It's corny and it's beefy
March 16, 2006 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Best corned beef and cabbage recipe (no boiling necessary)?

Every year, I make corned beef and cabbage for the family. Every year, I boil the beef with the "juice" and spices for ~ 3 hours, through in taters and cabbage and eat. It's good.

Now I want something submlime. Is there any way to make the traditional St. Patrick's Day meal that will make the family say, "Yum-o!" and talk about it for years to come?

PS: I'm open to using a slow cooker, bbq grill, on anything else. (Note, I don't have a tandoor, though.)
posted by GarageWine to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Doing it in the slow cooker (which will very slowly approach a simmer and then hold it) will yield you a more tender beef than boiling. I'd recommend that. Unless you're talking about a real (low and slow) BBQ setup, your other methods are too fast/hot to properly cook a brisket.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:29 AM on March 16, 2006

I usually boil mine for five, six hours. More if it's a big one. Whatever the package suggests, double it.

I toss a couple extra bay leaves in with it, some peppercorns, parsley, a few fresh aromatics while it's cooking. Also, I use carrots in addition to the cabbage and

I was just thinking about posting a question like this!
posted by Kellydamnit at 11:35 AM on March 16, 2006

When you guys say slow cooking, do you bring the water to a boil first with the brisket in it, or do you just start out on low heat and let it simmer for hours? (I also add whole cloves of garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, maybe some pickling spice...)
posted by Maisie Jay at 11:51 AM on March 16, 2006

I usually toss everything in a crockpot (except the cabbage) and simmer it on low all day. The last 30 minutes, toss in the cabbage. Yum.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:55 AM on March 16, 2006

I made a corned beef glazed with maple syrup and bourbon one year for a change of pace. It was well-received.
posted by mikepop at 12:05 PM on March 16, 2006

The slow cooker makes the meat so much more tender than regular boiling does. I do not preheat the water. Just toss it all in cold. Turn it on and walk away. The carrots and potatoes do well in the slow cooker. The cabbage does not. The cabbage must be fully submersed to be cooked right.
posted by onhazier at 12:07 PM on March 16, 2006

Next year, you can corn your own.
posted by mimi at 12:18 PM on March 16, 2006

Oh, and as someone who has corned his own (heh) a couple times in the past, I will recommend a slow cooker as a fairly fool-proof method of cooking. And make sure you get the fatty point cut of brisket, not the flat end. I've tried cooking a corned beef in a clay pot in the oven and it just got dried out and overcooked. No need to mess with the braise if it works.
posted by rxrfrx at 12:32 PM on March 16, 2006

Article in Salt Lake City's (yeah baby!) Alt. Weekly with interesting tips, including (gasp!) steaming your brisket!
posted by Zendogg at 1:21 PM on March 16, 2006

The problem with steaming is that you've gotta soak the corned beef for a day or two beforehand to get out all the salt that boiling would normally remove.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:59 PM on March 16, 2006

I like to do a corned beef brisket in a pressure cooker, while steaming new red potatoes (2 inch diameter or less, whole, washed) and cabbage wedges in a separate steamer pot. This is an adaptation of the classic New England boiled dinner, but done in ways that maximize the flavor and textures of each of the constituent dishes. I make a creamed horseradish sauce for the beef, and dilled bechamel sauce gravy for the potatoes, while dressing the cabbage with only a little butter, lemon juice, and fresh pepper.

The pressure cooker can do a 4 pound brisket in about 40 to 45 minutes, and the pressurized steam cooking method will guarantee a "falling apart" tenderness without any of the watery quality boiling methods take. In fact, the meat will be very "corny" (somewhat salty and thoroughly infused with the spices), if you don't pre-soak, so there is no need to add any salt to vegetables.

Doing the potatoes and the cabbage in a separate steaming pot lets you get them just "done enough" to serve with their own taste and texture as you like it, without being overwhelmed with the pickling spices, bay leaf, and other flavors of the corned beef. The simple gravy and lemoned butter "sauce" also sets off the vegetables nicely. I usually serve this with a cast iron skillet corn bread, and apple pie for dessert. If there are more than 6 people, I may front the main course with a simple creamed leek soup with captain's crackers as a starter.

Assuming you've already got the pie for dessert in hand, it's pretty easy to get this all on the table in an hour, using the pressure cooker. Start the corned beef in the pressure cooker first. Get the oven pre-heating, while you mix up the cornbread, and get it in the oven. Once that's going, clean the potatoes and cabbage, and set them in the steamer ready to go, 15 or 20 minutes before the corned beef is done. If doing the soup, start the stock when you finish the cooking time in the pressure cooker, and have the corned beef cooling.

I like to offer a good ale with this to drink.
posted by paulsc at 2:02 PM on March 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best cabbage I've ever had, from a recipe and old Boston friend gave me:

1 Cabbage serves 2 people.
Cut the cabbage in half, and discard the stem.
Drizzle honey over the cut size.
In a large pan bring about 1" of water to a low boil.
Put the cabbage halves in the water cut side down.
Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes. You want the leaves to be bright green, but still crunchy.
Don't flip the cabbage!

You'll end up with a great big side of cabbage, still mostly crunchy -- almost a raw texture. The honey disolves in the steam and spreads throughout.

(You might want to keep some beano on hand)
posted by Eddie Mars at 2:05 PM on March 16, 2006

You can also bake it in the oven in a covered dish (some packages of corned beef have instructions). I like to pressure cook (or just boil if you don't have a pressure cooker) then finish on the grill. Definitely get some horseradish or good hot mustard or corn relish to use a condiment. And I like to stock up while it's on sale for St. P day. Since it's vacuum packed, it'll keep in the freezer till next year.
I'd say a good stout or porter would be better for St. P's.
posted by 445supermag at 2:11 PM on March 16, 2006

This Trader Joe's recipe is supposedly to die for. They were handing it out last year at the Sacramento store but it doesn't require any ingredients only available at Trader Joe's:

Cook corned beef according to directions (you have tons of good ones on this page!)


Approximately 1 gallon Apple Juice
1-2 cans Murphy Stout
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Mustard

Recipe may vary. Use enough to cover corned beef round. Cook 3 1/2 hrs or until tender.

Add cabbage,carrots,potatoes or any other ingredients as desired during last hour of cook time.
posted by traderjoefan at 2:18 PM on March 16, 2006

Sorry -- this is the right link for the recipe... but the info is all right there from the site.
posted by traderjoefan at 4:03 PM on March 16, 2006

Do any of the above boiling/slow cooking methods and add one pint of guiness, a bunch of ground pepper, a bay leaf and maybe a few crushed cloves of garlic and about a four second pour of molasses to whatever liquid you are using. I think you can cook the cabbage a little longer than half an hour, I think it adds flavor to the stock, but I usually drink the stock as a restorative after I've been on a paddys day toot. I also usually boil the potatos in a different pot because then they are fluffy and unspoiled when they get bathed in the meat liquor on the plate.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:58 PM on March 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'd like to put in a plug for Schilling's whole mixed pickling spice. It's got plenty of peppercorns and bay, and lots of other good things too which really improve a slow-cooked piece of meat.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:24 PM on March 16, 2006

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