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Store bought corned beef

uptownlibrarian Sep 3, 2013 10:13 AM

I love corned beef and I'd like to have it at home, but I'm not sure I want to do the whole brining process myself. Can you buy corned beef at the store other than canned or deli meat? Or would I just get a super thick slice of the deli meat version and go from there in terms of warming it at home?

Or is the concept of store bought corned beef a bad idea and I should just do it at home? I have the tools and ability to do it, I honestly just don't feel like it. Thanks!

  1. t
    Teague Mar 11, 2014 09:33 PM

    I'm going to take this opportunity to disclose that I am a pretty huge fan of canned corned beef. A common end-of-month supper when growing up was a lot of potatoes and a small can of Hormel (ground) corned beef, "Hash". With a fried egg for each of us, and all the ketchup we wanted :).

    A while ago I attended a supper-club dinner at a local fine restaurant, the chef cooked us a Samoan menu (not related to the regular menu). One of the featured meats was Ox & Palm canned corned beef, it is not ground, it's in pieces and shreds. It was pretty delicious actually. Great with the Kale dish. I have been sort of looking for this brand but haven't found it locally in groceries.

    1. iheartcooking Mar 9, 2014 09:59 AM

      I'm sure home brined is better but I do like to pick up the store made ones because 1. They go on sale for super cheap and 2. You can smoke em for pastrami

      1. dave_c Sep 11, 2013 12:26 PM

        The best corned beef I've had was home cured. It's relatively simple, just takes time and patience.

        Uncooked corned beef - my current favorite packaged corned beef is from Costco. USDA Choice and not overly salty with good flavor.

        I suggest try making your own corned beef at least once. I think you'll enjoy the results. Afterwards, you can determine if it was worth the effort.

        1. k
          kseiverd Sep 3, 2013 11:50 AM

          Other than from a real "Jewish" deli, have ALWAYS been disappointed with corned beef from deli counter of regular supermarket.

          When I just GTTA have corned beef, will buy a hunk of vac sealed (seasoned) brisket and either let go in crock pot of simmer in water for several hours on stove top. I usually add more "pickling spices" and generous amount of garlic to the mix.

          1. uptownlibrarian Sep 3, 2013 11:46 AM

            Thanks everyone, for the advice and cooking tips. I'll be keeping an eye out and picking up a pre-brined one ASAP.

            1. t
              travelerjjm Sep 3, 2013 11:10 AM

              You can purchase whole brined brisket, or just the brined point or flat, depending on what you want.

              I have never soaked it. I just rinse it off. Most of the excess salt comes out in the cooking, in my experience. I guess I'll try soaking the next one and see what it tastes like.

              3 Replies
              1. re: travelerjjm
                Melanie Wong Sep 3, 2013 11:59 AM

                The salt content and character of the brine varies dramatically by producer and/or brand. I no longer need to soak the corned beef I buy and in fact some advise not only not rinsing but adding the brine to the cooking water.

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  gmm Sep 12, 2013 08:19 PM

                  I absolutely agree. I typically cook all the corned beef I've bought the same way, in the slow cooker with just enough water to cover. Some are incredibly salty, some just right and the last one was a store brand made by a small local grocery chain, it was so underseasoned, I might have well just bought a plain brisket. It might be a good idea to slice off a small piece of the raw CB and fry it and taste just to see how salty it is. Probably the best one I've found is one that's made by a local butcher, they brine it in-house for a couple weeks minimum, and it's never been over or under salty.

                  1. re: gmm
                    scubadoo97 Mar 9, 2014 08:56 AM

                    Also look at the nutritional label for the sodium content. They vary a lot

              2. greygarious Sep 3, 2013 10:57 AM

                You MUST soak a storebought corned beef brisket in at least two changes of water to get out enough salt, and don't add any salt when cooking it. You'll find numerous Home Cooking threads on how to then cook it. I don't care for a boiled dinner per se. After soakings, I boil the brisket, then slather it with brown sugar and prepared mustard, wrap in foil, and roast in the oven on the same sheet pan on which I am roasting potatoes, carrots, and onion wedges. I steam cabbage wedges. Love the "boiled/roasted" corned beef dinner.

                3 Replies
                1. re: greygarious
                  c oliver Sep 3, 2013 10:59 AM

                  We don't care for CB&C. I cook in the slow cooker, have one meal but it's really just for sandwiches.

                  1. re: greygarious
                    eLizard Sep 11, 2013 12:16 PM

                    even if you get it from a butcher? i never get cryovaced. just grey cb from a corner market. no soaking, just simmered in a crock for a long time. with enough left overs for hash.

                    1. re: greygarious
                      jdub1371 Mar 9, 2014 07:17 PM

                      I made it a version of this a while back and it was toe-curlingly delicious. I think I boiled the beef for 20-30 minutes, discarded the cooking water, then finished cooking it in fresh water along with the vegetables. After that, drained the meat and roasted it with a coating of mustard an brown sugar, but not foil-wrapped. Oh man, it was good.

                    2. John E. Sep 3, 2013 10:22 AM

                      Check the meat case. In my neck of the woods, (Twin Cities) you can buy a cryovaced corned beef brisket any day of the year.

                      Personally, I soak corned beef in water with several changes of water prior to cooking to get some of the salt out.

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: John E.
                        c oliver Sep 3, 2013 10:55 AM

                        I'm going to start doing that - the soaking. It seems like I can always find them at Costco so I'll keep a couple in the freezer, though they last an insane amount of time in the fridge.

                        1. re: John E.
                          eLizard Sep 11, 2013 12:16 PM

                          oops dupe post

                          1. re: John E.
                            fldhkybnva Mar 9, 2014 08:34 AM

                            I just picked up store-brined corned beef. How long do you soak and how often do you change the water?

                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                              John E. Mar 10, 2014 04:39 PM

                              It's been a while, but what I have done is to thaw the corned beef (about three pounds) in the refrigerator if
                              frozen, then put it into a 5 or 8 quart kettle with lots of water. I would change the water as frequently as I remembered to, at least an hour apart. Frankly, even with the soaking, I still find it a bit salty and don't cook it anymore. If I would cook one, I'd use a pressure cooker.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva
                                Melanie Wong Mar 10, 2014 08:43 PM

                                As noted in my old post to this thread, the house-brined corned beef that I've been buying for St Patrick's Day, from different stores, over the last few years has not needed soaking at all.

                                Here's a tip from one such, "My sister joined us and shared some tips she got from Mr Ver Brugge years ago. When I told her that I had wondered how the salt level would turn out, she said that he'd told her that corned beef purchased this time of year is going to be 'fresh' and doesn't need soaking. Buy it other times, and soaking might be needed. Ver Brugge said that to check the salt level, put the corned beef on to boil, bring up to temperature, taste the water and then change the water if needed."

                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                  fldhkybnva Mar 11, 2014 12:10 PM

                                  The nutrition facts list 38% sodium, you don't think it needs soaking?

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva
                                    Melanie Wong Mar 11, 2014 12:33 PM

                                    I don't know. I go by taste, as suggested in my post. The corned beef, brined in-house that I buy from different local butchers, is not sold in bags nor labeled that way. The photo below shows the point cut in the case I bought yesterday. In recent years as salt level has declined, they're just not that salty any more.

                                    Nutrition labeling is % of daily value based on an average sized diet. It's not the content by weight in the corned beef. So one needs to know the size serving its measured against, etc. For one serving size in one of three meals a day, 38% of your sodium intake in a day from eating a corned beef dinner would be more than acceptable.

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                                      fldhkybnva Mar 11, 2014 12:45 PM

                                      "For one serving size in one of three meals a day, 38% of your sodium intake in a day from eating a corned beef dinner would be more than acceptable." This depends on who you are, but in general is true.

                                      1. re: fldhkybnva
                                        Melanie Wong Mar 11, 2014 12:50 PM

                                        Nutrition labeling aside, the opinions in this thread are all over. Some say you must soak, another does one change of the cooking water, and others say they do not soak. So, it really depends on the character of the individual product in front of you. There's no hard and fast rule that applies across the board.

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                                          John E. Mar 11, 2014 06:41 PM

                                          I was thinking about putting a corned beef brisket through the x-tra large rinse cycle of our Maytag, sans fabric softener.

                                          1. re: John E.
                                            Melanie Wong Mar 11, 2014 06:54 PM

                                            And then wrap it snugly in foil and run it through the three-hour dishwasher cycle for the original poor man's sous vide.

                                            YMMV ;-)

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                                              John E. Mar 11, 2014 07:38 PM

                                              I forgot about that dishwasher cooking thing. 

                                              Several years ago, my brothers, cousins, and my father (the patriarch of the family, he's the last one left by 17 years) were going on a fishing trip. My dad was assigned the task to bring 20 lbs. of washed russet potatoes for baking and fresh french fries (propane turkey fryer). 

                                              We told him to run them through the dishwasher at the heavy duty, high temperature scrubbing setting, no heat dry, no detergent. Then he was to let them air dry and put them into grocery sacks. He seemed to understand. Well, he did put them through the dishwasher cycles and into the grocery sacks, but he used the plastic kind, (not paper) and put them in while the potatoes were still wet. 

                                              He tied them tight, three days before the trip. We got to the dock, and were about to get onto the houseboat. "What is that effin' smell?" was the universal question. There is nothing as stinky as rotting potatoes.

                                    2. re: fldhkybnva
                                      Becca Porter Mar 11, 2014 06:43 PM

                                      I have never soaked. It has never been too salty. I cook a lot of corned beef.

                                      1. re: Becca Porter
                                        eLizard Mar 12, 2014 06:52 AM

                                        ditto. mine is always grey from the butcher.

                                        1. re: Becca Porter
                                          Nanzi Mar 12, 2014 10:06 AM

                                          Me too Becca. We love it, and often do it on the grill low and slow. Hubby prefers this, and I prefer water prep.

                                2. tcamp Sep 3, 2013 10:18 AM

                                  Sure, you can buy it brined, in the meat section, sealed in a plastic pouch. I usually cook in a crockpot. Use the leftovers in sandwiches or chopped up with potatoes into hash.

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