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seagrass_gw

Corned Beef for a Novice

I want to cook corned beef and cabbage (and whatever else goes into it) for St. Patty's Day this year. I've never bought or cooked beef brisket, corned or not.

I know that pieces are shaped different and that one is supposed to be better than the other. Is that true? What should I look for? Are there whole briskets or are they always cut into pieces?

If anyone could share a tried and true recipe/method for this dish I would really appreciate it. Not only have I never cooked it, I've never eaten it either!!

seagrass

Comments (39)

  • lindac
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I know it's a point of discussion, but I usually buy a point cut because there is a larger portion of lean meat....there is also a huge hunk of fat, but that is more easily cut away than the fat between the layers of a brisket cut.
    I have both in the refrig right now!
    I put it into a big pot, cover it with water....add the flavor packet that comes with.....and set it on a very low simmer....Do NOT hard boil it....just so bubbles barely break the surface. Plan on 30 minutes per pound.
    When there is about 40 minutes left to go on your cooking time, add cut up peeled red potatoes....or small sized ones not peeled nor cut...chunks of peeled carrots and small peeled onions...or quartered larger onions. Add enough to feed who ever you are feeding. I figure 3 small potatoes and 2 carrots per person. Turn the heat up until it comes back to a simmer and start timing from then.
    Wash and cut your cabbage into serving size wedges.
    When the potatoes and carrots are done, scoop them out and cover and keep warm, dip some of the broth out and put into a pan to cover the cabbage ( meanwhile the meat is cooling in the broth) and simmer the cabbage in the broth until done to your liking.
    Drain the cabbage, remove the meat and slice thinly and serve with the vegetables.
    The broth, which does not taste of cabbage, is great as a base, with some chicken broth or water, for pea soup or lentils. But be careful as it's very salty.

    Boiling the corned beef removes a lot of the salt. Some people roast it but that's too much like salty bacon for my taste.

    If you bought a big enough piece of meat, there should be some left for sandwiches....but don't count on it!!

    Corned beef shrinks a lot, so don't be surprised.
    Linda C

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you Linda C. I made a mental bet that you would be the first responder! I am going to visit my family in Ohio this coming week and will have the day on Thursday to cook while my brother has some surgery. Now I know what to shop for. It will keep me busy and then provide food for family in and out of the house in the evening. They're big eaters, so maybe not too many leftovers!!

    seagrass

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  • sushipup1
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Or get two pieces of meat. One small one works just for the two of us with the leftovers; we're greedy about our leftovers! Just reading this makes me hungry!

  • lindac
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    As I said.....corned beef shrinks a lot....depending on how many....perhaps 2 pieces would be good. I figure a 4 1/4 lb piece of brisket will feed 6 hungry people.
    Hope your brother recovers rapidly.
    Linda c

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks again - I'm thinking I will have to get 2 pieces based on this info. I know my Mom has big pots because she does a lot of cooking for her church and makes cauldrons of soup. So that won't be a problem. I'm sure my brother will be ok. But we all want to be there for him.

    seagrass

  • jude31
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This is not a T&T recipe but one I plan to cook in the slow cooker.

    Cuisine at home e-Recipes

    Marmalade-Glazed Corned Beef with Carrots & Potatoes

    Makes 6 servings Total time 4 to 5 hrs (high heat), 8 to 9 hours (low heat)

    FOR THE BEEF:

    3 lb. corned beef brisket, rinsed and trimmed

    1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes (4-5), skin left on and scrubbed

    1/2 lb. carrots (3-4), peeled and cut into 2-in. pieces

    1 C. lager-style beer

    Seasoning packet (optional)

    FOR THE GLAZE

    1/2 C. orange marmalade

    1/4 C. whiskey or apple juice

    2 T. ketchup

    2 T. white wine vinegar

    Combine beef, potatoes, carrots and beer in a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker. (Add seasoning packet if desired.) Cover, cook until beef is fork-tender, on high-heat setting for 4-5 hours, or on low-heat setting for 8-9 hours. Remove beef and vegetables. Discard liquid.

    Whisk together marmalade, whiskey or juice, ketchup and vinegar; brush over corned beef.

    Preheat broiler to high with oven rack 6-8 inches from the element. Transfer meat to a broiler pan coated with non-stick spray; broil until glaze carmelizes, 5 minutes.

    Thinly slice corned beef against the grain, quarter potatoes. Serve beef with carrots, potatoes and Buttered Cabbage.

    And then...I want to use LindaC's recipe the next time.

    jude

  • annie1992
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Corned beef DOES shrink a lot, I'm always hoping that it means that the fat is melting out. Somehow I doubt it.

    LindaC and I are going to part ways on this because I like the flat, and not the point. Here the points are on sale for $1.49 per pound and the flats are $2.29 a pound, so I bought the point anyway. I do mine in the crockpot, so I can cook it for 8 hours on low and have it for supper, I put cabbage wedges on the bottom of the pot, the meat on top, add a couple of quarts of water and let it cook. We have mashed potatoes with ours, so I don't cook the potatoes with the meat.

    I have used the broth for peas or beans, but I use half broth and half water because it is extremely salty.

    Leftovers are corned beef hash, which I think I like better than the corned beef itself.

    good luck to your brother, I hope everything goes well and he has a quick and complete recovery.

    Annie

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    It is very easy to make your own corned beef.

    You can corn your own beef without using potasium nitrade and much less salt.

    I have one in the refrigerator now waiting for St. Pat's day.

    dcarch

  • lindac
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have been known to cook a corned beef and never eat it hot....just save it for sandwiches....

  • jessyf
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    (I subject mine to our pressure cooker for an hour, cool then open and add the potatoes/carrots followed by the cabbage....)

  • kframe19
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I pressure cook my corned beef, too. A LOT faster, and also makes it nice and tender.

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks to everyone. I'm armed with facts and can go shopping for corned beef when I get to my mother's. I think I'll buy both cuts since there will be a number of people to feed and since I'm curious about the difference between the two. Root vegetables and cabbage are inexpensive, so that's good. My family are BIG eaters.

    seagrass

  • jessyf
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oh and we serve ours with sweet-hot mustard on the side as well.

    Enjoy, seagrass!

  • lindac
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    since Jessica omitted it....here's the recipe I use....from the side of the mustard can years ago.

    Sweet Hot Mustard
    1/4 c. Coleman's dry mustard ( Must be Coleman's or it will be bitter!)
    1 1/2 T. cornstarch
    1/2 t. salt
    1/4 c. sugar
    2/3 cup water
    1/3 cup cider vinegar
    Mix mustard with a little water and allow to stand. Mix cornstarch, salt, and sugar with the rest of the water until smooth. Add vinegar and cook over low heat stirring constantly for 5 minutes, remove from heat, cool slightly and add mustard mix.

    Also...in some areas of New England, it's traditional to serve boiled beets with the corned beef, carrots potatoes and onions. Then the next day you put all the leftovers into the meat grinder and fry it up for red flannel hash.
    Linda C

  • colleenoz
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I add a quart bottle of ginger ale or sprite/seven up to the cooking water which reduces the saltiness somewhat. Also you should leave the leftover corned beef in the cooking liquid until it is cool (refrigerate in the liquid then discard liquid when it is cold) to keep it moist and tender.

  • annie1992
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    dcarch, I corned my own beef a couple of years ago, and decided that it was definitely not worth it...

    I've also glazed mine with a mixture of mustard and orange marmalade, the girls loved it but I like mine more savory than sweet.

    I just took mine out of the crockpot, took the fat cap off, then realized there was a thick vein of fat right in the middle of the point, so it was effectively split into two layers. Sigh. I sliced it, but the lean part was only about 3/4 of an inch thick on each half, not very big slices. :-(

    And that's what I get for buying cut rate corned beef...

    Annie

  • foodonastump
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Last year I made it. Not only did I pay about twice as much for the brisket as I would have for corned beef, but then add in the spices I had to buy. And yes, I used potassium nitrate and couldn't get it up for a week. (Ok, just kidding about that part!) To add insult to injury, it didn't turn out very good. I had a few slices and that was about it. Alton Brown's recipe. Needless to say, if we have corned beef this year it'll be premade. As for the leftover saltpetre, every now and then we have fun with smoke bombs. I think Jimster recommended that at the time.

  • sheilajoyce_gw
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I prefer to serve corned beef with some nice dinner rolls that can be used to build tastey sandwiches with mustard.

  • colleenoz
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I forgot to add we like to serve corned beef with hollandaise sauce to which I have added a large dollop of seeded mustard.

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am collating a lot of info on this. My mother laughs at me, the lengths I go to in terms of cooking things, designing my garden, choosing home decor, etc... I love her dearly but what I care about is completely under her radar.

    I like a horseradish sauce with beef. I've mixed sour cream, commercial horseradish and grainy French mustard with great success. I think that's what I'll put on the side with the corned beef. But of course, that's adding to the cost because I'll have to buy all of those ingredients, too.

    My personal rule about eating anything when I go home is if I didn't see it come into the house, it's not going on my plate. The refrigerator is full of stuff way past the pull date. The potatoes and onions are always sprouting and the bread and cheese usually have a slight fuzzy green thing going. Mold on top of jars of jelly, etc...

    But we'll save that topic for another day. seagrass

  • arley_gw
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Pressure cooking is the way to go for this. Here's an adaptation of Miss Vickie's recipe, which I rewrote for a nephew who is a cooking novice:

    Corned Beef with Cabbage and Potatoes

    A pressure cooker makes this traditional St. Paddy's day meal much easier. Ordinarily, a corned beef brisket would take 3 or 4 hours to cook. Here it's about a third of that, and most of that time you're not having to do anything. From a meal-planning standpoint, this is a very convenient dish. A packaged corn beef brisket stays good in the fridge for several weeks, and a cabbage has a long storage life as well,so you can have those items available in your fridge for cooking at the last minute. You can make it with just cabbage, or throw in some root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Either way, it's ridiculously easy and good. The leftovers (if there are any!!!) make excellent sandwiches or hash.

    4 cups water
    2 large bay leaves
    3 to 5 lb corned beef brisket
    4 lbs potatoes, scrubbed
    1 small (2 1/2 lb) green cabbage

    Put the water in a 6 qt or larger pressure cooker. Add the bay leaves. Put corned beef in pressure cooker, fatty side up, along with any juices from the package and the contents of any spice pack that may have been packed with the beef. Don't worry if the brisket doesn't fit on the bottom; just let one side point upwards along the side of the cooker. (It's going to shrink a huge amount, probably 50%.) Arrange the potatoes on top of the beef.
    Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure and adjust the burner to keep it just at high pressure. Pressure cook it on high for about 55-60 minutes for a 3 pound brisket, 65 minutes for a 4 pound brisket, or 70-75 minutes for a 5 pound brisket. Then allow the pressure to go down naturally (that is, don't vent the cooker or put it under cold water)--that might take as long as 15 minutes. During that time, trim the cabbage: remove the outer layer or two of leaves, cut the cabbage in half (pole to pole, not through the equator). Cut the dense core out of the stem end of each half and discard. Cut the halves in thirds lengthwise (along meridians, not across the equator). Once the pressure is down, open the cooker and remove the potatoes to a platter, covering with aluminum foil to keep warm. Put the brisket to a platter, fatty side up. If there is less than 1 cup of liquid in the cooker, add sufficient water to make 1 cup. Put the cabbage in the cooker, put the top on, and return the cooker to high--once on high, cook for 3 minutes. You can bring the pressure down quickly now, either by venting the pressure cooker or by putting the cooker in the sink and running cold water over it. Open the cooker and scoop out the cabbage, allowing it to drain, and place it on the platter.

    Don't try to carve the corned beef until it has rested for a while--it'll shred to bits. Remove a lot of the surface fat from the beef by scraping it with a blunt instrument like a teaspoon. Carve by starting at one corner, carving the corned beef across the grain--otherwise it'll be stringy.

    Guinness stout goes very well with this.

    Variations: instead of water, use stout or beer or any combination of those three liquids.

  • shaun
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I had a friend who used to boil her corned beef until about an hour until it was done, then she'd take it out, put in into a baking dish, top it with a can of pears, includng the juice, cover and bake it for an hour more.

    Those pears gave it such a nice flavor. I didn't think I'd like it but I did!

    FOAS - hahahah!!!

  • dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Posted by FOAS"-- And yes, I used potassium nitrate and couldn't get it up ------"

    The reason why you couldn't get your stump up was because you were doing it the wrong way.

    Correct formula for using saltpeter to get the stump up: 75% of saltpeter, 15% of carbon and 10% of sulfur - composition for black gun powder.

    Getting it up: Stump

    dcarch :-)

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What, exactly, is saltpeter?? I don't understand the concept of "corning". Is anything else besides beef "corned"?

    Why is it necessary - or was it a way to preserve food in days of yore?

    seagrass

  • eileenlaunonen
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I add lots of garlic and onion to the water and 2 large cans of Guinness!!!!!!!! YUM.....CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • foodonastump
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    dcarch - LMAO!!!

    What, exactly, is saltpeter??

    I'm not well-versed with this. All I know is that it's potassium nitrate and it makes corned beef pink, was used for curing in the past but I believe no longer due to health issues. The only way I could buy it was via an independent pharmacist, who ordered a pound of it for me. It is labeled "for technical use only," along with the warning, "If swallowed, immediately induce vomiting. Get medical attention immediately." No worries, I think sodium nitrate has replaced it commercially.

  • annie1992
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Seagrass, beef was originally corned, or salt cured, as a method of preservation. Saltpeter has been replaced by pink salt, also known as Prague Powder #1, a curing salt containing sodium nitrite and sodium chloride.

    It's still probably not good for you, but it's available commercially from places like Butcher/Packer in Detroit, where I get things like sausage casings and supplies.

    I don't think anything except beef gets corned, but I sure don't know why.

    Annie

  • lindac
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Salt peter is sodium nitrate....pink salt contains sodium nitrite
    Sodium nitrite prevents bacterial growth in meats and is used for sausages as well as corned beef.It's a component of cured meats....ham, corned beef, sausages, wursts hot doge etc....
    Pragues powder and pink salt are salts containing a percentage of sodium nitrite.

  • jessyf
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Keeping....mouth....shut...about...stumpy....

    Bet his wife didn't notice the difference


    (I hid my post, grin, but my kid found it pretty quickly)

  • foodonastump
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    HEY!!!

  • chase_gw
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    LOL

    Annie Canadian Pea Meal bacon is pork loin that is "corned" then rolled in corn meal.

  • jessyf
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    darfc.....

  • annie1992
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Actually, LindaC, ordinary saltpeter is potassium nitrate, and the stuff in pink salt (also called chile saltpeter) is sodium nitrate. Why is one better or worse for you than the other? Darned if I know, I think it's all probably bad for you.

    You're right, sharon, peameal bacon is a similar brine to corned beef, the only difference is the spices. I didn't think of that.

    And I want to know WHICH saltpeter FOAS used, so I can make sure Elery and I can stay away from that!

    Annie

  • foodonastump
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I used potassium nitrate. I think at issue is nitrates vs nitrites, but I could be wrong. It's been over a year since I read up on it, and I'm not famous for my memory.

    Yesterday at my upper-scale market I saw huge slabs of corned beef, ready to be cut to order. The meat must have been at least two inches thick, and the sign said something like "old fashioned tub style corned beef." (As I recall.) I think it was 4.99/lb which is expensive for corned beef, but on the other hand I'm probably the only one who would eat it anyway so this would give me an opportunity to buy a relatively small hunk. Any thoughts on how this would vary from the packages in the meat case?

  • gardengrl
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I use a sort of hybrid method from everyone's corned beef cooking suggestions:

    - I cook mine in the crockpot like Annie, except I add half water and a bottle of good, stout beer.
    - I add the flavor packet, but I also add a bay leaf and a tablespoon of whole peppercorns.
    - When it's done, I scoop out some of the juice into my pressure cooker to cook the potatoes and cabbage for 8 minutes...easy peasy!

    I serve it all up with some spicy mustard, maybe some dark bread, and beer! Yum! Definitely not a dish we eat regulary, but soooooo good.

  • colleenoz
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    In the olden :-) days they corned mutton and pork (salt pork) as well. It was simply a method of preserving pre-refrigeration days. From memory the term "corn" refers to the size of the pickling salt crystals, which were larger than table salt crystals, more the size of a grain of "corn" (which was the old name for wheat, hence the "Corn Laws" which caused so much misery in potato famine Ireland).

  • dgkritch
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I "corned" a beef arm roast from my awesome local beef this year.
    Amazingly, it does still retain a little pinkness even without all the nitrites.
    It's delicious and far less fatty.
    Just waiting for the right day to eat it!!

    Beef tongue can also be "pickled" using exactly the same method as making corned beef. In fact, I did that at the same time!

    You can "corn" just about any meat. Flavors and textures will vary obviously. It really is nothing more than a seasoned brine.
    Leave it for a week or so, then cook. Very, very easy.

    Deanna

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    Original Author
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    And then there's the "corn" dog...

  • arley_gw
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This is somewhat OT, but as long as we're talking about saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate):

    During the Civil War, the South had shortages of many items. One of the more critical ones was saltpeter, which is crucial for making gunpowder. A certain Judge John Haralson devised a way to extract potassium nitrate (also called 'nitre') from urine, and commenced upon a crusade to have the ladies of the Confederacy collect the contents of their chamber pots so they could make gunpowder. (I'm not making any of this up. Seriously.)

    When the word of this effort came out, there were several satirical ditties published. I have take one of the more widely circulated ones and bowdlerized it a bit to help evade the screening software, but I have no doubts that the intrepid denizens of this forum can (literally) fill in the blanks.

    I
    "Jno Haralson! Jno Haralson!
    We read in song and story
    That women's in all these years,
    Have sprinkled fields of glory;
    But never was it told before
    That how, midst scenes of slaughter
    Your Southern beauties dried their tears
    And went to making water.

    II
    No wonder, Jno., your boys were brave
    Who would not be a fighter
    If every time he shot his gun
    He used his sweetheart's nitre?
    And, vice verse what could make
    A Yankee soldier sadder
    Than dodging bullets fired from
    A pretty woman's bladder.

    III
    They say there was a subtle smell
    That lingered in the powder;
    And as the smoke grew thicker,
    And the din of battle grew louder
    That there was found in this compound
    This serious objection;
    The soldiers could not sniff it in
    Without getting an e________n."

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