What You Need
A slow-cooker corned beef might not immediately come to mind when you think of your dream dish — but we’re here to change that. The process of salt curing the cut of meat creates a delicious, tender final result that we can’t get enough of.
Maybe you tend to eat corned beef with cabbage and horseradish, or you enjoy it with a pint of Guinness on an Irish-American St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe your favorite way to eat it is in a corned beef hash, or another way altogether.
No matter what, there’s so much to love about this classic.
What Is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is a type of cured meat that is wonderfully tender and savory. It works beautifully in a plethora of dishes, or it can be the centerpiece of a meal all on its own.
Where Did Corned Beef Originate?
Although this dish is often considered to be an Irish delicacy, what we often think of as “classic corned beef” was actually popularized in Jewish delis. Jewish and Irish immigrants would often settle in the same or nearby neighborhoods. As a result, it was very common for the Irish to buy their meat from Jewish shops.
In order for the cut of meat to be kosher, Jewish delis would make corned beef brisket. Brisket comes from the breast portion of the cow and is often quite tough. Not only does the slow cooking process allow for a bevy of flavor, but the elongated cook time also softens the meat considerably.
People are also often confused by the name of this dish, and it’s easy to see why. If someone who didn’t know any better ordered corned beef, it would be understandable that they would expect to see corn.
The reason it’s called “corned” beef is not due to any corn in the recipe — instead, “corn” was used to refer to the size of the curing salt used to prep the meat.
How Can You Cook Corned Beef on the Stove Top?
Although you can get it from the store, it is no secret that the best corned beef recipes are those you make at home.
The prospect of making corned beef yourself might seem daunting at first, but the truth is that it doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Corned beef can be effectively made on the stove top, saving you money and leaving you with an irresistible final product.
Place Corned Beef in a Dutch Oven
When you are first starting your journey with making corned beef brisket or beef, you will need a sizable slow cooker to accommodate the meat. You can use a large pot like a crock pot or even an instant pot. However, a dutch oven will give you the best results for your homemade corned beef.
For the highest quality corned beef, you’re going to need the highest quality dutch oven. Luckily, that’s where HexClad’s Five Quart Dutch Oven really shines — and we mean that literally. When you’re done making corned beef, you could use this pot’s stainless steel design as a mirror.
Dutch ovens are infamous for being incredibly heavy and hard to lug around the kitchen, but ours is half the weight of its competitors. After all is said and done, you can also stick it right in the dishwasher.
All of HexClad’s cookware is made with hybrid technology, which allows heat to be evenly distributed throughout the entire surface. This ensures that each part of your dish will be cooked through perfectly, rather than having to deal with certain spots that are overcooked and others that are undercooked.
Add Your Seasoning
Now that your corned beef is comfortably nestled into its new Dutch oven home, it’s time to season it appropriately. There are a few different ways to do this, so consider your own preferences as well as the likes and dislikes of anyone else who will be eating it.
Some corned beef comes with a premade spice blend or spice packet that you can use. Otherwise, your prep time will be slightly longer, but you can personalize the corned beef’s flavor profile however you like.
Spread the spice blend over the top of the cut of meat, and you’re ready for the next step.
Add Equal Parts Broth and Water
Some recipes advise adding just water or perhaps even ingredients like beer as the cooking liquid.
We think there’s nothing better than a combination of equal parts beef broth and water to give you juicy, tender, and flavorful corned beef.
The exact amount of liquid that you will need depends on how big the cut of meat is, as well as the size of the pot that you’re using. You need to pour in enough water and broth that the meat is almost fully covered.
Bring to a Boil Over Medium Heat
The next step involves bringing the broth-water mixture to a boil. When many of us think of boiling something, our immediate instinct is to put the stove on high heat. However, when it comes to corned beef, we’re going for a gentle cook.
Resist the urge to blast the stove top on maximum, and instead put it on medium heat.
You can raise the heat a bit if it isn’t getting to the boil you need, but keep a close eye on it and be ready to lower the heat back down.
Lower to a Simmer and Cover
Once your corned beef is finally boiling, it’s time to stop the boiling immediately. We know it might seem a little counterproductive, but we promise it isn’t. Don’t worry, the final result will speak for itself.
Keep the heat at either medium or medium-low, depending on the simmer of your corned beef. When the heat is lower, put the lid onto your Dutch oven and let it work its magic.
Let It Simmer for Two to Three Hours
This might just be the hardest part of the entire process. Up until now, you’ve been able to keep a close eye on your corned beef, coaching it through every step of the way. Now, though, it’s time to take off the training wheels and let the meat ride off into the sunset.
The total time your corned beef needs to simmer will depend on its size, but most range from about three to four pounds. If it is within that size range, the meat will likely need between two and three hours to be completely done.
According to the USDA, corned beef must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be safe. However, it tends to taste best when it’s at about 190 degrees, so feel free to bust out that meat thermometer. To make sure the texture is how you want it, you can check if the meat is fork-tender, meaning that it breaks off easily with the twist of a fork.
Optional: Broil for a Crispy Top
This final step isn’t a requirement, but it can give your corned beef an interesting extra textural component. Preheat your broiler for a few minutes, put the meat in a quality roasting pan, and then put it in the oven.
It won’t need long in there — somewhere between three and seven minutes should do it, but keep an eye on the meat to make sure you’re getting the crispy browning you want.
The Bottom Line
Now that your corned beef is cooked to perfection, serve it with sides like mashed potatoes, assorted veggies, green cabbage, or whatever your tastebuds desire.
Not only will this dish have everyone’s mouths watering when you first serve it, but you can also use the leftover corned beef in Reuben sandwiches and all sorts of other recipes.