The next time you’re looking for something different to serve for dinner, try corned beef! In this post, we’re sharing some tips on how to cook corned beef, including the ideal internal temperature to achieve moist and delicious results.
Corned beef is more than just a tasty filling for sandwiches St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, it can be served throughout the year and enjoyed in many ways!
What is Corned Beef and Cabbage Dish?
Outside of Ireland, corned beef and cabbage is often enjoyed by Irish Americans to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a hearty dish that can be enjoyed year-round!
Proper Internal Temperature for Corned Beef
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), corned beef is safe to eat when it has reached an internal temperature of 145°F. However, because corned beef comes from less tender cuts of beef, it benefits from low and slow cooking. This allows the connective tissue in the meat to dissolve and become very tender. For moist and tender corned beef, aim for an internal temperature between 180°F to 195°F.
How to Know When Corned Beef is Done: Use an Instant Read Thermometer
The best way to know when corned beef is safe to eat is to use an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the meat from the heat source and let it rest for 3 minutes before inserting the probe into the thickest part of the meat.
Corned beef is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 145 °F, but will be fork tender when it reaches 180°F to 195°F.
How to Cook Corned Beef
Method 1: Simmering
The traditional way to cook corned beef on the stovetop is to boil it at a hard boil all day. With the simmering method, the corned beef is gently simmered over low heat for about 3 hours.
Veggies such as potatoes, carrots, and cabbage can be added to the pot during the last 40 minutes of cooking time. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the doneness of the meat. For a very firm texture, aim for 180°F. For flakier corned beef, it should be ready when the internal temperature is between 190-195°F.
Method 2: Smoked Corned Beef
Smoking isn’t a traditional way to cook corned beef but the results are delicious. The meat will need to be partially boiled first to remove some of the salt, and is then finished in the smoker.
Method 3: Slow Cooker Corned Beef
Make easy work of cooking corned beef by using a slow cooker. Place the corned beef and any juice that came with it in a slow cooker. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves, beef broth and water. Cover and cook on low for about 8-10 hours until tender and fully cooked.
Method 4: Sous Vide Corned Beef
The sous vide method of cooking corned beef will produce meat that is tender and flavorful. The corned beef brisket is rubbed with pickling spice and cooked low and slow in a water bath at 175°F degrees. Enjoy it sliced in a sandwich or serve it with your favorite sides.
How Long to Cook Corned Beef
Place the corned beef in a large pot of water and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours. Note that the cooking time depends on the size of the meat.
As a general rule of thumb, allow 45-50 minutes of cooking time for every pound of corned beef.
Tips for Avoiding Overcooking Corned Beef
Cooking corned beef low and slow will keep it moist and tender. If the meat isn’t as tender as you’d like, add a bit of water or stock to moisten the slices and gently heat until warm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did My Corned Beef Turn Out Rubbery?
When corned beef is cooked at a high temperature it can become tough, dry, and rubbery. It’s best to cook corned beef slowly over low heat.
Do You Use the Liquid in Corned Beef Package?
Save the brine that comes with the corned beef and include it in the slow cooker. It will add flavor to the meat. Add enough cold water to cover the corned beef as well as pickling spices, and then cover and cook on low for about 8-10 hours or on high for 6-8 hours.
Why Is Corned Beef Pink?
The salt used to cure corned beef is pink. During the curing process a chemical reaction occurs which causes the meat to take on a pink color.
How to Make Corned Beef Cure
Before you begin, it’s important to note that the amount of curing salt to use is determined by the weight of the meat. For every 5 pounds of corned beef, use 1 tsp of curing salt. Using too much curing salt can be toxic.
- Pat the brisket dry with paper towels.
- Combine the kosher salt, pink curing salt, and sugar together in a bowl.
- Place the brisket in a rimmed baking sheet.
- Rub the brisket all over with the salt/sugar mixture. If there is any extra salt mixture left, place it under and on top of the brisket.
- Combine the spices in a bowl.
- Rub the spices all over the brisket.
- Cover the brisket and the pan tightly with plastic wrap.
- Place in the refrigerator.
- Unwrap the brisket, turn it over, and wrap it again. Place it back into the fridge and continue to turn it over and rewrap in plastic a few more times over the next 7-10 days.
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Perfect Smoked Corned Beef Recipe
- 1 raw corned beef about 3 to 5 pounds
- Preheat the smoker to 275°F. Set the high-temp alarm to 300°F and the low-temp alarm to 250°F. Monitor the smoker to ensure it stays within the desired range.
- Rinse the corned beef and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Insert the penetration probe into the corned beef and place it in the smoker. Set the high-temp alarm on the meat channel to 160°F.
- When the alarm sounds, place the beef in a pan and add enough water to come 1/3 of the way up the side of the meat.
- Wrap the pan tightly in foil, insert the probe through the foil into the meat, and reset the high-temp alarm for the meat to 203°F.
- Cook the corned beef in the pan until the alarm sounds. Use an instant-read thermometer to confirm that the meat has reached 203°F throughout.
- Remove the corned beef from the water pan and wrap it tightly in two layers of heavy-duty foil, and then wrap it in a few kitchen towels. Let the corned beef rest in a cooler for one to two hours.
- Slice thinly and serve on bread or with your favorite sides!
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