Corned Beef: Low temp. Long cook.
24 hours. That’s how long this monster of a beast was in the crockpot (well, two different crockpots actually). I decided to share the miracle of corned beef prepared in a slow cooker with my family by getting up early and cooking it on low all day only to find out (only a couple of hours before dinner time) that lightning had stopped the process midway through (thank you, Southern thunderstorms). The good news: this typically only requires about 15 minutes of prep, $13(ish) and 8 hours of alone time. Not 24.
Anyway. Here’s the quick skinny on this fat hunk of meat:
There are two kinds of corned beef - flat cut (more $$$) and point cut (fewer $$ and more yummy marbling to keep things delicious). Also, the lower the temp and longer the cook, the better.
Now here’s a simple plan for making irresistible corned beef. You’ll need:
- 3-4 lb. piece of Point Cut Corned Beef (most come with a seasoning packet - double check that yours does)
- Potatoes: basically any kind will do. I love small goldens that can be left whole.
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 4-5 big carrots
- 1 1/4 cup of Apple Juice (weird right?)
- A slow cooker
If you’re using small golden potatoes, you can simply rinse them off and add them to the crockpot whole. If you’re using bigger potatoes, cut them into halves or quarters based on how long you intend to cook the meat. Then cut up your onions into healthy sized chunks, mince your garlic and add both. Finally, the meat. Open the package (don’t lose your seasoning pack!), drain and add the meat (fat side up!) to the crockpot on top of your potatoes and onions.
Now add between 3-4 cups of water and then your apple juice. Last step: sprinkle the seasoning pack on top of the meat as evenly as you can get it. Voila! Turn the slow cooker on “low” and leave for between 8-10 (or in my case 24, woof) hours. Or you can cook it on “high” for 6-7 hours if you’re in a hurry.
If you’re adding carrots: cut into medallions or julienne them into matchsticks and add when you have about three hours of cooking time left. They’ll be perfect.
Take the meat out and let it rest for about 15 minutes before cutting. Then you’re ready to roll. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy the glorious masterpiece you’ve just created.
For corned beef first timers: these were my (probably very stupid) musings the first couple of times I made this. So, If you’re on my wavelength:
- It’s been cooking forever, and it’s tough. Is it ruined? STOP. Put that baby back in the crockpot. The answer to tough corned beef is always “cook it longer.” You’ll know it’s done when just looking at it makes it fall apart. Let it ride, man. This meat needs time.
- It looks raw. Should the meat be red in the end? Yes. It’s fine. Look at all these shining corned beef examples.
- There’s a lot of fat in there. Should I cut it off? Not in the beginning. You’ll want that for cooking. At the end, if you’re feeling “healthy,” you can trim some of the excess, but it’s delicious (and I’m not a fat eater per se).
- We couldn’t eat the whole thing. What’s do I do with leftovers? Treat it like pulled pork and make a BBQ sandwich. Or a Reuben. Yum.
- Should I save the broth? Yes. Use it next time you’re making a soup or anything that calls for beef stock. Freeze it until you’re ready to use - you’ll be so happy you did.
That’s all of my corned beef knowledge (for now). Another protein bites the dust.