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Rachel's Corned Beef Brisket

Purchased this product yesterday at Zehrs. I followed the directions exactly and was very disappointed with the quality of the meat. It was so tough , we ate 2 slices and threw the rest in the garbage. What a waste of money.

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  1. How long did you cook it? Most corned beef needs to be cooked 3 hours. I don't buy corned beef anymore, it's very easy to make. 5 or 10 minutes prep, 1 week in the refrigerator, and then the 3 hrs cooking.

    5 Replies
    1. re: foodyDudey

      True that. No corned beef is better than home-made, but it's a long slog...7 days in the pickling brine, 48 hours Sous Vide, then 4 hours on the Egg low 'n slow. The brisket from Cumbrae's on Church has perfect marbling. Yum!

      1. re: TorontoTuna

        i'll be the pedant and say that corned beef doesn't need smoking (pastrami/smoked meat does). not does it need sous vide; the irish boil meat (tongue in cheek).

        i would agree with FD's assessment...probably not cooked long enough.

        1. re: grandgourmand

          Actually, old stick, tongue does make a great corned beef.

          1. re: TorontoTuna

            old stick, eh? haven't heard that expression before.

            actually, one of my bucket list items is a corned tongue sandwich. what can i say...i like achievable goals.

        2. re: TorontoTuna

          SV followed by the ol BGE treatment, eh? Gotta say, gentlemen: I like the cut of your particular jib!

          I have patience when it comes to certain things: 72 hours underwater at 123F for shortribs, 12 hours of indirect smoke at 220F for pulled pork? No problem.

          I have neither the time nor the patience for corned beef.

          Into the pressure cooker it goes with a bit of water and more pickling spices and garlic, throw it on the stove, and wham, bam, thank you ma'am, it's done in an hour.


      2. I've had this numerous times bought from Longo's. I smoked it for an hour then put it in some water, covered it and cooked it in the oven for three hours (I think.) No issues with any of them.

        1. Did you slice it against the grain?? If you don't, these cuts are not edible.

          I purchased it once from Longo's, simmered gently for only 35 mins and it was done perfectly.


          1. We bought this at Costco and it was pretty good. We did a light simmer on the stove for about 2 hours (the piece was huge... well over 2 lbs). It fell apart and my husband liked this.

            Out of curiousity, what are people paying / lb for theirs? We bought ours for $6/lb.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Nevy

              that's pretty expensive. i bought one in etobicoke yesterday for 8.99/kg so less than 4.50/lb

              1. re: grandgourmand

                Sorry I meant 6/kg and the piece was over 2 kg

            2. also bought it at Costco.

              needs to be sliced / shaved very thin

              1. I've had this a bunch of times, you can boil it in the bag as well. It's definitely not tough, it shreds apart under the weight of the knife almost.. Something went wrong, for certain

                1. I braised two Rachel's brisket pieces yesterday in a Le Creuset. 325F for 3 hours, and they were perfect. Sorry to read of your experience.

                  1. There is a major error in Rachel's directions.
                    She recommends simmering 2-3 hours or until the internal
                    temperature reaches 161 F.
                    This is too low for brisket, which needs to go up to 190 F to break down collagen,
                    That might take 4 hours depending on the size of the cut or the individual animal.
                    I would boil in bag next time, to 185 F, let it rest 12 minutes, then slice thinly against the grain. Should be perfect.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: jayt90

                      But how are you checking for 185F when its sealed inside the bag? Unless you are puncturing the bag, but then the bag will fill with water..

                      1. re: duckdown

                        Yes, a probe even with a narrow Thermapen, will break the seal, and the steaming effect will be over. However, even if water gets in, it is probably OK. The bag liquid is a throwaway because of salt content.

                        Another method is to rub the meat with East European spices, wrap the brisket in foil and slow roast for 2-4 hours, checking with a probe near the end.

                        It's too bad there is no info about Rachel on the website. Maybe the admen invented her.

                        1. re: jayt90

                          An even better way to do it, and get yourself cheaters MSM is to debag it, season thoroughly with (salt free) Montreal Steak Spice, leave for a week and then smoke it.
                          Once that's done, I put it on a roasting rack, a bit of water in the bottom and seal with aluminum foil.
                          About 3 hours later is magnificent.


                      2. re: jayt90

                        also, you should tell them about that 190 F thing, maybe refer them to this post?

                        from doing some googling, apparently there is no "Rachel", it's a produced by St. Helen's Meat Packers based out of Toronto.. Their contact page is here


                        Curious what they would say about it

                        1. re: jayt90

                          I cooked two of Rachel's brisket portions this week and both were just fine since I ignored her directions.

                          I removed the briskets from their packages and rinsed them well. I cooked them in a Dutch oven with aromatic vegetables and fresh seasonings in low-sodium chicken stock. Did them in the oven at 275F for about 5 hours to an internal temperature of about 185F. The result was very tender, but not falling apart.

                          Rachel's briskets can also be enjoyed by applying Montreal Steak Seasoning or something similar and smoking them at 225F to 180F internal. Outcome is close enough to Montreal smoked meat for me when steamed for an hour or two after smoking. I use the carving fork test to check for doneness.

                        2. At St. Helen's Meat Packers we take great pride in producing a high quality product for consumers to enjoy. We are sorry to hear that you were disappointed in the Rachel's Corned Beef. As you can see by the responses to your concerns, we rarely if ever receive a complaint. Hopefully your next experience with Rachel's Corned Beef will be an enjoyable one!

                          1. You shouldn't have tossed it. It can still be re-purposed. Grind and make hash.