Corned Beef Basics

First seen in Irish-American households in New York’s Lower East Side around the 1880’s, Irish immigrants were looking for something that would approximate the Irish bacon from their native Ireland. They found a cheaper alternative to Irish bacon from their of Jewish neighbors. If you smoke corned beef and add black pepper and other spices you have pastrami.

Many cooks want to copy this traditional Irish-American recipe on Saint Patrick’s Day. Finding a good recipe for cooking corned beef and cabbage that is easy to follow can be difficult, but this recipe is very easy even for a beginning Irish chef. Don’t forget a good Irish beer like Harp or Guinness or try a good micro-brewed stout, local is best.

The First Step In Cooking Corned Beef

Organization is the key whenever you start cooking and cooking corned beef is no exception. First, make sure that all of the utensils and ingredients you need are ready, you don’t want to start looking for that one spice you thought you had. As far as utensils, make sure you have measuring cups, spoons, knives and of course a pan big enough to cook the corned beef in. When cooking corned beef, selecting a cut of meat is important.

Meat Selection Is Very Important

What is corned beef anyway? Corning refers to the way the beef has been cured. Before there was any refrigeration salt was used to cure meat. The salt was placed on the meat in rows called “corns”. Today, beef brisket is cured in a salt-water brine to give it the traditional corned beef taste.

Freshness is important so before you start cooking, make sure you check the dates on the package. It is important to purchase a package that is fresh. If there is a sale on, you can freeze a sealed package of corned beef for 2 to 3 months, just make sure that the package is airtight. Leftovers are fresh for 3 to 4 day after cooking corned beef.

How To Cook Corned Beef

Corned beef may require a long cooking time to make it as tender as possible. Several options are available when cooking corned beef. You can cook the corned beef in the oven, with a slow cooker or even on the stove. Remember, like many peasant cuts of meat corned beef needs to a long cooking time. Because of the way corned beef is processed it may be slightly pink, even after cooking completely. You do not need to add any spices, but you can if you want to. Here are some suggestions, powdered mustard (English), thyme and parsley stalks.

It is important to place the meat fat side up if you are cooking corned beef in the oven. When a thermometer in the center of the cut reads 350 degrees it is done. To make the corned beef really tender, cover the corned beef with water in the pot. Remember, you need a big pot. Expect to cook the meat about an hour for each pound of meat.

Crock-pot cooking is an easy and convenient method of cooking corned beef. Cooking with a crock-pot allows you to cook the vegetables along with the meat. First, place the vegetables on the bottom of the crock-pot. Next, make sure you cut the corned beef in pieces. This allows the corned beef to cook completely. Next add about one cup of water, the cabbage will also add lots of water to the pot. Cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 6-8 hours.

Cooking corned beef on the stove is similar to cooking it in the oven. First, place the meat fat side up in a large pan and add vegetables if you would like. Next, cover the meat with water and bring the to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about one hour per pound of meat.

Like most peasant dishes cooking corned beef is simple cooking. Remember, the original immigrants were living in tiny tenements in New York and did not have elaborate kitchens. Create a traditional family feast to be enjoyed by everyone, cook corned beef.


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