Corned Beef

2024’s corned beef and cabbage! A decent corned beef this year, slightly salty. The extra salt in the broth gave the vegetables delightful, extra-umami flavor overtones.

serving dishes full of home-corned corned beef

Most years since 1997, I’ve corned my own beef. I use the Cook’s Illustrated “dry cure”.

This was actually half the corned beef I did in 2023. I put half the uncooked corned brisket in a large Ziploc freezer bag without rinsing off the spices and salt. I kept it in my freezer for a year. The beef did not show even the slightest freezer burn. I’ve frozen a slab of uncooked corned beef once before, to similar good results.

Besides taking a week to corn your own brisket, here’s a few hints and tips for best St Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage dinners.

  • Fatty briskets are better. The fat adds a lot of flavor to both the corned beef and the vegetables cooked in its broth.
  • Absolutely slice the brisket across the grain. That makes a slightly chewy cooked brisket vastly more palatable, and a good brisket better. Use the sharpest knife you’ve got to do this so you can get thin slices.
  • I’m not sure freshly cracked black pepper is worth the effort. This recipe requires a lot of it, and cracking peppercorns takes work. I use regular grocery store ground black pepper when corning.
  • Use Brussels sprouts and parsnips as some of the vegetables. Sprouts take a little longer than cabbage to cook, parsnips take a little less time than carrots to cook. They add a range of flavor to the whole dish. Parsnips are sweeter than carrots. Brussels Sprouts are a little more bitter than cabbage.
  • Most recipes call for boiler or pearl onions. They’re hard to find, and take a lot of prep work for what you get from them. You can sometimes find bags of frozen boiler onions, but they’re kind of goofy when thawed. I didn’t put any onions in my vegetables this year. I don’t think it negatively impacted the dish.