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Understanding Your Corned Beef

Understanding Your Corned Beef

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, which for me, ALWAYS means cooking a corned beef and cabbage meal. And quite honestly, it’s one of the easiest meals you can make, but you’ll want to understand some nuances about the cut of meat as well as the sides, before jumping in. 


Corned beef comes from brisket point, and when shopping for the perfect corned beef, you’ll often be given two choices at the butcher or grocery store. You can opt for a Flat Cut, which is a leaner (somewhat healthier) cut. Because there is less fat in this cut, the amount you purchase is closer to the amount you will have left after cooking. 

The other option is the Point Cut, which has more fat (aka more flavor) but understand there will be a significant amount of shrinking when you cook this cut. In all honesty, they are both delicious, and sometimes I will buy one of each to cook on St. Patrick’s Day. 

The other important piece to a delicious corned beef and cabbage meal is HOW you cook it. Traditionalists will tell you that the entire meal should be boiled, starting with the meat and seasonings, adding in the carrots, onions and potatoes and layering the cabbage on top for just a short amount of time. I can honestly say I did it this way for years and was hesitant to try anything else. There are a number of small variations to this method (i.e. add the onions at the same time as the meat or add the cabbage at the same time as the potatoes) but if you look up Traditional Boiled Corned Beef & Cabbage, just about any one of those recipes will work. Here is one that I have loosely followed in the past, from AllRecipes.


However, then along comes the InstaPot. As I mentioned, I was really hesitant to try this; kind of like, “Don’t fix something if it isn’t broken.” But I was too curious, and as an experiment 2 years ago, I tried this recipe from Family Fresh MealsI was pleasantly surprised at how moist and delicious it was, and cooked it again this way last year. It basically provides the same results and cuts back on the cooking time enormously. 



A third alternative is to bake your corned beef and cabbage dinner in the oven. I haven’t tried this so can’t speak to the results, but I did find this recipe from A Spicy Perspective, which I might muster up the courage to try this week! 



However you cook your Corned Beef & Cabbage dinner I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Shelley Nicholson

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