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Jun 18, 2001 03:56 PM

Crispy Hash

  • c

I've been trying, with no success, to make a nice, crispy corned beef hash. They keep coming out tasty enough, but they won't stick together, let alone crisp. They either fall apart or burn. Any secrets or never-fail recipes to share. Thanks.

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  1. I've encountered the same problem. Some if it, I think, is actually an absenceof fat. If the hash is too lean, it gets crusty, dry or burns over medium heat.
    Every St. Patrick's day (married into an ur-Irish family) I cook a huge corned beef and boil an overrun of redskins. The leftovers are cut into dice together and put into single/double serve freezer bags. I have had to literally hold my own knife back, not to strip the whole beef of fat. Keeping some on this chopped hash adds moistness, and keeps the whole thing from crispy/burning flavor. I cook the serving at low to mid heat--always adding a poached egg on top. Like 'q, hash does best at "low and slow". Hash on!

    3 Replies
    1. re: berkleybabe

      Thanks to all for the great advice.

      1. re: berkleybabe

        I take the leftover corned beef and grind it up with some onion, then mix it with the cubed potatoes, salt and pepper. I find the texture of this mix holds together well to achieve the crust. I use the grinder attachment to my Kitchenaid mixer; a food processor would make it too mushy.

        1. re: berkleybabe

          Low and slow is great advice. My local diner keeps a giant pile of shredded potatoes on the cooler side of the griddle, where they slowly cook over low heat. When a hash order comes in they are moved to the hot side with a generous squirt of grease to crisp up and bind together. That low heat cooking period is crucial.

          Even heat is another requirement for great hash. Most home burners are not big enough to evenly heat a skillet. It doesn't matter if you're using a cheap aluminum food service skillet or a 100-year old cast iron pan; move the pan around every 5-6 minutes to make sure every part of the bottom gets some flame. This way you're kind of crisping the hash in quadrants.

        2. Disclosure: I've never made corned beef hash. But I wonder if a couple of tips for hash brown potatoes wouldn't apply. Are you stirring the hash once you've got it on the fire? If you are, that might be one reason it's not holding together for you. Once the mixture is in the pan, don't do anything but check for the crust forming on the bottom. When that's to your liking, turn it and, again, leave it alone until you get the crust you want on the other side. And it sounds like Berkleybabe's on the mark with her observation on the fat content.

          1. I second the 'low & slow' technique. Sometimes when I make a grilled cheese sandwich, for example, I let it sit over extremely low heat for up to 20 minutes. It never burns, but just gets nice and lacey/crispy on the outside, meltingly gooey on the inside. I would only add that it's crucial to have a good pan. Well-seasoned cast-iron is ideal for this purpose. A thick aluminum pan would work well too (especially if it's got a non-stick surface). A thin cheap pan would almost certainly burn your hash before it ever attained crispiness.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Tom Meg

              I disagree in Tom Meg's suggestion that an aluminum non-stick pan would be good for hash. Non-stick pans do not brown as well as cast iron. The cast iron is cheap, available, works great and is non-stick if properly seasoned. And I'll toss in my agreement with Berkleybabe. You've got to add some fat if it's not holding together.

              1. re: Greg Spence

                I'm honored to be even agreed with by a 'hound of your stature. Of course, with your bbq/grill expertise you'd know about the fat level--less is not always more, eh?

                1. re: berkleybabe

                  Thank you, but I believe that you are the 'hound of stature. Your postings are far less myopic than mine. And I agree, fat is so often the "fix." I use the same recipe for hash as you but I do tend to toss in some leftover cabbage. People invariably think it's artichoke, a reaction I've always thought was odd.

            2. Once again, many thanks to all who kept adding their great advice to this tired thread. Hash on!

              1. This is an ancient thread...but I got here so maybe someone else will too. If you crave crispy CBH like when you were a kid, this is a bit time consuming but works!

                As noted above the problem is lack of fat. For a can of CBH add about 3/4 tbl of lard. If you dont have lard around coconut oil seems to work fairly well and is pretty neutral flavored. Start with cold coconut oil so it mixes without melting.

                Mix well and microwave for about 5 minutes at 1/2 power to soften the added fat and release some of the internal fat from the beef.

                Preheat a cast iron skillet till very hot, add the CBH and flatten into a "pie". turn the heat down to low. Push around the edges of the pie. Eventually the entire pie will move when you push instead of just changing the shape of the pie. Then turn the heat back up to high and check every 30 seconds or so for crisping. It will burn very quickly once it crisps.

                Flip it just to heat the other side well for about a minute and youre done.