5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Corned Beef
03.09.2020 Tips & Tricks
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner! To celebrate the holiday, we suggest the iconic Irish-American classic of corned beef and cabbage. Not only is this meal a delicious way to celebrate the Irish-American holiday, but making corned beef at home is also a satisfying cooking project! Whether you’re making corned beef for the first time or a cooking pro curious about how others make it, take a look at the list below of the five mistakes to avoid and what to do instead to ensure corned beef perfection.
1. Not Rinsing the Meat Before Cooking
If you cook the meat straight from the plastic packaging or pulled the meat right away from the brine solution in the fridge without rinsing, you just might be in for a saltier meal than you bargained for.
Instead: Whether you bought a ready-to-cook corned beef or you cured your own, rinse the meat several times under cool water to remove any excess salt. Don’t worry about rinsing away the flavor, the meat is fully infused with flavor by this point.
2. Cooking Over a High Temperature
Brisket is not a fan of high temperature. When cooked on high for too long, corned beef is likely to turn out tough and chewy rather than soft and tender.
Instead: Regardless of the cooking method, corned beef is best cooked over low heat. A low, gentle simmer on the stovetop or in the slow cooker are two excellent methods for cooking up soft, tender slices of corned beef every time.
3. Not Filling the Pot with Enough Water
Simmering corned beef on the stovetop is a tried-and-true method that results in very tender beef. One of the keys to simmering corned beef correctly is the amount of water in the pot. When there’s not ample liquid to cover the meat, your dreams of tender corned beef may be replaced by a tough, chewy result.
Instead: Start by filling a large pot with enough water so the corned beef is completely submerged. Remove the lid to check the level of liquid throughout the cooking process and add more water, if necessary. This small step will ensure a super-tender corned beef is the end result.
4. Not Cooking the Meat Long Enough
Brisket, the cut typically used for corned beef, is a naturally tough cut of meat. Cooking corned beef is a process that cannot be rushed. Even when the meat is cooked through, it still needs more time to transform the chewy bite into one that’s beautifully tender.
Instead: Cooking corned beef takes patience as it’s a tough cut of meat that benefits from a lengthy cook time. For stovetop cooking, plan on at least three hours for a three-pound corned beef or eight to 10 hours for a three- to four-pound cut that’s cooked on low in the crock pot.
5. Cutting the Meat Incorrectly
The way you slice your cooked corned beef actually makes a big difference. Always avoid slicing meat with the grain (or in the same direction as the muscle fibers) because it leaves you with a chewier piece of meat.
Instead: Treat corned beef just like steak. Look for the lines of visible muscles fibers on the meat as this is the “grain” of the meat. Always sliced corned beef against the grain instead of slicing with it. Cutting through the muscle fibers shortens them and makes each piece easier to chew.