Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jan 12, 2009 02:37 PM

Corned beef... oven or stove?

I would like opinions regarding the preparation of corned beef. Personally my family always did it covered with water and simmered on the stove for 3 hours or so.

A friend of mine however swears to putting a few inches of water in a large pan, covering with tin foil tightly and in the oven for 3 hours or so at 325

Which method does everyone prefer? Is there anyother preparation i should be considering?

Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My family has always done it on the stove top.

    7 Replies
    1. re: tzurriz

      I have experimented with both methods....the better results are usually achieved on top of the stove top...3.5-4.0 hours covered...never touching the lid, on low flame. Cooking in the oven....once at the restaurant show in New York, I sampled some Corned Beef cooked in a cook and hold oven for 12 was great, tender and lots of flavor. I have never been able to achieve similar results with many attempts, so it on the stove top only from now on.

      1. re: fourunder

        The Tables May Have most recent test.

        From another thread ...

        Corned Beef in the oven @ 215* for 8 hours....Very Tender

        Years ago, while attending a restaurant trade show, I had the most amazing Corned Beef that was low temperature roasted for 12 hours. It was a whole packer brisket with point attached and possibly the best Corned Beef I have ever had. I have tried a few occasions to try and duplicate the results, however, I apparently never allowed enough time for the meat to roast to the appropriate target temperature to reach tender goodness. Usually my attempts were always made with flat cuts, which I do not prefer in general, but was the meat used for my tests because that was the cut available to me at this time of year at my local supermarket which coincides with the St Patrick's Day holiday. The cut is usually on sale for less than 2 bucks, so it's the option I use without having to test on a whole packer brisket...

        In the past, I have found the meat must be soaked in water to remove some of the salt, otherwise it is too salty. for this test, i soaked for 24 hours, but I still found it to be too salty.....but the tenderness results was incredible... nary a hint of chew and without it falling apart while very easy to make thin slices. The texture is not quite the same as steamed or boiled, i.e., slightly dry and stringy...but instead, still moist and soft with the texture of cold cut ham. I'm going to give this another shot or two by changing the water more frequently for 24 hours....and also for 48 hours as well to see which duration is best for my palate and post the results. Until then, please have a look at the picture provided and see the results from last night's test. Nice pink color and pay attention the the fat melting down the face of the roast.

        BTW...the picture was taken after the first few slices and after allowing the beef to rest for 30 minutes. The pre-cooked weight was 4 pounds and 4 ounces. It was simply roasted on a grill grate over a sheet pan.

        1. re: fourunder

          Oh my, that looks absolutely mouth watering delicious! Do you have any left? Can you send me your address? I'll be right over! I'm looking at heaven!

          1. re: fourunder

            It is a brisket. Low and slow will yield very tender results if cooked to 200 or more internal temp. The salt is the big issue. Cooked dry you must remove enough to keep it from being a salt lick. Soaking for extended periods and doing a fry test to taste a sample for salt is recommended. Done in a smoker with certain spices and you have pastrami

            1. re: scubadoo97

              This particular corned beef reached an internal temperature of only 150* before I tested its tenderness by sampling a small slice. I cannot imagine it ever being more tender. I will admit I do not have much experience with Brisket in general, but this was a flat only. If I had the point section included, I'm sure I would have taken it to 190+.

              1. re: fourunder

                Wow, 150 is still in the stall. Can't imagine it being tender at that temp but don't doubt your experience with your corned beef. I've said many times each piece of meat is different

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  If not mistaken....on the pot roast threads, a poster says beef collagen begins to break down at 140*. That may explain why it was tender.

      2. Always on the stove top and 1 hour per pound

        9 Replies
        1. re: janetms383


          I would have to respectfully disagree with with the one hour to per pound guideline. I just cooked a ten pound piece on the stove for 4.5 hours....a little longer than my suggestion above....taking into account it was pretty cold yesterday and I did not know it the pot maintained it's temperature.

          The result was less than stellar and the meat was a little drier and close to falling apart at the me a sign of over cooking.....

          1. re: fourunder

            The usual size that I cook is between 3 - 3 1/2 pounds, never cooked one that was 10 pounds. I cover with water and simmer an hour per pound. If anything, the meat is sometimes too tender. Really don't understand how it can be dry after being covered by simmering water, however, once cut the meat will dry out quickly.

            1. re: janetms383

              Think of a chicken breast. when you poach it for a short while till it's cooked through, it's moist....keep that same chicken breast in the water for two hours and it shrivels up to nothing and becomes hard......with beef, when it in the heat too long it becomes tough and the meat fall apart so it cannot be sliced, but rather shred or tears apart.

              1. re: fourunder

                Fourunder, I have searching for a Jewish style corned beef brisket for a long time. The ones I have access to here in Columbus, Ohio are Irish corned beef and they are, regretfully, not spiced the same.

                Do you spice/season your own corned beef? Is it Jewish style? Can you please share your recipe? thanks!

                1. re: Diane in Bexley


                  If by Jewish style you mean the brisket cut exclusively...large thick cut and not the thin First cut, yes that is what I purchase...under different brands depending on sales at the store...but also what is available at the Wholesale Supply Stores where I also have access to...e.g., The Restaurant Depot or Sysco Foods. However, my favorite cut for both Pastrami and Corned Beef is the Deckle cut or the Cap from the Prime Rib. The briskets and deckles are usually brined in pickling spices, salts, sugar, vinegar and who knows what kind of nitrates....for a period of three weeks time. I used to work for the premiere Kosher caterer in New York and New Jersey, and we made our own Deckel cuts....far superior to the Brisket. We served so many Prime Ribs, we had an abundance of the caps....and as a result, we salvaged the caps for serving during the cocktail hour at the carving table as pastrami, prime beef or corned beef. The guests really never realized the extent of my boss's commitment to serve only the best...but that's for another day.

                  Getting back to preparation, my favorite way to cook it is steamed above the water line in a pan/tray/colander above the boiling water....lowered to simmer for four hours. This is difficult to do at home with larger cuts, like the ten pounder I referenced above, but smaller pieces(5 pounds or less) work well. When the steaming option is not available, I do immerse in the water....boil to remove the scum....then add additional pickling spices, salt, carrots, onions and celery to the pot after the skimming process....otherwise, the pickling spices get caught in the scum.....bring back to boil....cover tightly, reduce flame to simmer and do not touch for four hours (I usually cook a large piece, but I would cook for less if it were a small piece under three pounds....probably 2.5-3.0 hours time). The only other variation I have seen cooking on the stove top in water is to add brown sugar...which I have never done. This step is recommended by many larger Corned Beef purveyors.

                  Considering the time of may want to try your hand at brining your own corned beef. Beef is on sale in most stores and it's cold in Ohio. Due to space constraints within your refrigerator, no access to a second refrigerator, do not want to temp the's cold enough you could prepare in a bucket and leave in your garage or porch.

                  Here's a recipe I found worth considering from David Rosengarten...



                  1. re: fourunder

                    fourunder: some confusion here... the full brisket, aka a "packer" brisket, so called because that is how it is shipped in the cryovac from the plant, is composed of the flat (first cut) and the deckle, aka the point, still together. Total weight, usually 12-16 lbs or so. some cook them together, some separate them and cook separately -- particularly since the point has more fat, takes longer, and the grain runs perpendicular to the flat (requiring a different slicing direction). When BBQ'd whole, some separate them once the flat is done, reserve the flat for slicing, but chop up the point, add some sauce, and place back in the pit for a couple more hours to produce "burnt ends." Anyway, hard to find full briskets in most places (I know you can get it at Restaurant Depot), even the full flat can be hard to find except at the wholesale stores...

                    1. re: woodburner


                      I am going to assume you mean the confusion exists with the term "deckle". the part of the meat I prefer is the cap that is an extension or any part of the strip of muscle and fat that lies right on top of the ribs. So that means that rib-eyes also have a deckle,

                      Everything else you cite with reference to to "packer" is correct. I also prefer the less desired point for my sandwiches as well.....the First Cut is too dry for my tastes....I need the fat to enjoy it properly for me.


                      With reference to the Caps being removed for brining at the Country Club for events....Prime Rib was served without the outer deckle for practical reasons for guests ordering Prime Rib Dinners. The trimmed roast beef Eyes made better plate presentation and cuts were easily made with consistency of thickness when serving upwards of 500 beef dinners alone. In order to fit the vegetables and potatoes on the plate, the cap needed to be removed, otherwise there would not be enough space.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        More than one deckle... I like it! I also like the deckle on the rib roast best... like the brisket point. Marbled, flavorful. thanks.

              2. re: janetms383

                If the meat is drying out after you cut it, then it's overcooked.

          2. I've done it in the oven for many, many years with consistently great results. Before then, I used to boil and get uneven results - sometimes tough, sometimes ok.

            The pan 1/2 full with water and sealed with foil works great. In fact, if you want to remove the foil for the last 1/2 hour and baste once or twice, you'll get some roasted flavor while still getting a tender corned beef. Sometimes, I'll put more pickling spices in the water (bay, whole black & white peppercorns, whole yellow & brown mustard seeds, whole coriander seeds, garlic).

            Since I bought a large dutch oven, I no longer use the pan and foil. I just bring the water about half way up the roast, cover, and put in the oven. 300 to 325 for an hour/lb sounds about right.

            1. I use both the stove and the oven. My mother did it this way and now I do it too.

              Boil the corned beef for about an hour. Then place it on a sheet of foil and brush it with a "glaze" of brown sugar and dijon or honey mustard. Wrap tightly and place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 1.5 hours at around 350. It's really delicious.

              15 Replies
              1. re: valerie

                I have used Valerie's method. I do the traditional "boil", but finish the meat in the oven with a glaze. I would not dream of NOT doing the traditional "boil" because it gives me such a wonderful base for a split pea soup later in the week. If I don't have time to make the soup, I freeze the stock & make it later.

                1. re: valerie

                  This is how my mom always did it, and now how I always do it, except instead of simmering for just an hour I simmer according to what's printed on the package (usually about 2.5 hours), subtracting 1/2 hour from that for the oven time. Then it goes in a 350 or even 400 degree oven with the glaze for 15-30 minutes, until the glaze bubbles and starts to really bake in. So we don't wrap it, we leaveit exposed so it gets crusty. Tender in the center and a nice crusty sweet glaze=perfect!

                  A tip my mom swore by that I've followed--NEVER boil, only simmer. Boiling is what makes it tough.

                  1. re: thursday

                    Now that you mention it, I think I simmer it too, rather than boil.

                    1. re: thursday

                      You are correct on the "boil" part. I tend to use the term "boil" because the whole concoction (beef, cabbabge, potatoes & etc.) is also referred to as a "New England Boiled" dinner.

                      1. re: PattiCakes

                        i found a recipe yrs ago for new eng boiled dinner in a recipe book that was over a century old then
                        it was the A typical one calling for the corned beef, std mix of veggies but here is the kicker
                        a small ham and a chicken added to the pot it was great

                        1. re: foodperv

                          Grama, she always put a small picnic ham (not sure what they called it then) with the corned beef and she did cobs of corn cut in half and the carrots were almost whole, big, not sliced and squash, acorn, really. I know ... but true.

                          I never followed that version, She said her mom taught her that and it was gramps favorite

                      2. re: thursday

                        Thank you for posting this. I used your method with Valerie's stone ground mustard/brown sugar glaze on Friday night and the SO loved it so much he requested I make it AGAIN the next night for a family dinner.

                        Btw, Trader Joe's has some great corned beef at the moment. Well seasoned, not too fatty, great color. It is FLYING off the shelves though...

                      3. re: valerie

                        Hi Valerie, Just wanted to let you know that I did my corned beef your way and it turned out perfectly - it was my first try with corned beef. Had 6#, simmered for 1.5 hours and then transfered to oven with glaze for 1.5 hours. Thank you!

                        1. re: akp

                          I made pickled deckle a la Valerie for Rosh Hashana. It was a big hit. My teenagers said it was the best thing I had ever cooked. The pea soup with the liquid was a bit too salty so next time I will water it down.


                          1. re: SoCal Mother

                            Wow, I guess I haven't checked back on this thread in a while but I'm glad that everyone has enjoyed the corned beef. I haven't made it in some time, but I may have to put it on next week's menu. My husband and kids love it, though my somewhat picky 4 year old son will only eat it when I remind him that it tastes like a hotdog (it does, kind of!). And then he puts ketchup on it. But he eats it, so who cares?!?

                        2. re: valerie

                          Valerie, based on your's how it turned out. I modified slightly...but, in a nutshell,

                          * Soaked for 24 hours changing the water twice

                          * Braised for 2.5 hours

                          * Removed from stove, and glazed in Dijon Mustard and Brown Sugar

                          ^ Transferred to a 250* oven on a rack for an additional hour until it reached 170*

                          * Rested for 30 minutes and sliced.

                          * Your recipe is recommended

                          A more detailed account can be found here...


                          1. re: fourunder

                            Glad it worked out for you but that's really not my recipe with the exception of the dijon/brown sugar...I don't soak it, I don't braise it (I simmer in a full pot of water), and I wrap in foil before baking!

                            My Passover brisket, however, will be completely braised in a LC in the oven.

                            1. re: valerie


                              braised and simmer .....the same

                              and based on your were my inspiration!

                              : 0)

                            2. re: fourunder

                              I followed this method and it was the best corned beef I've ever prepared!

                              Changed water 4 times over 24 hours. Braised with beer and water to top it off. Used the braise liquid to cook my vegetables.


                          2. ROAST the beef like any other meat. Boiling in water dilutes the flavor. keep a small amount of water in the roasting pan to keep the meat from drying out, but you want a nice black char on the meat just like any good beef roast. the fat should be yellow and crisp. Slice thin and make sandwiches on a good rye bread or serve with boiled cabbage and potatoes.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: katmeat

                              If you are using a pre-brined or corned corned beef found in the cryo-packs at the store they are loaded with salt. Cooking in water helps to leach out some of this salt. If you cook in a dry method without first doing an extended soak to remove some salt the meat will be too salty to eat. Of course some produces use more salt than others. You can take a small thin sample and cook it in a pan and taste it. If it's too salty to eat then soak.

                              I just did a corned beef on my smoker and made pastrami. Coated it in black pepper, coriander and other spices and into the smoker at 230F. A four pounder took 7 hours to reach 195F internal. It can be cooked to a lower internal and then steamed the rest of the way as well.

                              1. re: katmeat

                                I have a small piece (1 lb) of corned beef from a butcher shop in brooklyn.

                                I want corned beef for sandwiches -- nice char, tender inside -- so katmeat's method sounds like what I want.

                                If I oven-roast like I would a pork shoulder (250 or so degrees, as long as it takes) will that work ok?

                                Any other tips? do I need liquid? foil?

                                1. re: Jack Barber

                                  With a piece that small you may be able to increase the temp a little. Braise in beer covered for 1 hour, then take off the cover for a little crisping action.

                                  1. re: phantomdoc

                                    Thanks for the response.

                                    Do you think the braise is essential?

                                    What if I stuck it in a ridged cast iron pan in 250-degree oven fat side up a couple hrs. (like oven bbq, basically) Would it end up too dry?

                                    1. re: Jack Barber

                                      IMO, that's a tiny piece of meat, and it will never survive straight dry heat... you need at least 5-6 lbs to hold up to the smoking or dry heat. the braise will hopefully keep it moist, and pull out the salt.

                                      1. re: woodburner

                                        I agree that a small roast cannot take too much heat. Meat can dry out submerged in water if it too hot for too long. If you can regulate to 140 degrees you can keep the corned beef warm, but do the high heat crust last, and have some liquid under it.