Ways & How

How to Cook a Corned Beef Brisket

How to Cook a Corned Beef Brisket

Compared to chicken and pork, many novice cooks find beef to be intimidating. Learning how to cook a corned beef brisket is a great way to start because it leaves a lot of room for error. Unlike rib eye or sirloin, you don’t have to be afraid of overcooking. Among the other cuts of meat, the brisket is one of the least tender, which is also why it’s relatively inexpensive. Brisket is taken from the breast, right below the first five ribs. Despite its toughness, it’s a popular cut because of its flavor. Corned beef brisket is meat that has been cured in seasoned brine. On the other side of the pond, the British know it as salt beef. Although corned beef brisket starts off tough and chewy, long and slow cooking will break down the collagen and turn it quite tender. Cooking corned beef brisket is easier than you would think. Here’s how:

    1. Let’s start with the meat. Corned beef briskets are sold prepackaged in most supermarkets, but some will be fattier than others. Brisket will always have a thin line of fat on one side, but make sure that the piece you are getting doesn’t have too much.

      e-pound brisket is a good size; any leftovers can be saved to make sandwiches the next day.

    2. Most briskets come with a packet of seasoning. If yours does not, you will also need the following:

      5 cloves of garlic, crushed;

      1 tablespoon of allspice;

      1 tablespoon of pepper;

      1 teaspoon of dill seeds; and

      1 teaspoon of bay leaves, chopped.

    3. Your corned beef brisket will be dry-packed but some brine will spill as you cut the packaging open. For that reason, it’s best to do it in your clean kitchen sink. That way, you can also give it a good rinsing right afterwards.

    4. Use a lidded pot that’s deep enough to let you cook the brisket completely submerged in liquid. Cast-iron pots are perfect for this. Place the beef, fat-side down, inside the pot and add enough water to cover it. Add the seasoning to the water, cover, and bring to a boil.

    5. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer. The beef will need three to four hours of cooking in order to become tender.

    6. Keep the heat on medium because anything higher can cause the pot to boil over. During this time, do not poke, turn, or otherwise disturb the pot. Just check that you have enough water to keep the beef covered; add more water as needed.

    7. Once fully cooked, the beef will shrink to almost half its original size. At the end of the three hours, check for tenderness by sticking a sharp knife into the brisket. If it’s tender enough, turn off the heat and just let it cool in the pot.

    8. When cooking meat, it’s best to let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. The rest period allows the meat juices released during cooking to be reabsorbed.

    9. When you are ready to serve, take the brisket out of the pot and slice thinly against the grain to bring out its flavor. Corned beef brisket is usually served with a side of potatoes and vegetables.

Now that you know how to cook a corned beef brisket, you can actually come up with a whole week’s worth of dinners. You can use cooked brisket slices as sandwich fillings (it goes really well with gourmet mustard), as garnishing for vegetable soups, and even for salads. Although it does take several hours to prepare, much of that time is merely wait time, which makes it a great dish for those days when you are trying to multi-task around the home.


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