Secrets to Perfect Corned Beef
A perfectly seasoned corned beef, especially with mustard glaze, is delicious served as a main dish or as a sandwich ingredient.
This recipe involves a two-day cooking process, but the reward is well worth the additional effort. The secret to a fork-tender, succulent corned beef is simmering it for several hours the day before serving, followed by a few minutes under the broiler prior to eating the next day.
Many beginner cooks have told me they are intimidated by cooking corned beef. This easy recipe will guarantee a tasty dish that you can quickly master!
Origin of the Name
In the 1600s in England, the term "corned beef" was used to call beef that was soaked in a solution of salt and spices called "brine". It contained large pieces of rock salt that were the size of corn kernels which tenderized the tough cut of meat and flavored it. Hence, the name corned beef as it is still known today.
Day 1 - Meat:
- 1 (3- to 4-pound) corned beef brisket
- 1 (8-ounce) can cola
- 1 onion, cut in quarters
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 4 whole cloves
Day 2 - Mustard Glaze:
- 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- The day before you plan to serve, put the meat, cola, and enough water to cover the beef in a Dutch oven. Add onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, and cloves.
- Place the pot over high heat on the stovetop. When the liquid reaches a rolling boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 4 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.
- Remove the meat; discard the cooking liquid and bay leaf. Let the beef cool completely before wrapping tightly with plastic wrap. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.
- On the day of serving, prepare the glaze by combining the corn syrup and mustard in a small pan. Cook over medium heat on the stovetop while stirring constantly until it starts to boil. Remove from heat and let the glaze cool.
- Remove the meat from the refrigerator and unwrap. Trim away and discard any excess fat. Place on a rack in a pan and brush the sides and top with part of the glaze.
- Place the pan approximately 6 inches below the broiler. Broil for 5 minutes, then brush on the rest of the glaze. Broil an additional 5 minutes; remove from the heat and let cool. Serve now or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Tips for Cooking Success
- The size brisket you purchase will depend on the number of people you are serving. If your meat is larger than 3 or 4 pounds, you may need to increase the portions of spices and glaze ingredients.
- Many times a spice packet is included in the package of meat. In that case, you can eliminate the need for the bay leaf, peppercorns, and cloves and use what is provided.
- When making the mustard glaze, a wooden spoon seems to work better than using a utensil made of metal.
- If using for sandwiches, the meat will slice easier if it is cold. Always use a serrated knife for slicing.
- If serving hot, as soon as you remove it from the broiler, check to see if the meat is heated completely through. An easy way to do this is to insert a fork in the center and remove after a few seconds. If the tines of the fork are not warm to the touch, place the meat under the broiler for another short time, being careful not to burn the glaze.
Use Leftovers for Sandwiches
Leftover corned beef makes incredible sandwiches served either hot or cold. Use rye bread with mayonnaise or mustard accompanied by Swiss cheese and you will have lunch fit for a king. Make sure to slice the meat thin and include several pieces on the sandwich. Slicing the meat while it is cold will ensure easier cutting. Top with lettuce, tomato and onion if you desire.
Serve When you Crave Comfort Food!
Presented with boiled cabbage, carrots and potatoes, corned beef has become a traditional main dish for serving on St. Patrick's Day and Easter. It is also a good choice for any day of the year!
© 2020 Thelma Raker Coffone