Photo: Andrew Olanoff/WFIU
History Of Corned Beef
We think of corned beef and cabbage as a traditional Irish dish, but it’s really an Irish American dish.
Corning was originally a method of preserving beef for ocean travel, where the beef would be stacked in barrels with corning spices and then when it was time to eat it, it would be taken out and boiled.
Irish immigrants experienced corned beef on the trip over on the boat, and they found it very satisfying. We think of it as not a really classy dish but, when done right, it can be a wonderful celebration.
Brining Beef Brisket (For Corned Beef)
- Fennel seeds
- Coriander seeds
- Cumin seeds
- All spice (crushed)
- Colman’s Mustard
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Spanish Paprika
- 1/2 cup pink salt
- Bay leaves
- White wine
- White wine vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Thyme leaves (with stems)
- Mix dry and wet ingredients into a paste.
- Lather the mixture over the meat. Massage it in a bit, and then let sit for about 4 to 5 days or even up to two weeks.
The longer you leave the spice mixture on the beef, the more flavor you’ll get. You do want to keep mixing the brine and turning the meat so it gets evenly spiced.
Once you take the beef out of the mixture, you could use it right away, or it can last several days in the fridge.
Preparing The Corned Beef
- Remove the beef from the brine and put it in a pot of cold water.
- Bring to a boil and cook until tender (about two and a half hours). You want to be able to stick a fork into it and it should be really, really tender.
- Add a variety of vegetables to the same broth and cook until tender so they absorb the flavor of the corned beef.
- Serve on a big rustic platter with some freshly grated horseradish, some really pungent mustard, and crusty Irish soda bread.