Guinness Corned Beef Brisket

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Guinness Corned Beef Brisket is slow cooked in a Dutch Oven and braised in traditional flavors of Guinness, brown sugar, onions, garlic, and spices. You’ll love this fork-tender Irish-American corned beef with a sweet, but deep flavor everyone can enjoy around the holidays.

Guinness Corned Beef Inspiration

While you already know I have a recipe on here for a Whiskey Corned Beef Boiled Dinner, I couldn’t help but include a St. Patrick’s Day inspired Guinness version as well. And while technically we’re past St. Patrick’s Day now, the stores still have some corned beef in stock and on sale. So I picked one up to use with some leftover Guinness I had after making Guinness Beef Stew.

Easter being right around the corner, we considered having this corned beef instead of our traditional Easter ham dinner. But with the arrival of our new baby and 10 lambs on the farm, I’m much more into batch cooking large amounts of meat these days to keep dinner easy.

I typically have some energy in the morning until about lunch time. Then by dinner I need to take it easy. So slow cooking large portions of shredded chicken, pulled pork, rice, and mashed potatoes is just making my life a bit easier these days.

Is corned beef and beef brisket the same thing?

While yes, both are beef, a corned beef has been brined and cured for a substantial amount of time when purchased. This is usually done in a salt-vinegar style solution with spices. However, you may find when purchasing the corned beef at the store that the spices are packaged separately. The curing of the beef is what gives the corned beef its beautiful pink color. Fun Fact: it is called corned beef because the salt pellets used during the curing process resemble that of corn kernels.

Beef brisket on the other hand is a thick, fatty cut of beef that is sold raw and in large pieces similar to a beef roast. Unlike corned beef which has a bold flavor that can only be described as being sweet, sour, and salty all at once, brisket is much more mild in flavor. The taste largely depends on how the meat is seasoned and prepared.

Tips for Corned Beef

  • Cook low and slow for tender corned beef – For all briskets, even if seared first, you’ll want the primary cooking method to be low and slow. High heat will have you running the risk of the meat coming out tough and chewy.
  • Achieve extra tender meat – You’ll want to allow for enough liquid to fully submerge your beef, and add more as needed while it cooks. This will lock in moisture and help your corned beef cook evenly.
  • Pick the right size Dutch oven – For any meat, especially those that need covered and submerged, make sure you’re picking the right size for the job. When everything is added you do not want the Dutch oven more than 3/4 of the way full in order to avoid any spillage as well as aiding in heat distribution.
  • Cutting the meat – Properly cutting the meat is crucial to achieving not only the best taste but also a melt-in-your-mouth texture. For the best results, you’ll want to cut against the grain or muscle fibers. This shortens them making the meat extra tender and easier to chew. Though this method will result in fork flaking pieces vs a need for slicing.
  • Remove excess salt – Due to the brining process, corned beef contains a lot of salt. To avoid overpowering your meal, rinse the beef under cool water. And don’t worry, it’ll still have plenty of flavor!

Ingredients for Guinness Corned Beef

  • Corned beef brisket – Flat cut works best.
  • Guinness – Most stouts will work for this recipe, Guinness is just the more widely known and available.
  • Garlic and onion – Compliment the brine for a rich flavor.
  • Herbs and spices – Bay leaves, peppercorn, and the pickling spices that come with the beef.
  • Brown sugar – Adds extra depth and a sweet taste that compliments the savoriness of the rest of the dish and brings out the chocolate, rich, caramelized notes of the Guinness.
  • Cinnamon sticks – To impart warm flavor.

Common Questions About Corned Beef

One of the great things about corned beef is that it does not shrink much when cooked meaning you get a lot of bang for your buck. As a general rule of thumb, allow for around 1/2 pound per person. This means that a 2-3 pound corned beef should be plenty to feed 4-6 people depending on how hungry you are.

From what I’ve seen, it’s more Irish-American and not your traditional Irish food. Similar to how Shepard’s Pie made traditionally in Ireland calls for Lamb, but here in America we have adapted it to use ground beef.

The way we’re cooking it here, kind of does both. The liquid is going to get nice and hot and bubbly like a boil but baked in the oven. We’re also not cooking the side dishes in the Dutch oven which would make it a boiled dinner by definition.

You can certainly slice the corned beef into patty-style cuts, against the grain, as you would steak. However, I find corned beef cooked correctly will simply shred apart, like a brisket – go figure!

As a general rule of thumb, allot 1 hour per pound at 300F.

How to make Guinness Corned Beef

Remove the brisket from the packaging and set the pickling spice aside. Rinse the excess brine off in the sink and pat dry.

Place the brisket into a 5-quart Dutch oven or bigger. Pile everything right on top of the brisket, finishing with the two cans of Guinness. Cover and place into a pre-heated 300F oven for 4 hours (about an hour per pound). You’ll know the brisket is done when it is easy to shred with a fork and the internal temperature of the meat is 145F.

Allow the meat to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing. Once the internal temperature is 145F you can slice and serve like a sandwich. Or you can let it go longer, closer to 195F internal temperature for fork tender results.

What to do with leftovers?

In my opinion, this Guinness corned beef often tastes even better the next day. My favorite way to use it is in a corned beef hash. Leftovers are also great in a riff on eggs benedict or mixed into a potato and corned beef chowder.

How to store leftovers

As with most meat, tightly wrap leftovers in a layer of plastic wrap or tin foil. Or store them in an airtight container. Leftover corned beef will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator, 5-7 if vacuum sealed. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 2 months. You can also store this in the liquid.

The night before you plan to serve it, let the frozen meat thaw in the fridge and warm it back up in the oven or on the stovetop. And don’t be afraid to add another half cup or so of Guinness or broth to keep it moist.

What to serve with corned beef?

While I’ll never say no to a good corned beef sandwich with sauerkraut, there are certainly many other ways it can be served. For a well-rounded meal, try pairing it with these sides:

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Dutch Oven Guinness Corned Beef Brisket Recipe

Course Dinner, Holiday, Main
Cuisine American, Irish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 7
Guinness Corned Beef Brisket prepared in a large Dutch oven, swimming in sweet, salty, chocolatey, nutty flavors, makes for a unique dish layered with tastes and aromas of the holiday.


  • 5 or 6 quart Dutch oven
  • measuring spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting board


  • 4 pound corned beef brisket in brine solution
  • 1 sweet or yellow onion peeled and cut into wedges
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 packet of pickling spice
  • 1 Tablespoon peppercorns
  • 2 14.9 ounce Guinness bottle or can
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  • Preheat the oven to 300F. Remove the brisket from the package and rinse of excess brining solution. Add to the base of a 5 or 6 quart Dutch oven.
  • Top the brisket with the remaining ingredients. Cover and bake for 1 hour per pound of brisket or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145F – 195F.
  • Allow the meat to rest 15 minutes before serving. Serve with some of the cooked onions and strained broth.


Please visit the blog post for tips, tricks, and a detailed summary for cooking corned beef.


Serving: 0.5pound | Calories: 618kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 3165mg | Potassium: 857mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 0.5IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 5mg

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I made this today and it was so good! The cinnamon stick was a surprise addition and it totally worked with the meat dish. Looking forwards to leftovers for sure if there is any. This recipe is definitely going into the special recipe box.