Tender and full of flavor, corned beef and cabbage are the perfect combination. Double the recipe and have Reuben sandwiches with the leftovers the next day! (And trust me when I say double the recipe, because it’s so good that you won’t have leftovers!)
⏲️ Time needed
If you are using the stovetop method, allow about 3 hours. For the crockpot method, it will take up to 6 hours to cook.
- corned beef brisket with spice packet
- chopped onions
- chopped cabbage
This corned beef brisket can be made either on the stovetop or in the slow cooker.
For the stovetop, place the brisket in large pot and cover with water. Add seasoning packet and cover, bring contents to a simmer. Simmer on low for three hours until tender (internal beef temperature should be at least 160ºF). In the last 15-30 minutes of cooking, add the onions and cabbage and cook until tender.
For the crockpot, place the brisket in crockpot and cover with water. Add spice packet, cover, and cook on high for 5-6 hours (internal beef temperature should be at least 160ºF). About an hour before serving, add cabbage and onions. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender.
❓ Corned Beef FAQ
What cut of meat is corned beef made from?
Corned beef is made from beef brisket, which is a boneless beef cut from the breast or chest.
What is corned beef?
Corned beef is a salt-cured beef product, and the “corned” descriptor refers to the grains of rock salt, which the English called kernels, or “corns.” The distinct flavor of corned beef comes from two processes: salt curing and seasoning during cooking.
Is Corned Beef Irish?
Maybe. People in the U.S. typically think of it as a traditionally Irish dish, but there is some debate about its origin. Ireland did export quite a bit of corned beef in the 17th century, partly due to its large cattle industry and partly due to the fact that Ireland paid a much lower salt tax than England. Sea-based wars increased the demand for cured meat, strengthening the salt beef industry.
By the early 20th century, corned beef was a popular item among Irish immigrants in the U.S. because it was reasonably priced and readily available, unlike in Ireland where it was more expensive. They found a steady, affordable supply of the cured meat from Jewish butchers in American cities.
What is in the spice packet?
The spice packet is basically pickling spices, but the exact contents vary between recipes. Bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard and dill seeds, and coriander are found in most packets, with other herbs and seeds often included.
Why is my cooked corned beef brown instead of red?
If the package of beef you used was cured without nitrates, the resulting roast will be brown instead of red. Nitrates used in curing results in a red roast.
Should I rinse the meat before cooking?
You can, but it isn’t necessary. An unrinsed roast will be more flavorful, but if you generally find corned beef to be too salty or are trying to reduce your sodium intake, you can rinse it.
Often the liquid in the package is somewhat thick or gel-like, which by itself does not mean it has gone bad. Always pay attention to any “use by” dates on the package (which are different from “best by” dates).
Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 3 lb corned beef brisket with spice packet
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 head cabbage, chopped
- Place brisket in large pot and cover with water. Add packet and cover.
- Bring contents to a simmer.
- Simmer on low for three hours until tender.
- Add onions and cabbage and cook until tender, 15 to 30 minutes more.
- Place brisket in crockpot and cover with water. Add spice packet and cover.
- Cook on high for 5-6 hours or until internal beef temperature is at least 160ºF.
- About an hour before serving, add cabbage and onions. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender.
🥗 Side dishes
Potatoes in any form make a delicious side dish for corned beef, or try some Guinness Brown Bread.
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Source: Mac Con Iomaire, M. and P. Gallagher (2011) “Irish Corned Beef: A Culinary History,” Journal of Culinary Science and Technology, Vol 9, No. 1, accessed 21 February 2020.