Cooking your own corned beef at home is really easy. All you need is a cured corned brisket of beef, a big pot and a few hours.
You can buy a prepackaged, uncooked corned beef brisket at the supermarket all year round, though they're certainly in plentiful supply around St. Patrick's Day. You can also cure your own corned beef. Some butchers (the really good ones) will even cure a corned beef brisket for you.
You'll note that in addition to the meat, we've included a few ingredients like garlic, whole allspice, whole peppercorns and so on. But these aren't strictly necessary. If your brisket has been properly brined, you could simmer it in plain water and it'll turn out great.
You'll see that we specify placing the brisket in the pot fat-side-down because we want the meat to be cooked by the hot water, not by the flame underneath the pot—especially at the beginning when the heat is on high. It probably makes no difference either way, but that's just the way we do it.
Also, you could simply simmer the brisket on the stovetop, but we find that the cooking temperature stays more steady if we cook it in the oven. On the stovetop, because you're just eyeballing the temperature, you can sometimes find that your liquid has been boiling rather than simmering, which is not what you want. Brisket is a tough cut of beef with a lot of connective tissue, so we really want to cook it slowly and gently.
- 5 pound cured the corned beef brisket
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon allspice (whole)
- 1 teaspoon cloves (whole)
- Preheat your oven to 250 F.
- Remove the brisket from the brine, rinse thoroughly and set it fat-side down (see note above) in a heavy pot or Dutch oven. Cover with cold water and add the remaining ingredients.
- Heat on the stovetop, bringing the liquid almost to the point of boiling, then cover the pot and transfer it to the oven for 3 hours.
- You can add potatoes, carrots, and cabbage during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Or if you're making corned beef for sandwiches or corned beef hash, you can let it cool in its cooking liquid before transferring it to the fridge. Be sure to slice it against the grain.