It All Starts With The Cut
Not all corned beef is made equally. The meat itself is actually a beef brisket, so there are a few different cuts that you can end up with. First off, there’s the “flat” which is fairly lean and tends to be a bit tougher. On the other hand, there’s the “point”, which is much thicker and fattier than the flat. Additionally, there’s a lot more flavor in the point, but naturally the texture is different. Finally, you can use a whole brisket, which contains both cuts. Using an entire brisket is your best bet, as you’ll get the extra juice and flavor from the point but with the improved texture of the flat. If you’d prefer to not use a whole brisket, the point is the better option of the two, but be sure to trim off some of the excess fat before serving.
- Pro Tip: Corned beef is cured in brine, so it’ll decrease in size during the cooking process. For a whole brisket, expect it to shrink by at least 25%.
Slow and Steady
Even the most perfect cut of meat can be ruined by the wrong cooking process. Corned beef is somewhat tough, so it requires low heat over a long period of time in order to tenderize properly. In terms of cooking methods, boiling in a dutch oven is undoubtably your best option, as it balances flavor profile and texture. For best results, we’d recommend using a mixture of water and Irish ale to give it a more powerful flavor. Once you’ve added your meat to your boiling mixture, set aside 3 hours of cook time.
- Pro Tip: If you’re using a slow cooker, we’d recommend setting aside at least 7 hours to make sure your meat can tenderize properly.
Pick Your Partners
Aside from cabbage, there are quite a few vegetables that you can use in your dish to add flavor and texture. Root vegetables are particularly good options, as they become extremely tender if added into the dutch oven towards the end of the cooking process. To start, try adding in carrots, potatoes and sweet onions!
Slice It Right
Once your corned beef and cabbage is done cooking, you should immediately take it out of the cooking liquid and begin to cut it to avoid overcooking. Though the meat should be very tender, it can be ruined if you don’t follow the proper cutting guidelines. Always slice it against the grain with the fatty side down to avoid ruining the meat. Additionally, if you opted for a whole brisket, slice from “flat” to “point” as it will match up with the natural grain of the brisket.
Dare To Innovate
If your clientele is open to experimentation, you can take the traditional corned beef and cabbage dish to some unique places. We’ve seen chefs add ingredients like roasted garlic, curry paste, and white wine into some of their mixtures! If you don’t feel like experimenting with the recipe itself, you can still add corned beef and cabbage into other dishes like rueben sandwiches, soups, or even pizzas! Remember, just because the dish is traditional doesn’t mean that you have to be.