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Corned beef and cabbage for a crowd

How much corned beef should I plan on for a crowd of 5 adults and 3 hefty eating kids? I usually pick up a 5 pounder and simmer low and slow on stovetop, in white wine. The slight sweetness helps to balance out the salt. But since it's a once a year thing, I want to make sure I have enough for our dinner as well as leftovers.

Anyway, just want to provide enough for my guests next week. Thanks for any guidance you can offer.

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  1. Plan on at least 1/2 lbs per person. You'll probably have left-overs but that is better than the alternative

    1. I can't give you quantities but I can say that in my experience steaming rather than simmering results in less shrinkage.

      1. I usually do 3/4 lb per person to a full lb. Only because I enjoy the leftovers from it. Corned beef hash is a favorite and at least a day of regular leftovers. I love corned beef and cabbage. I also make sure I have plenty of carrots, onions, potatoes and cabbage.

        Never used white wine, I use beer, beef broth a couple of cloves, bay and some general seasoning and simmer. Depending on the size for a few hours and then add the vegetables. I serve mine with a horshradish cream sauce. Some like a spicy mustard sauce too. I make both.

        2 Replies
        1. re: kchurchill5

          This sounds great - never made my own corned beef - just purchased it already in a brine. How is it purchased and can you share your recipe?

          1. re: juliewong

            I do use a store bought good quality pre brined corned beef. However, I still cook in a little broth, some good dark beer and a couple of whole cloves. It is so much easier and tasty. Adding all the veggies in with the beef after a couple of hours of cooking gives them great taste with the beer and broth. Also the potatoes soak up some of the liquid. After removing the beef once done and then the veggies. I take about half the broth, I add a shot of cognac or brandy and then thicken slightly with some corn starch. Just for a light sauce. Nothing too much. My horshradish sauce and mustard both are horshradish and mayo and sour cream. The mustard is dijon, sour cream and horshradish.

            I cook the beef for about 2 hours and then add the potatoes, carrots and onions. Cook 1 hour, then add the cabbage and cook another 30-40 minutes. You can cook in the oven but I usually use stove top. But for a large crowd a large roaster will work fine in the oven. I cook on medium low for 2 hrs (325) and then add the veggies after 2 hours and cook at 350, once soft ... about 1 hour add the cabbage and cook until done. It is just tender and juicy.

            Making your owned corned beef takes takes 5-10 days at that. I buy mine, but I think the extra flavor when cooking gives it some additional flavor not only to the the beef but great for the veggies.

        2. YumYum if you are going to pick up a local gray corned beef, grab a few corned spare ribs for your dinner too. You can either take them out a bit earlier to take the edge off hungry appetites (you can even try to have the butcher chop them up, then boil them less time and fry) or put them in after the brisket. Also go to a store which offers savoy cabbage. Pick up some pickling spices or if you prefer it, allspice, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorns. Personally I would probably go all the way for a 1lb/person and a bit less for the kids since you want leftovers and this is a meal where there isn't a lot of filling side plates or appetizers, but I usually buy a bit too much.

          5 Replies
          1. re: itaunas

            I buy too much as well. Why the Savoy, just out of curiosity?

            1. re: yumyum


              Very similar to a green cabbage or nappa cabbage but a milder flavor. Personal I like the flavor of green cabbage for the corned beef. I do use savoy if possible for slaw and napa also common in stir fries. Honestly, I like the strong taste and can eat it with anything. I just like cabbage.

              Personal taste. It also holds up really well which I like for this dish.

              1. re: kchurchill5

                Thanks Kchurch and itaunus -- this year it will be savoy cabbage.

                And I'm doing champ instead of boiled potatoes, because the 5 year old guest has made a special request. What's better than mashed potatoes with a lump of Kerrygold melting in the middle? Not much I'd say.

                Dhá thrian den obair í an chosúlacht.
                "Two thirds of the work is the semblance."

                1. re: yumyum

                  Good to me. A lot of times I make things for my guests, not just my tastes. As long as everyone has fun and enjoys themselves. Compared to good times, food comes in second.


              2. re: yumyum

                As kchurchill5 says, its personal taste. I think it holds its shape well and takes on a bit more flavor of the broth, which is more important with other boiled dinners than maybe corned beef. I can see the advantage of the stronger flavor of the green cabbage, but like savoy. Another alternate vegetable I use in boiled dinners is a rutabaga instead of turnips for a slightly milder flavor.

            2. I would buy at least one pound per person. It shrinks tremendously and you want there to be plenty. Also you want leftovers. I buy the point cut which shrinks a lot more than the flat cut. I find it much juicier and more flavorful.

              Consider also that the meat comes in brine so the total weight may include some water.

              1. Reporting back on my post. Dinner was last night. I went overboard and made a total of 7 lbs of corned beef, which gave enough for everyone to pig out AND some for leftovers.

                And because I am insane, I did a horizontal tasting between flat, point, red and grey varieties. Red point was the favorite in terms of texture -- juicy, appropriately fatty, but difficult to carve. Grey really had some fans in the room -- the taste was superior to the red (processed) cuts. Grey also didn't shred apart like the red flat did.

                Cooked stovetop for 3+ hours, then rested and carved. Served with strong mustard and horseradish cream. Delicious!

                5 Replies
                1. re: yumyum

                  Great idea to try both red and grey. Now, if we could pin you down and you had to choose one, which would be your personal favorite?

                  1. re: bear

                    It's like choosing your favorite child bear. Of course you have a favorite, but you really can't say it out loud. I was mightily impressed by the flavor and texture of the grey.

                    1. re: yumyum

                      We did a smaller-scale taste test - split out 6 pound flat in half after we corned it. Half got wrapped in a double layer of foil with half a can of Guinness and a slathering of mustard, and roasted/braised for about 2.5 hours (until it reached 190). The other half got boiled in Guinness/water/spices until it reached 190, which was quite a bit longer. Both rested for at least an hour, then coated with mustard/brown sugar and broiled.

                      Honestly, I couldn't tell a big difference between the two, but the braised was definitely preferred by my guests - all of the leftovers came from the boiled batch.

                      Oh, and 6 pounds for 7 adults was a little bit too much, but not by a lot (and I only had one small piece). We also had Cottage Pie and lots of veggies.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        Where did you end up getting your grey? 18 years in Boston and I've never tried it...

                        1. re: tallullah

                          Got the grey at Shaws off McGrath in Somerville. Pearl brand, so that's a local name I could recognize. Lots of posts on the Boston board about where people are buying theirs. It's yum.