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Oct 19, 2007 10:46 AM

Corned Beef--In A Slow Cooker

Hi all,

I'm currently cooking up a corned beef brisket in my slow cooker; the recipe I'm using says to put it on a low setting for 9-11 hrs. I'm wondering if anyone has had experience cooking this meat in a slow cooker before and how it's turned out. Also, being not too familiar with corned beef, are you supposed to remove excess fat on the meat prior to cooking or is that not a good idea as far as keeping the meat tender and juicy?

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  1. I haven't cooked corn beef in my slow cooker. I have smoked corn beef in my backyard Weber smoker using hickory chips. I smoked a 5-lb corned beef brisket for 7-hours at 225F. This was after soaking it overnight to remove excess salt. It came out great. In a smoker, the fat is left on to keep the meat most and juicy. When you smoke corned beef it becomes pastrami.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Antilope

      Whenever i make corned beef, i put it in the slow cooker. I put the meat in and the spice packet and that's it. After it reaches the tenderness i want (depends how i want to serve it) I take the meat out and dump what's left in the pot. If i'm going to serve it as a main meal, i glaze it with apricot preserves and since I love using my propane torch, i use it instead of broiling. Also depends on what corned beef cut you have. Some has less fat them the others. But if i need to take out the fat, i do it afterwards.

            1. re: Antilope

              I know most folks use the spice package. I prefer not to. It's "corned" enough without it.

        1. re: Antilope

          For those interested, here's how I smoked corned beef and made pastrami:

          Take one 4-lb corned beef brisket.
          Soak in cold water 12 to 24hours, changing water several times to leach out excess salt.

          Coat well with your favorite barbecue rub (go easy on the salt). Massage well into the meat.

          Smoke at 225F-275F with hickory until internal corned beef brisket temperature reaches 190F. Mine took about 7 hours in my Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

          Remove from heat and wrap in foil. Let rest 1-hour.

          Slice into thin pieces and enjoy the Pastrami.

        2. The crockpot is the best way to cook a corned beef. The longer the better. Once it's nice and tender, take it out and weight it down. Usually I put it on a cutting board with another cutting board (or sheet pan) on top with a few big cans of tomatoes. This will get most of the moisture out.

          It's super easy to scrape the fat off the meat once it's cooked. I never fail to have the most flavorful, lean and tender corned beef when I use this method... never bother to glaze it bake it or anything else... in my opinion it doesn't need it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mimilulu

            mimilulu, i love the contrasting taste and texture. Saltiness of the corned beef with the sweetness of the apricot glaze. When i torch it, i also get the crunchiness of the carmelized sugar from , again the preserve and the tenderness of the meat.

            Oh Robin, depends on how much time i have- on high- around 3-4 hours -i usually check it once in a while. Sometimes I leave it overnight, put it in the slow cooker frozen before i go to bed, put it on low and it's perfect when i wake up in the morning.

          2. I make corned beef in my crock pot and it is amazing. A couple of weeks ago, I cooked it on low for 13 or 14 hrs, took off the fat, sliced thick and shredded it. The meat and two good slices of rye are all you need.

            1. Thanks guys! Now I can't wait til I get home to see how my corned beef has turned out. I'll try the trick to take out the excess salt--never heard of doing that.

              Besides the traditional cabbage, what else do you eat with corned beef? i'm actually making soba noodles tonight to go with it.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Augusta

                I never have cabbage with corned beef. Can't stand how it smells up the house when it cooks and my husband despises it. I boil potatoes and carrots in the pot liquor. :)

                I also take the corned beef out after it's done cooking and spread grainy mustard over the fat, and put it in the oven for a short bit to crisp up the fat. :)

                1. re: Augusta

                  I always have cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, I the carrots and potatoes at the same time as the corn beef, add my cabbage i hour before I want to serve it. I also make a Watergate Salad and some Butter cookies to go with, in addition to serving Guinness or Scotch.

                  1. re: Augusta

                    I usually boil carrots and potatoes with the beef...tonight I roasted carrots, potatoes, and parsnips with a little olive oil, S&P, and thyme. Not a scrap left.

                    I just cooked 5 pounds of corned beef in my crock pot today (sliced onions on bottom of crock, liquid was two cans of Guinness and a can of water, with a few bay leaves)-- 9 hours - 6 on high (I started from fridge-cold) and 3 hours on low. Fork-tender, and delicious.

                    I always lightly steam the cabbage -- 15 minutes, plus or minus, until it gives to pressure with a fork or a paring knife. This keeps the sweet taste of the cabbage, and doesn't smell up the house (or turn your cabbage into stinky slime).

                  2. Chowtimore, what kind of a crock pot do you have? Even on low, I wouldn't dare leave anything in my crock pot 13 hours. It would be burnt toast! I'd love to find a "slow" cooker that actually cooks slow...

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: rexsreine

                      Gosh I assumed everyone was doing this in water so the cooker with the lid on should never all evaporate. I have done in my cheapo crockpot forever- the kind with the removeable crockery "pot" with a low and high setting- on high.

                      1. re: torty

                        I do corned beef in the slow cooker with a bottle of beer.

                        1. re: Amuse Bouches

                          yep, nothing brings out the flavor like beer or ale. nothing too dark.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            I used guiness last time and it was fabulous. Made it for St Pats in the crockpot last year for my foodie brother and family arriving from Seattle. We had to go to the ballet, so I left it for them. When we got home, there was not a scrap left and they were raving about it. First time I used the crockpot and I would never go back.

                          2. re: Amuse Bouches

                            Place one large peeled & chopped onion in bottom of crockpot (you can add a handful of baby-cut carrots as well, although more for flavor - not for eating). Place corned beef on top, fat side up. Add one bottle of Guinness. Cook on low for 6 hours. FABULOUS!!

                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                Forgot to add that I toss a couple of bay leaves in there as well. (As well as the little spice packet that comes with the corned beef.)

                                1. re: Bacardi1

                                  that's how I did mine today -- I did rinse the spices off, just because there was crushed bay leaf in there -- and that's never a great idea to eat.

                                  I corned my own beef (started last week) with Penzey's corned beef spices, and let it work in the fridge all week.

                                  Today rinsed off the spices and proceeded as per Bacardi's instructions -- good enough to win raves from my Dublin-Irish neighbors.

                          3. re: rexsreine

                            It's a Rival - similar to this:


                            I didn't add any water - just dropped in the meat, added the seasoning and turned it on. If I have half an onion laying around, sometimes I'll slice it up and lay it on top. It always turns out great.

                            1. re: rexsreine

                              Nope, it won't be 'burnt toast'. As long as there is liquid in it, anyway. If truly overcooked you might end up with a batch of salty beef gravy :-(. Unfortunately I've heard that newer crockpots don't have a truly low setting like they used to (like mine).

                              I agree with the presoak to remove excess salt.
                              Buy a much larger piece of beef than you think you will need - brisket shrinks like crazy.
                              Use minimal water, say half inch depth and sit beef on a few onion slices.
                              I'd also check the progress after cooking for 8 hours on 'low'.