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How to Cook Corned Beef and Cabbage (3 Easy Ways)

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If you’re cooking Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day, here are three easy ways to cook your beef brisket until it’s tender, juicy, and perfect!

Closeup view of sliced corned beef with carrots, cabbage, and potatoes on a white plate.

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As St. Patrick’s Day nears, corned beef and cabbage isn’t far from our thoughts as it holds a special place in the hearts of many. It’s a hearty and flavorful meal, often with a side of potatoes and a generous dollop of mustard.

However, achieving tender and succulent corned beef brisket can be challenging. Let’s look at three easy ways to make tender and juicy brisket at home for the holiday.

Let’s first answer a couple of questions on the history of corned beef… and whether it’s really an Irish dish.

History of Corned Beef and Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day

The tradition of serving this dish on St. Patrick’s Day has deep roots in Irish-American culture. While the dish is not traditionally Irish, it has become synonymous with the holiday in the United States. Here’s a brief overview of its history:

In Ireland, a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal may consist of bacon and cabbage, a dish with a long Irish history, much like a Dublin Coddle. For more Irish food ideas, you may also like to look at my Irish Pub Recipes collection.

However, when Irish immigrants arrived in America, they found that pork was prohibitively expensive, so they turned to the more affordable alternative beef and found a readily available supply of beef brisket, thanks to a large Jewish immigrant population that had been curing it similarly for generations.

Over time, corned beef and cabbage became associated with St. Patrick’s Day in America, and it remains a beloved tradition.

Is Corned Beef and Cabbage an Authentic Irish Dish?

While it may not be an authentic Irish dish, it has become deeply ingrained in Irish-American culture and is widely enjoyed on St. Patrick’s Day. Here are some points to consider:

  • In Ireland, bacon and cabbage were historically served on St. Patrick’s Day, as pork was more readily available and affordable than beef.
  • While the dish may have originated in America, it is now enjoyed by people of all backgrounds as a festive and comforting meal.
Closeup view of sliced corned beef on a white plate.

How to Cook a Tender Corned Beef Brisket

When it comes to corned beef and cabbage, it has to be tender, juicy, and delicious! I know you agree– so let’s look at some tips for choosing the right brisket and three ways to cook this favorite meal, making it the perfect centerpiece for your St. Patrick’s Day feast. Whether you prefer the convenience of a slow cooker, the speed of an Instant Pot, or the traditional stovetop method, there is a cooking technique that will suit your preferences and schedule.

But first, let’s look at how to choose the brisket!

How to Choose a Brisket

Choosing the best brisket is the first step towards cooking a delicious corned beef and cabbage meal. Here are some tips for selecting the perfect cut of meat:

  • Look for briskets that are well-marbled with fat, as this will help keep the meat moist and tender during cooking.
  • Opt for briskets pre-treated with a curing solution, commonly labeled as “corned beef brisket.” This saves you the time and effort of brining the meat yourself.
  • Consider the size of the brisket based on the number of servings needed. A 3-4 pound brisket is typically sufficient for a small family gathering, while larger cuts may be necessary for larger crowds.

How to Cook Tender Brisket

Now that you’ve selected the perfect brisket, it’s time to cook it perfectly. Here are some tips for achieving tender and succulent corned beef brisket:

Crockpot: Use a slow cooker for hands-off cooking that results in melt-in-your-mouth brisket. Place the brisket in the slow cooker with aromatics such as onions, garlic, and spices, and let it cook on low for 8-10 hours until tender.

Pressure Cooker/ Instant Pot: Alternatively, you can use an Instant Pot for faster cooking without sacrificing flavor. Cook the brisket under high pressure for 90 minutes, then allow for a natural pressure release before slicing and serving.

Stovetop/ Dutch Oven: For those who prefer the traditional stovetop method, simmer the brisket in a large pot of water with aromatics for 2-3 hours until fork-tender. Monitor the water level and replenish it as needed to prevent the brisket from drying out.

3 Recipes to Cook Corned Beef and Cabbage This St. Patrick’s Day

Corned beef and cabbage is a delicious dish that, at least for Americans, holds a special place in our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Here are some easy ways to cook a tender brisket that are easier than you may think!

  1. Corned Beef in a Dutch Oven: A One Pot Easy Recipe
  2. Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage: a quick and simple recipe
  3. Crockpot Corned Beef and Cabbage.

Leftover Corned Beef? Here are Some Delicious Ideas

  • Reuben Sandwich on rye bread with sliced corned beef and Swiss cheese
  • Corned Beef Hash

3 Easy Ways to Cook Corned Beef and Cabbage

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with tender and succulent corned beef. Learn easy tips and tricks to make brisket at home for a memorable meal.

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