What exactly is corned beef? What makes it pink inside? Is it really that easy to prepare?
This year I decided to answer some questions about this most beloved tradition of St. Patty’s Day corned beef and cabbage. I’m also sharing a very simple the recipe that my family has enjoyed for decades.
So, what exactly is corned beef?
The term corned beef refers to beef that has been preserved through salt-curing in brine and then cooked until tender.
What makes it pink?
The pink color inside the corned beef comes from a pink curing mixture called Prague Powder No. 1 which is basically salt. It’s generally used in making cured meat products that require short cures like salami and corned beef. By the way, salt works as a preservative through a process whereby the water within a cell is drawn out through the cell walls.
What cuts of meat make a corned beef?
The brisket or beef round, generally. The most common cut is brisket, which is located in the front of the cow near its front legs.
What is the difference between the two cuts of brisket that we see in grocery stores?
A point cut brisket comes to a point at an end. This cut has more fat in it. The flat cut is more popular and is much leaner. Most pre-packaged corned beef kits that come with seasoning and vegetables are flat cut.
Is it easy to prepare?
Yes! It’s one of the easiest meals you can make!
Watch my how to video here!
- 5 pound corned beef brisket with spice packet
- 3 bay leaves
- 5-6 cloves
- 10 peppercorns, optional
- 3-4 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 large sweet yellow onion, quartered
- 1 large head green cabbage, quartered
- 6 large carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
- 12 small red potatoes
- olive oil an vinegar (for drizzling)
- salt and pepper to taste
- mustard, optional (for spreading on corned beef)
- Remove spice packet from brisket. Place brisket in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add contents of spice packet, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, garlic and onion. Pour enough water in pot to cover the corned beef. Cover and cook on medium high for several hours or until fork tender. (Corned Beef package should have cook time instructions as well.) When corned beef is cooked, turn heat off and cover pot with lid. In another pot, add cabbage quarters, potatoes and carrots. Add 3-4 inches of water to steam veggies. (Keep checking to make sure you have enough water in the pot. Add more if needed.) Cook vegetables until fork tender. (The potatoes may take a few minutes longer to cook.) Place corned beef, sliced against the grain, on a platter. Surround the corned beef with steamed vegetables. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Salt and pepper the vegetables as needed. Serve with mustard if desired.