I quite often will brine poultry and sometimes pork but I have never (or ever heard of anyone) brining beef? Does anyone know why it doesn't seem to be as popular with beef or has anyone tried it? If so, how are the results?

4 Answers 4


People often marinate beef cuts like flank steak or skirt steak.

Dry brining (pre-salting) beef is pretty common, such as for prepping many steaks.

Wet brining is also pretty common -- corned beef is brined. Beef tongue is often pickled and brined as well.

  • Mmmmmmm...beef tongue. We (as in: in our family) don't brine it though. slow cooked in stock, thinly sliced on bread, perhaps a touch of mustard....nomnom.... Sep 23, 2016 at 15:42
  • I have smoked a standing rib roast, and for that I brined exactly as a would pork, fish or poultry and it resulted in a much more tender roast which grabbed the spices and smoke better. As Batman states, marinades are really the same as brining, usually shorter term so you may not get some of the chemical reactions, but the same flavoring benefits. Pickling is more equivalent to classic brining of other meats to include the reactive components. Many cuts of beef due to marbling and gentle connective tissues do not need the longer effects.
    – dlb
    Sep 23, 2016 at 17:08
  • The definition can be a bit hazy at times, but marinate is usually an acidic solution, whereas brining is a salt solution. But I think theres enough blur that considering marinating as well gives a better picture.
    – Batman
    Sep 23, 2016 at 19:11
  • @Batman Given that the word "marinate" derives from Italian marinare "pickle in brine", I should think it does include brining as an option... Sep 24, 2016 at 8:23

Yes. To make pastrami or corned beef, one must brine the meat for about a week. Corning, brining, and pickling are all variants of the same process - curing meat in a sugar- and/or salt-water solution, regardless of whether it is in fact kosher. For pastrami, and maybe corned beef, you add nitrates to the solution.

I made Pastrami once. The total process took almost a month and my 8-pound brisket yielded about 3 or 4 pounds of edible meat. Even though most people I served it to thought it was delicious, I will never make it again. I now know that the $20 sandwich served at Katz' in NYC or Langers in LA is a bargain.


In a manner of speaking, kashering is a form of brining, albeit one meant to remove blood from the meat, rather than to flavour it. Despite the specialisation of the link, kashering is done for all kosher meat, including (especially) beef and sheep.


Yes, most obviously salt beef (treated wth brine), but also corn(ed) beed (treated with corns of rock salt), bully beef, pastrami, and beef jerky / biltong (both dried as well as salted).

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