Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe
Stove-Top Recipe - Slow Cooker (Crock Pot) Recipe


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My family and I look forward to enjoying corned beef and cabbage dinner as part of celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day every year. This is a great no-fuss meal to serve on Saint Patrick's Day or any day that you desire. We have also learned to fry up the leftovers for breakfast the next day to make the Corned Beef Bubble and Squeak.

Here’s a wonderful traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe to go with your Corned Beef and Cabbage meal. Irish soda bread can be found in homes and markets all over Ireland. In the United States, Irish Soda bread is popular when celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day. You might also want to try this wonderful Guinness Beef Stew - Irish Beef Stew as it is also excellent served with Irish Soda Bread.

More of great Soup, Stew, and Chili Recipes.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage


History of Corned Beef and Cabbage:

ShamrockYou may be surprised as I was to learn that the traditional dish of Corned Beef and Cabbage loved by so many on Saint Patrick’s Day, actually originated in New York City and not Ireland!

We can thank the Irish American immigrants of New York City for the creation of Corned Beef and Cabbage. Starting at the end of the 1800’s, the Irish potato famine led to a huge influx of Irish immigrants settling in the United States, which continued steadily for the next 100 years. Back in Ireland, corned beef was around, but it was expensive and only affordable to the British land owners. Pork with potatoes was the regular diet staple of the common Irish man, and they especially loved Irish bacon which is a smoked and salted pork loin.

These new Irish American immigrants discovered pork was too expensive in the United States so they adapted to beef in their diet which was in abundance and less expensive to their pocket books. Also since the Irish working class lived so close to the Jewish population in New York City, they frequented Jewish delis and were delighted to discover that corned beef had a very similar taste to the Irish bacon they loved. Corned beef provided a tasty and affordable alternative to pork. Potatoes were easy to get in America, however many poor Irish families had to turn to cabbage since it was an even cheaper vegetable. They found the saltiness of the corned beef provided a nice flavor for the cabbage and it was a simple meal to prepare and feed the family and came close to reminding them of their favorite homeland meal.

Corned Beef and Cabbage became popular across the United States as a means to feed a family a cheap hearty meal. As Saint Patrick’s Day in America became an important day for Irish Americans to celebrate their Irish heritage, Corned Beef and Cabbage also became a tradition to enjoy on this holiday across the United States. So if you decide to visit Ireland during the Saint Patrick’s Holiday, you may find corned beef and cabbage on the menu at some restaurants, but the only people eating it will be the tourists.

1762 - The first Saint Patrick’s Day parade was held in New York City and not in Ireland!

1862 - Corned Beef and Cabbage was one of the menu items served at President Lincoln’s inauguration dinner.

1885 - Grover Cleveland, known for his love of food, was dismayed by the elaborate food offerings as he took his new Presidential office. The White House meals struck him as just too fancy since he inherited a French chef, put in place by his predecessor, Chester A. Arthur. One evening, as his dinner was served to him, he smelled the appetizing aroma of corned beef and cabbage drifting in from the servants quarters. He instructed his chef “Take this dinner down to the servants and bring their dinner to me.” He declared it the best meal he had in months!

Sources:

History Channel - Hungry History, Corned Beef and Cabbage: As Irish as Spaghetti and Meatballs, by Stephanie Butler, March 15, 2013.

United States Department of Agriculture: USDA Blog, How Corned Beef and Cabbage Became a Holiday Staple, by Craig Morris, March 15, 2013.

Riverfront Times, Gut Check, Fun Facts: President’s and Food - Grover Cleveland, by Ian Froeb, February 26, 2009.
 



About Corned Beef:

Corned Beef Brisket (also known as salt beef if you live in the UK) is a cut of meat (brisket) that has been cured (or pickled) in a seasoned brine. The brisket is a tough cut (meaning chewy). It is very flavorful and demands slow, low cooking. The brisket is a cut of beef from the breast or lower chest, right underneath the chuck at the front where there is a lot of connective tissue that supports the weight and movement of the animal. Long, slow cooking in moisture is necessary to tenderize the cut.

Corning is a form of curing that has nothing to do with corn. Corning was a method of preserving meat for storage before refrigeration was available. The Meat was dry-cured in coarse "corns" of salt. Pellets of salt, some the size of kernels of corn, were rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it. It would take 4-5 weeks to “corn” a beef with this method.


How To Purchase Corned Beef Brisket:

Today you can by a brine cured corned beef at the store. A salt water brine has replaced the dry salt cure, but the name "corned beef" is still used, rather than "brined" or "pickled" beef. Spices that give corned beef its distinctive flavor are usually peppercorns and bay leaf, but spices may vary by regions.

A whole brisket is comprised of two sections - the point and flat (plank) cut. When cooked together, the fat from the point section bastes the leaner flat section. When buying a brisket you can choose between:

  • Point cut - The point cut is a rounder, thicker cut with more fat on it then the flat cut.
  • Flat (or plank) cut - from the round is one of the five leanest cuts of beef, so if you're looking for something a little lighter, this is the beef for you.

Look for a nice thick cut of corned beef with not too much fat on the outside, otherwise you will need to trim the fat down to 1/4-inch thickness. Corned beef shrinks abut 50%. For generous servings and leftovers, purchase abut 1 pound per person. Most grocery stores carry uncooked corned beef briskets that are pre-packaged and already brined - so all you have to do is braise it. Remember, leftovers can be used for tomorrow’s dinner, or you can freeze them for future use.

Remember: leaner meats aren't as tender as their fattier counterparts, so you'll want to add a tenderizer like beer to "soften" the meat.

Roast Sizes:

  • Whole Corned Beef Brisket - Averages 12 to 14 pounds
  • First-Cut Corned Beef Brisket averages 6 to 8 pounds
  • Half First-Cut Corned Beef Brisket - Averages 3 to 4 pounds


Corned Beef Package and Storage Times:

USDA Food and Safety guidelines

corned beef in shrink wrapUncooked corned beef in a pouch with pickling juices which has a “sell-by” date or no date may be stored 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator (40 °F or less), unopened.Products with a “use-by” date can be stored unopened in the refrigerator until that date.

Drained and well wrapped, uncooked corned beef brisket, may be frozen for 1 month for best quality. It’s recommended to drain the brine because salt encourages rancidity and texture changes. The flavor and texture will diminish with prolonged freezing, but the product is still safe. After cooking, corned beef may be refrigerated for about 3 to 4 days and frozen for about 2 to 3 months for best quality.


Preparation:

Briskets are usually shrink-wrapped in brining solution so a good method of preparing your corned beef starts in your CLEAN kitchen sink. Place the shrink-wrapped corned beef in the clean sink and cut open the shrink wrap packaging. The flat cut brisket usually has very little juice in it; the point cut package will be juicier as it is filled with brine, Keep food safety in mind when preparing corned beef.


Corned Beef Cooking Methods:

When cooking your corned beef the Internal temperature of the cooked brisket should be at least 165 to 170 degrees F.

OVEN: Set the oven for 350 °F or no lower than 325 °F. Place brisket fat-side up. Barely cover the meat with liquid about 1 inch. Keep the brisket covered throughout the cooking time. Allow about 1 hour per pound.

OVEN COOKING BAG: Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Add 1 tablespoon of flour to the bag plus 1/2 cup liquid. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for closing the bag. For a 2 to 3-pound corned beef brisket, cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. For a 3 to 5-pound corned beef brisket, cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

STOVE: Place brisket fat-side up in a large pot and cover it with liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, allowing about 1 hour per pound. Vegetables may be added during the last 45 minutes of cooking. Cook vegetables to desired tenderness.

SLOW COOKER:If using root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, put them in the bottom of slow cooker. Place brisket on top of vegetables (if using) or in bottom of cooker. Add about 1-1/2 cups of liquid 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 3 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 liquid. 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.


Sources:

FOCUS ON: Corned Beef, Why Eat Corned Beef on St. Patrick's Day; by Food Safety and Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture, March 1995.

The Fastest Way to Cook a Beef Brisket; by Global Post, International News, 2014.

Meat of the Month: March; by Redfields Meats and Deli.

Corned Beef and Food Safety; by USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service, August 2013.

Corned Beef…Brisket or Round? by Mary Ellen Burris, Wegmans, March 2013.
 


Shop What's Cooking America - Easy on-line shopping for all your Corned Beef and Cabbage making needs such as soup pots, cast iron Dutch ovens, crock pots/slow cookers, soup bowls, and Linda's favorite Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.



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Beer-Braised Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe:

Recipe Type: Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, Vegetables, Slow Cooker - Crock Pot
Cuisine: Mid-Atlantic (New York)
Yields: serves many
Prep time: 15 min
Stove top cook time: 3 hrs
Slow cooker time: 4 to 5 hrs on high or 8 hrs on low


Ingredients:

4 to 6 pounds whole raw corned beef brisket (see how to purchase above)
3 tablespoon olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Seasoning (spice) packet
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
1 pint (16-ounce) bottle stout dark beer, divided
2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch length pieces
1 (2-pound) head of savory
cabbage, cut through the core into 8 wedges
Beer Glaze (see recipe below)


Preparation:

If your corned beef brisket comes in a package pre-brined, to reduce sodium, you may rinse the corned beef in water before cooking, if desired.

Place large heavy skillet, pot, or my preference a cast iron skillet or cast-iron Dutch oven on pre-heated medium-high stove burner. Add olive oil, chopped garlic, and seasoning packet from the corned beef package.

Place corn beef into pan, fat side up and lightly sear the meat for 4 minutes. Add onion wedges and then slowly pour 1/2 bottle of dark beer (about 1-inch) in the bottom of pan and bring just to a boil.

searing corned beef

adding onion to corned beef

pouring beer into corned beef

Searing the corned beef Add onion wedges Pouring beer over the corned beef

Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and let simmer for approximately 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender or about 165 to 170 degrees F. internally on your instant-read meat thermometer.

This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. Originally designed for professional users, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world.

While the corned beef is simmering, clean potatoes and cut into 2-inch wedges. Try to keep each piece the same size for even cooking. Also clean or peel carrots and cut into 2-inch size rounds.

After the corned beef is cooked, add potatoes and carrots to the corned beef. Place vegetables around the meat and over the top, pour in the remaining 1/2 bottle of beer to keep 1 inch at bottom of pan, and replace cover. Cook for another 45 minutes then add the cabbage wedges by nestling into the pot and cover.

cabbage added to corned beef

Potatoes and carrots added

Prepare Beer Glaze and set aside.

Preheat broiler in your oven. Prepare a large baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil, set aside.

When the brisket is done cooking, remove vegetables around meat. Remove meat from pan and place in the foil lined baking pan, fat side up. about 1 cup of the beer from the pan and add to the previously prepared Beer Glaze mix; whisk together and set aside.

Return the potatoes and carrots to the stove top pan, add cabbage wedges and cover, let simmer on low.

Finish the prepared Beer Glaze by adding an additional 1 cup of the beer liquid (from the corned beef pot) and whisk together.

Trim the fat from the top of the cooked corned beef, leaving 1/8-inch layer of fat. Spread 1/2 of the Beer Glaze over the top of the fat. Place the glazed corned beef under the broiler 6 inches from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until richly browned. Turn the corned beef over and spread the remaining Beer Glaze over the top of the meat, and broil for another 3 to 4 minutes.

corned beef beer glaze

Beer Glaze poured over the top of the cooked corned beef

Remove from the broiler. Allow the brisket to stand for about 20 minutes after removing from the heat (this will make it easier to slice). Carve the corned beef across the grain into thin slices.

Arrange the meat on a serving platter with the vegetables and potatoes. Serve with a selection of mustards and creamy horseradish sauce.

Serves many.


Beer Glaze:

3 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 cup of beer

In a small bowl, mixing together the mustard, honey, and black pepper; set aside.
 

 




slow cookeerSlow Cooker (Crock Pot) Method:

4 to 6 pounds whole raw corned beef brisket (see how to purchase above)
Seasoning (spice) packet*
1 head cabbage, outer leaves removed and cut into wedges along the spine.
6 to 8 medium red, white or Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on, halved or quartered
4 to 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 to 3-inch length pieces
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into large wedges
1 (12-ounce) bottle stout dark beer (Guiness preferred)
2 to 3 (32-ounce) containers of chicken stock or broth**
Salt and pepper to taste

* 1/2 teaspoon white and black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, and 1/4 teaspoon cardamom can be substituted if the seasoning packet was not included with the cut of corned beef brisket.

** Water can be used instead of chicken stock. Learn how to make Chicken Stock - Basic Chicken Stock.
 

Preparation:

Preheat crock pot/slow cooker on high for 1 hour.

If your corned beef brisket comes in a package pre-brined, to reduce sodium, you may rinse the corned beef in water before cooking, if desired.

Place potatoes, carrots, and onions in one layer at the bottom of the preheated slow cooker. Place the brisket, fat side down, over the vegetables. Add additional vegetables along the side of the meat if desired. Open the seasoning packet, that came with the brisket, and sprinkle the spices over the meat. Pour the beer and then enough chicken stock over the corned beef brisket until completely covered.

adding vegetables to Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage Seasoning Packet

adding beer to Corned Beef and Cabbage

Vegetables placed on bottom of slow cooker

Seasoning (Spice) Packet

Pouring beer over the seasoned corned beef brisket


Cook on high heat for 4 to 5 hours or on low heat for 8 hours or until the meat is fork tender or about 165 to 170 degrees F. internally on your instant-read meat thermometer.

When potatoes are tender, add cabbage and push down to immerse in the liquid. Cover with lid and continue to cook for 20 more minutes or until cabbage is tender. Remove cabbage and carrots with slotted spoon to let drain and place on a serving platter.

Remove the boiled potatoes to let drain. As a tasty option you can make these delicious Boiled Parsley Potatoes to serve with the Corned Beef and Cabbage (just adjust recipe ingredients for a smaller quantity of potatoes).

adding cabbage to Corned Beef and Cabbage

Adding cabbage to corned beef brisket

Remove corned beef brisket from slow cooker. Allow the brisket to stand for about 20 minutes after removing from the heat (this will make it easier to slice). Slice across the grain (perpendicular) into nice thick slabs and add to serving platter along with the cooked vegetables.

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.

Serves many.




Additional St. Patrick's Day Recipes:
 

Irish Colcannon
Irish Colcannon Potatoes - Mashed Potato with Kale and Bacon
Colcannon is true Irish soul food. The dish consists of mashing together buttery mashed potatoes with cooked kale or cabbage and leeks for flavoring.

Bubble and Squeak
Corned Beef Bubble and Squeak
Bubble and Squeak is a traditional Monday lunch in England to take the leftover potatoes and vegetables from Sunday supper and fry it up to enjoy for lunch the next day. The odd name is said to come from the noises made while cooking it.
 

Guinness Stew
Guinness Beef Stew - Irish Beef Stew
Most every pub you visit in Ireland will offer Beef and Guinness Stew on the menu. Stewing the beef in Guinness stout beer tenderizes the beef and adds a robust, malty flavor to the stew.

Irish Soda Bread
Irish Soda Bread
Here’s a wonderful traditional Irish Soda bread recipe that can be found in homes and markets all over Ireland. In the United States, Irish Soda bread is popular to accompany Corned Beef and Cabbage when celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
Chocolate Guinness Cake
Chocolate Guinness Cake is a wonderfully dense and moist chocolate cake that is not overly sweet yet the chocolate flavor is still rich with a hint of malt. This is great dessert idea to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day or enjoy any time of the year.



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