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Sep 3, 2013 10:13 AM

Store bought corned beef

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!

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

        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.

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

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              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

                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

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

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    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

                      "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

                        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

                          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.

                            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

                              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

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

                      1. re: Becca Porter

                        ditto. mine is always grey from the butcher.

                        1. re: Becca Porter

                          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. 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

                    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

                      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

                        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. 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

                          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

                            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

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

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