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Corned Beef Test Results.....Slow Baked and a Braise, For St. Paddy's Day.

It's that time a year again, St Paddy's Day is near and Corned Beef is cheap and plentiful in the markets, so I decided to purchase two pieces and see if a slow braise in a slow cooker ...or slow roasted in an oven would produce a better result. Both pieces of meat were approximately 4 pounds each.

Braised in a slow cooker for 7 hours on the low setting, the corned beef reached 195 degrees and was fork tender.

Baked low and slow in the oven for 7.5 hours @ 200*...the corned beef reached 170*.

The Final Results and Thoughts:

If you like your Corned Beef softer, braising is the way to go. The oven baked corned beef had a firmer texture and a little chew, but nevertheless, it was still very enjoyable. the oven baked CB was also saltier....in the future, I would probably soak in water and change the water at least a couple of times to remove some of the salt/brine, similar to the process for Salt Cod. One noticeable difference where the baked version is remarkably better is if you like to slice your meat super thin, the baked version will not fall apart at all. My next test for bake, I intend to increase the internal temperature up to at least 185*, to see if it becomes more tender and less chew.

 
 
 
 
 
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  1. great experiment, fourunder. thank you for sharing your results. they both look quite good!

    i find that once the brisket has cooled, the braised one may also be sliced thin. my problem is that i love to eat it warm! so, i have larger slices while it is warm, then once it cools, i can slice it thin for my beloved reuben sandwiches.

    6 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      Thanks alkapal for the kind words.

      I agree that cooling is best for slicing . The two middle pictures are the braised CB sliced after about 35 minutes covered. The edges of the meat frayed a little when sliced warm....but the leftovers cooled overnight had no such problem.....I'm with you on the Reubens too. Two questions.

      1. Open Faced or Closed

      2. Swiss Cheese or other

        1. re: fourunder

          i think i prefer regular grilled reubens over open-face because that method holds in all the "stuff"! i often end up eating it with a knife and fork anyway.

          i used swiss yesterday (shredded, by the way -- as an experiment), but i was ready to use some havarti. of course, the best is using gruyere.

          this may be heresy to some, but my sister did this and she had great reubens: use liquid parkay or country crock to smear on the outside for grilling. it makes it really rich -- maybe too rich, but it tastes good!

          gotta have the dill pickles, too. yesterday i sliced a whole boar's head dill pickle in very thin slices to lay onto the sandwich. yeah, buddy!

          1. re: alkapal

            We made our reubens last night, too. Closed, filled to the brim, cooked in butter in a large cast iron skillet. Used Baby Swiss, sauerkraut, creole mustard and a touch of French (red) dressing. Served with kosher pickles and pickled beets. We might like this better than the brisket and cabbage meal!

            1. re: bayoucook

              oh absolutely it is better than the brisket and cabbage meal, no doubt. in fact, the only reason to cook brisket is for reubens, to be honest.

              you are right -- creole mustard is the best - or another good strong, coarse mustard.

              i just wish that i could find a great mass market seeded rye with a real rye flavor. alas, i had to use "arnold's."

              1. re: alkapal

                Whether it is still made I don't know, but 5+ years ago I used to get an Arnold rye labeled something like "extra sour" when my supermarket had it, which was rarely. It was very close to the Jewish bakery ryes I grew up with on Long Island, except of course no crisp crust. Nowadays I buy Arnold's "everything" rye when I see it.

      1. Try this one time. My mother made it this way for years and now I make it for my husband and kids and everyone loves it...

        Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Lay the corned beef on a large sheet of foil. Mix up some dijon mustard and brown sugar and put the glaze over the corned beef. Wrap up in foil (pretty tightly) and bake on 300 or 325 for 1 1/2 hours.

        It will be tender, but not falling apart and the salt will be gone. It's delicious.

        2 Replies
        1. re: valerie

          I seem to recall this recipe before....:0)

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5873...

          I will most certainly give it a try in the future and report back. Thank you.

          1. re: valerie

            Thanks for your contribution, valerie. I had never had a boiled dinner, as the idea of boiled meat did not appeal to me, and so many people comment about the unpleasant smell as the meal simmers. Your idea sounded better - I got a small corned brisket, less than 2.5 #. It was labeled as lower sodium so I did not soak it before simmering. I added already-sweated onions to the glaze. I was not sure if you put the glaze only on top, so I did it on all sides. This was a mistake since, probably because I cranked the heat to 425F
            the last 10 min, the underside came out like burnt ends (tasty but tough). I put the wrapped brisket onto a sheet pan which also contained oiled, peppered chunks of carrot, potato, and shallot. Hence the high heat at the end, for browning the vegetables. I steamed torn-up cabbage leaves.
            After removing the meat and vegetables from the pan, I "deglazed" the brown fond that remained on the pan and on the inside of the foil by covering them with the cooked cabbage and turning with a rubber spatula. This was a truly superb feast, without stinky smells. I will definitely do it again; wish I had gotten a bigger piece of meat!.

          2. i braised mine in water and the enclosed spice packet for about 3 hours in the slow cooker. once it got to a boil, i immediately reduced the heat to keep it on a low simmer the whole way -- per the package instructions.-- adding in some cabbage and potatoes for the last 45 minutes. i could've cooked the veggies half an hour only.

            the beef was tender, but not mushy. today, reubens!

            1. I experimented with every method for cooking corned beef from boiling, steaming, baking, to the crock pot. My preferred method has become oven braising with beer ( http://recipesrandycooks.com/2011/03/... ). Although I am intrigued by the idea of the boil then braise method I can't bring myself to smear it with brown sugar like a ham! I will report back if I end up cooking another corned beef this week. Thanks for the post!

              1 Reply
              1. re: LiveRock

                I'm a fan of the boil then braise method myself, though I don't add any kind of glaze (though I have had it, and it's good!). I boil and skim, then into the oven for about 4 hrs in total. The veg goes in at T-40 (carrots, potatoes) and cabbage in at T-20. I put the onions in at the beginning. And if I'm feeling particularly adventurous, I'll even take the lid off so the top can get a little crust. Depends where I'm cooking and how stressed I am. Happy cooking!

              2. My current favorite method is the pressure cooker. Add corned beef (point cut is my choice), a bottle of stout or other dark beer, pickling spices, and water. Pressure cook for about 40 minutes for 3 lbs. While meat rests, pressure cook potatoes and carrots in remaining cooking liquid for 10 minutes.

                Texture and flavor using this method beats simmering or oven braised hands down! Added bonus: it's faster.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bdegregory

                  We pressure cooked the corned beef which 5 -1/2 lbs. for 1 hr. 45 minutes with a natural cool down. It was fork tender.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Somewhat stringy on the end where the meat wasn't as thick. We took this 'string' and cut it into small pieces. This morning I used the cut-up pieces when I added it to left-over mashed potatoes and fried in butter to make potato pancakes. Surely tasted good.