Corned beef is one of the most tender and flavorful dishes we tend to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day. While a complete meal of traditional corned beef and cabbage is easy, delicious and cozy, what exactly is this flavorful salted meat?
What is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is a beef brisket that has been salt-cured and has its own special blend of spices (mustard seed, allspice, coriander, juniper berries, cloves, black peppercorns, and cardamom pods). The name “corned” comes from the size of the salt kernals, not from actual corn in this recipe.
Brining corned beef turns brisket, which is a tough piece of meat, into a tender and delicious meal through the curing process. Corned beef is often served on St. Patrick’s day but it’s also used to make other recipes like Reuben sandwiches!
What Part of the Cow is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is an Irish American favorite. It is a beef is brisket, which comes from the breast section of the cow. The brisket that is salt-cured and brined in a selection of savory herbs and pickling spices. The pink color of corned beef comes from sodium nitrate (which is used in many types of meat like bacon, beef jerky or hot dogs to name a few).
The brisket can be cut in a flat cut (as seen here) or a pointcut but the flat cut produces the best and most tender corned beef.
Corned beef can also be made from round steaks, which is located at the rear leg of the cow. Normally tough cuts of meat like the brisket and the round benefit from slow, moist-heat cooking processes that, when seasoned and marinated correctly, produce a flavorful and economical entrée for a large family or an even larger crowd!
The Difference Between Corned Beef and Pastrami
While both corned beef and pastrami have a similar cooking method resulting in a pink cut of meat, the main difference is the cut of beef you use.
Corned beef is made from brisket, which comes from the chest of the cow. Pastrami is made using a shoulder cut of beef called the deckle.
The Best Way To Cook Corned Beef
Making Crock Pot Corned Beef brisket is a snap! Just set in water with more pickling spices and let it simmer away until tender. A great way to make a festive meal for company! Add in some potatoes, onions, carrots, or other vegetables.
Crockpot corned beef makes an excellent stew with cabbage, or simply carve off a few slices and serve with mustard on a hard roll with some sauerkraut. A classic Rueben sandwich is corned beef on rye bread, with sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing. Corned beef is as versatile as it is tasty!
Corned beef, no matter how cooked, is done so at a low and slow temperature that creates a deliciously juicy corned beef and gets its flavoring from the seasoning packet, rather than the browning process.
How To Make Corned Beef Tender
- Cook it very low and slow, corned beef needs time for the connective tissues to break down. High heat can cause the meat to be very tough.
- Ensure that there is enough liquid for cooking.
- If the corned beef has been cooked at a low temperature and is tough, it most likely needs to cook longer.
- Cut the corned beef across the grain.
Delicious Corned Beef Recipes
- Corned Beef and Cabbage Slow Cooker Recipe
- Reuben Sandwich Sliders
- Reuben Casserole
- Corned Beef Hash – a great breakfast for leftover corned beef and potatoes. Top with a poached egg for serving.
- Reuben Pasta Salad
- Reuben Dip
- Corned Beef (Simmered on the Stove)