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Oct 25, 2005 02:28 PM

Is there more than one way to cook corned beef?

  • l

My corned beef is happily corning in salt and spices. It should be ready to cook in a few days.

In the past, I have boiled it. But I'm bored with boiling. It's sooo St. Patrick's day.

I'm ready to try something different. My ultimate aim is to make it into corned beef sandwiches. I was thinking of cooking it in a way to get a browned outer crust, and a moist, tender interior.

Should I brown it and then braise it? What about throwing it on the grill? What about slathering it with grainy mustard and breadcrumbs and baking it?

Any ideas would be appreciated!

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  1. Simmer (not boil) until cooked, when the meat is done, remove from liquid, let rest.

    Mix equal parts of brown sugar and mustard, (I use grey poupon, country style) and spread on the biggest surface of the corned beef. Place under a broiler, spread side up, until mixture is melted.

    If you use a brisket, slice some of the fat off, leaving a layer, score the fat x-ways and spread the mustard/sugar mixture over the fat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alan408

      What can i do my briskets allows me to boil in the bag, this is my first time help somebody!!!!

    2. Braise in the oven instead of boiling. (Water should only be about 1/2 way up the meat.) Last 1/2-1 hour, take lid off (or aluminum foil) and roast, basting every now and then. This develops a roasted feel and taste, while still allowing you to cook the meat in liquid to tenderize.

      I use a deep flat pan and cover with aluminum foil, but that's just because I haven't sprung for a really good, large (11 qt), enameled/cast iron dutch oven. The aluminum foil over pan works great. In either case, removing the top and letting it "roast" in the hot air will develop a crust that actually helps you slice. I use 3-4 hours at 280, the last 1/4 of which I use this roasting in the pan technique - straight out of Junior's (Brooklyn) cookbook for brisket, but also works for corned beef and pastrami.

      1 Reply
      1. re: applehome

        I've both braised and simmered - I like oven-braising the best. However, especially if it's going on a buffet or into sandwiches, I get a piece that will fit into my glass meatloaf pan after it's cooked. Then, after it's done and has sat in its liquid for a while, I put it in the loaf pan, lay a double thickness of foil over the top, and lay on this heavy concrete brick that's just the right size (and kept very clean!), and set it all in the refrigerator overnight. It comes out fairly close-grained and ready to slice, with some nice savory jelly clinging to it.

      2. Around St P's day, I pick up a few extra corned beef briskets and rub them well with BBQ spice, marinate a few days, and grill SLOWLY...about 6 hours at 200 deg. When cooled, rub well with cracked pepper and wrap in foil, age in fridge for 2-3 weeks...viola!, pastrami. You can, of course, serve right after grilling. Best to use the fatter cuts of brisket.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Jim H.
          La Dolce Vita

          I haven't had a lot of experience with aged meat, so please excuse my ignorance. How does the stuff keep for 2 or 3 weeks without getting skanky? The longest I've ever aged meat is 7 days.

          1. re: La Dolce Vita

            Remember that salting and smoking were both processes developed to preserve meat. Given that we're talking about meat that has been salted and smoked (usually to the point of fully cooking it), keeping it wrapped in the fridge for several weeks is no problem. Just wrap it tightly and away from air.

            For pastrami (or more like Montreal Smoked Meat), I will keep in the fridge after brining, dry-rubbing and smoking for at least 3 weeks - maybe even up to 6. Then I will braise (as I described before) - at its best, it comes out a lot like the pastrami at Katz's... and that's saying something. I'm working on consistency...

            BTW, by pure concidence, I'm sure, there is a wonderful company in Burlington VT, called La Dolce Vita, that makes some really great Montreal Smoked Brisket. They sold it for a while in the local (New England) Costco's, but they've stopped... I've called them looking for other outlets, but no response... too bad!

            1. re: applehome

              I'm far from the US and I really want to take a crack at making my own pastrami/smoked meat.

              When you get a chance, do you think you could post an exhaustive account of your process? Or maybe you already have and you could point me to it... I'm now going through serious withdrawals after reading this thread!

              1. re: butterfly
                La Dolce Vita

                I'm seconding this request, Applehome. I've read over your posts at least twice, but I'm not sure I could piece together your exact method from them. Thank you!

                1. re: La Dolce Vita

                  I've started with plain brisket and corned it myself. I don't have this down pat yet. I've bought grey corned beef from a butcher who brines it himself - I've had pretty good luck with this. And I've used a commercial brand corned beef (Mosey's). The commercial is too salty - but I never tried what Prof Salt and Jim H are talking about up above (soaking to reduce the salt) - that may work, it's now on my list to try.

                  In any case, once I have corned beef, I rinse it off, pat dry and rub with a dry rub. Dry rub consists of very coarsely ground black pepper, coarsely ground white pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, ground mustard seed, a little salt and sugar - not too much of either.

                  I wrap in plastic to seal, and put it in the fridge overnight. I take it out the next day and put it in the smoker, which never gets above 275, for 8-12 hours. I use hickory and oak. Once that's done, I let it cool, re-wrap it in plastic wrap, wrap it in aluminum foil, and toss it in the fridge - a minimum of 3 weeks.

                  When I'm ready to eat it, I braise it as I described before. One thing I didn't mention was that while I braise brisket (from raw) for as much as 4 hours, I only braise the pastrami for about 2 hours - again at 280, in the oven with water 1/2 half way up the side of the meat and the pan sealed off with foil. You can remove the foil/cover for the last 1/2 hour, like I described before.

                  As far as consistency, when it's really, really good, it's like lining up at Katz's and watching the guy slice the hot moist pastrami - the main pieces hold together, but there are some small grains that fall off (he scoops it all up and onto the big piece of sissel or the kaiser roll). Sometimes it's tougher - still tastes great and stays moist, but doesn't fall apart as much - it's actually easier to slice that way, but I like the Katz's imitation better.

                  One thing I learned - this ain't diet food... if you want lean Pastrami, go eat a chicken. I suppose it's possible to get too fatty a piece of brisket - but not by much... I really prefer the point cut, not the flat, although if I could actually get a nice flat, where the butcher hadn't trimmed it to death, I would certainly try that.

            2. re: La Dolce Vita

              Not surprisingly, corned beef keeps well...its pickled.

            3. re: Jim H.
              Professor Salt

              I recently tried something like what Jim describes. I smoked a commercially prepared flat of corned beef in my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker and made "pastrami" which came out surprisingly well.

              Commercially made corned beef is extra salty, so I first soaked the brisket overnight with two changes of water. I then coated the thing heavily in black pepper and coriander seed that'd been ground in a spice mill. This sat on a rack in the fridge to dry overnight, which set up nicely as a *really* spicy crust.

              I smoked this for about 6 hours and got good results, but it was (naturally) closer to BBQ rather than pastrami in texture. Next time, I might smoke for a shorter time and finish by steaming.

              La Dolce Vita, good luck with whatever you try and let us know how your home cured corned beef comes out!

              1. re: Professor Salt

                hey there professor. good to see you are still using your WSM. I'm loving mine.

                I'll second the recommendation on smoking corned beef. It is really, really, really good. Just be careful on what kind of corned beef cut you get. Sometimes it from the round roast, sometimes brisket flat and other times, brisket point. Each cooks differently.

                If you have a Weber kettle, or (even better) smoker of some sort, try smoking corned beef. It really is amazing.

                1. re: Professor Salt

                  You are needs soaking for a day or so to extract the salt. I have found mine to be a bit dry and tough, and steaming before slicing is a good idea. The last batch I steamed and sliced thin, shrunk-wrapped and froze for months...came out OK. I tried Costco pastrami the other day...excellent.

              2. Thanks for asking this - I was thinking of posting just this question today! I have a brisket I need to use up in my freezer, and some Schwartz's spice mix I would like to rub it with. But I don't have a grill. Maybe I'll try applehome's method, which seems to make sense.