

I think Meathead and Blonder have their act together!

My point is that chemical cures are not the same. You are cooking the meat with a chemical and not heat.

I can buy pure Sodium Nitrite, Prague #1 and Prague #2. The 3 are not the same and should not be treated the same! All 3 are poisonous to the human body in too much of a quantity.

The recipe as written, the way I figure, is too strong to strong on Sodium Nitrite evan at 256 PPM.

In the US a little bit is good but more is better. Not true in this case,

There is a difference between a dry brine and a wet brine! This is a wet brine.

The recipe is the responsibility to the author or the TV person the explain the recipe for the viewing reader or watcher…

Off my soup box since I cure several items but understand what you are doing.

The recipe needs rewritten. Most likely it will not harm anyone since the serving size would be small but needs to be addressed.


Chef Nicole’s recipe uses Prague Powder which is a blend of Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Chloride (table salt). Being for a cooked meat the cure would be using Prague Powder #1 or Cure #1. Both are available in 2 strengths 2% and 6.5% Sodium Nitrite,with the remainder being salt. Most recipes I’ve used have required the 6.5% version, and this is what I’d be using here.

Prague Powder #2 or Cure #2 contains Sodium Nitrate and is used for raw cured meats like prosciutto.

The amount would need to be adjusted greatly if using Saltpetre (Potassium Nitrate)

I had no idea they added that calculator, that’s awesome. Thanks for the link.

Nice to have a sanity check for the manual calculations that I’ve always used.

Do you really need Prague Powder?
Isn’t the whole point, of home curing corned beef, to avoid artificial, possibly carcinogenic, chemical additives? So what, if the meat comes out looking grey (New England Style), instead of pink!

When I cook a store bought corned beef, as I am doing right now, I presoak it, for two days, in changes of fresh water, to get rid of the excess salt and chemicals.

No. You don’t really need Prague Powder #1 if you’re going to cook it and eat it straight away. In the instance of corned beef these days it’s really added for colour. Modern corned is not expected to keep for a long time either before or after it is cooked.

It certainly won’t have to keep a long time, in My house, after it is cooked!