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Mar 8, 2012 06:04 AM

Sous Vide Corned Beef - Original Packaging?

First time posting, long time lurker!

Having a family meal (20+ people) coming up this weekend, and picked up three brands of corned beef from the market that have been vacuum sealed with the corning juices directly in the bag.

Can I sous vide the corned beef directly in the vacuum sealed packaging? It would definitely save me time compared to pulling the corned beef out, pouring the juices into a Ziploc, and forcing all the air out again...

Also, any recommendation on time/temperature? From a quick Google search and review, my current plan is 145 degrees at 48 hours...

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I'm planning on doing a sous vide corned beef this year, at 135 degrees for 48 hours as described here...

    The retail packaging my corned beef came in peels open, which I don't trust to stay secure in the bath. I'm going to remove it from the retail package, pat it dry and re-bag before putting it in the bath.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Coogles

      Hmm.. good point. I'll have to check to see how the packages are sealed. I believe they're all cut to open vacuum sealed, but I didn't look carefully for a "peel here" corner either.

      Are you adding the retail packaging juices into the bag as well, or going dry?

      1. re: ninjak

        I'm going to go dry, my concern is that the juices in the retail bag may be too salty. I'll probably add some type of fat to the bag like clarified butter but no extra liquids.

        1. re: Coogles

          The juice was fine. I used a flat cut and left on the fat.

          I cut up cabbage and sauteed it, then poured the juice into the saute pan and reduced it to finish the cabbage. I will never use a boil pot again for this.

    2. Quick note!

      NEVER cook food in the pouches/packaging it comes in. The plastic is usally NEVER approved for heating. Plastic that does not meet the requirements/standards for heating, can be very toxic if used for sous vide.

      There's a reason sous vide bags are more expensive than ordinary vacuumbags!

      2 Replies
      1. re: SousVideDK

        Thanks for the note! That's what I was afraid of... looks like I'll need to pull them out and reseal.

        1. Why are you using sous vide for this anyway? At a minimum, I'd speculate that it will be extremely salty since there's no liquid to rehydrate the meat and dilute the salt content (yes, i know they're wet packed, but the curing process removes moisture from the meat -- which what the process was designed to do)

          If you do go this route, I'd be interested in hearing how the results differ from the usual simmering process.

          6 Replies
          1. re: rjbh20

            From what I've read on the Sous Vide forums, this method turns out a much more moist meat at 135 for 48 hours. If you want more tender with less moisture (getting closer to traditional), you can use 147 for 48 hours and finish with a more fall apart tender beef.

            Serious Eats did a study on temperature vs. time here:

            Sous vide forums also had two articles that are more recipeish than a study:

            1. re: rjbh20

              Just as an update... I took the three different types of corned beef (one flat, two point) from different companies out of the bag, patted them dry, sealed in Ziploc, removed air, and set to sous vide for 48 hours at 145 degrees.

              Interesting results... the flat (Old Fashioned) came out texture wise like fall apart delicious brisket, and was the most enjoyable of all. Flavor was great, but the tenderness and texture compares to some of the best smoked brisket I've had.

              The fat cap on the point cuts hadn't melted as much as I had hoped it would and the texture was closer to ham... very tender ham, but far denser than the flat. We tried two brands that evening (Bea's Best and Centrella). Bea's best was better than Centrella, but still didn't hold a candle to Old Fashioned's flat cut.

              Now I'm stuck with three more pounds of Centrella (we overbought to be safe for the guest list) that I can't return due to a 48 hours perishable rule... trying to figure out if I can turn it into pastrami some how for respectable sandwiches...

              Thanks again for all the advice!

              1. re: ninjak

                Yes, you can turn it into pastrami if it hasn't been cooked yet.

                1. re: acgold7

                  All it needs to become Pastrami is to be coated in pepper and coriander and smoked. If its already cooked, you could smoke it briefly and I bet it would be fine (and at least close to "regular" pastrami).

                  1. re: marsapalto

                    Coated in pepper and (mostly) coriander and smoked, yes...but for the best traditional NY deli pastrami, it should get lengthy steaming as the final step.

                2. re: ninjak

                  Bit of an older post but I just wanted to say thanks -- I just finished a meal of corned brisket cooked at 148F for ~42 hours (I pumped it up by 1 degree to compensate for the bit of missing time).

                  Scored the fat cap and put it under the broiler for a few minutes after removing it from the bag, which melted a lot of the fat and rendered the remainder nice and golden brown. Absolutely perfect moisture and tenderness levels and super easy to slice.

                  Regarding saltiness, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread, I rinsed the meat very well and dried it before putting it the vacuum bag. A lot of liquid released during the cooking process and, I assume, carried out any excess remaining salt. The meat was well seasoned but not at all "salty."

                  So good, in fact, that we're thinking of grabbing some more while it's still in the stores. (Maybe catch a sale on leftover stock tomorrow?)

                  On that note, anyone have thoughts regarding freezer storage? Would it be better to freeze it raw, or to cook it first?

              2. I did the 135 last year and it was good, but i would do the 147 next time i try it, i think it would be better a little more tender.

                1. How did yours turn out?

                  So I made my first corned beef with sous vide (celebrating StPs a day early)

                  Perfect! The corned beef came out uniformly pink, consistently seasoned throughout, gently salted with a lingering aftertaste. The texture amazed me, tender, but firm so easily sliced. I simply put in the bag the same pickling spice I would use in a pot

                  I did 60 hours at 135, let it sit in the bag for several hours, then browned it on a stove top cast iron grill pan.

                  Well worth the time and cost.