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Corned Beef Cooking Basics

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Corned beef is made from one of several less-tender cuts of beef like the brisket, rump or round. Therefore, it requires long, moist cooking. Keep food safety in mind when preparing the corned beef. It can be cooked on top of the stove or in the oven, microwave or slow cooker (see information below).

"Fork-tender" is a good indication of doneness, but use a meat thermometer to be sure. Cook until the internal temperature has reached at least 160 degrees F.

Corned beef may still be pink in color after cooking. This does not mean it is not done. Nitrite is used in the curing process. This fixes pigment in the meat and affects the color.

Allow the brisket to stand for about ten minutes after removing from the heat. This will make it easier to slice, and it is best sliced diagonally across the grain of the meat.

The USDA does not recommend one particular cooking method as best. Following are methods from various sources. The cooking times are based on corned beef that is not frozen at the time of cooking. Whichever method you choose, be sure the beef reaches an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F to ensure it is safely cooked.

OVEN: Set the oven for 350 degrees F or no lower than 325 degrees F. Place brisket fat-side up. Barely cover the meat with water -- about one inch -- and keep the container covered throughout the cooking time. Allow about one hour per pound.

STOVE TOP: Place brisket fat-side up in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring the water to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer, allowing about one hour per pound. Vegetables may be added during the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking. Cook to desired tenderness.

SLOW COOKER: If using root vegetables, put them in the bottom of slow cooker. Cut brisket into pieces of like size to ensure thorough cooking. Place brisket on top of vegetables (if using) or in bottom of cooker. Add about 1-1/2 cups of water or enough to cover meat. Cover and cook on high setting for the first hour of cooking. Then cook for 10 to 12 hours on the low setting or 5 to 6 hours on high. Cabbage wedges may be added on top of the brisket during the last three hours of cooking.

MICROWAVE: Calculate cooking time at 20 to 30 minutes per pound. Place brisket in a large casserole dish and add 1-1/2 cups of water. Cover with lid or vented plastic wrap and microwave on medium-low (30 percent power) for half the estimated time. Turn meat over and rotate dish. Microwave on high for remainder of time or until fork tender. Vegetables may be added during the final 30 minutes of cooking.

Some consumers prefer to cook corned beef ahead of time. It is easier to cut uniform slices when corned beef is cold. Cooking ahead also makes it easier to reheat and serve later.

After cooking a whole corned beef, cut it into several pieces for faster cooling -- or slice it, if you like. Place the beef in small, shallow containers and cool it in the refrigerator quickly.

Any corned beef left over from a meal should be refrigerated promptly -- within two hours of cooking or reheating. Use cooked-ahead or leftover corned beef within 3 to 4 days or freeze up to 2 months.

Learn to make your own Corned Beef

Also the Perfect Corned Beef and Cabbage

Get it all in this book, plus curing salt and spices for making your own Corned Beef.


We explore recipes, and their history and how to best make
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Pickling Spice, 1 Lb Jar  



 Meat Marinade Injector - Commercial-Grade stainless steel heavy duty injector with 6" detachable needle with 12 holes. .


Traditional Irish Boiling Bacon



The Irish Country Kitchen  


Feasting Galore Irish-Style: Recipes and Food Lore from the Emerald Isle  


Recipes for Corned Beef and Cabbage

How to "Corn" your own Beef


A Guide to Making the Perfect Corned Beef and Cabbage

The Tradition of Corned Beef and Cabbage


Corned Beef and Cabbage is basically an American tradition on St. Patrick's
Day started by irish-Americans in the mid 1800's

Some Irish people feel that corned beef and cabbage is about as Irish as spaghetti and meatballs.

Since cows were used for milk rather than meat in poor times in Ireland, beef was a delicacy that was fed to kings. It was more common to celebrate a holiday meal with what they call a ham (Gammon) or bacon joint. ( a cured but unsmoked piece of pork) with their cabbage and potatoes. When many Irish Immigrants came over in the mid 1800’s they couldn’t find a bacon joint like they had in Ireland, so they found that Jewish corned beef was very similar in texture, and they used that for their holiday celebrations.

an Irish Bacon Joint, available here
Irish Grub

Corned Beef, A Rite of Spring
Some say that Corned beef was a great Spring celebration meal because often this cured beef sat in crocks all winter and was brought out in the Spring to celebrate.

Abraham Lincoln’s Innagural Dinner
was Corned Beef and Cabbage.
More information here
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