Saturday, December 24, 2011

Corned Beef For The Holidays

Our holiday tradition pretty much consists of one thing: Corned Beef.

My wife's late Grandmother used to make Reubens on christmas eve and being that I love Reubens so very much, it was easy to adopt this tradition from our first holiday together to this one. 

My wife totally upped the ante by making Corned Beef Hash from the leftovers on our first christmas morning together and we have been doing that every time since.

I usually cook the corned beef. I usually just follow the normal way of preparing corned beef which is basically boiling it until it's done. Not very exciting. Not terrible either, but I couldn't help but think that there had to be a better way.

There are two things that I considered. 

1. I buy the corned beef from the store:

So, maybe I should get a brisket and corn my own beef (which I've yet to do - maybe next year).

2. Perhaps the cooking process itself can be improved.

Regarding #1, I didn't have the gumption or time to bother with corning my own beef as we're expecting BabyFantastic2 any day now, so I decided to look into #2. Cooking method.

Turns out people have good luck braising corned beef in a foil bag according to teh internets.

I hate making foil cooking bags because they always leak.  

Then it hit me.

I can use my leftover turkey bag from thanksgiving (I brined the turkey in one of the two bags in the box).

It worked beyond well.

While I didn't take many pictures, I felt that I should share this technique for any corned beef lovers out there.

Corned Beef For The Holidays

Corned beef brisket
Turkey cooking bag (I used one of these)
~1 cup of water
~1 cup of beef broth


This is really simple so I'm not going to over complicate it.

1. Get your brisket and your bag.

2. Put the brisket in the bag.

3. Arrange the brisket fat side up so that it's kind of in the corner of the bag.

4. Fill the package that the beef came out of with the cup of water to get all that flava out and pour it in with the corned beef.

5. Add enough beef broth to come up halfway when the brisket is laying flat. (just eyeball this)

6. Seal the bag well. I used a cable tie after the crappy tie that came in the box failed mid-cooking. Get a cable tie on it in the beginning.

7. Trim off the excess bag. Place in a 9x13 baking dish.

It should look like this:

Cook for 6-8 hours at 225F.

The bag will probably let some fluid loose out of the bag opening. If you have it in the dish properly, it'll just leak into it, no problem

You may have to remove the top rack in your oven as the bag will inflate hugely. Don't puncture it.


After it's finished, I scrape the fat off the top. Some people keep it, I don't.

Slice it thin for sandwiches.

So, so beautiful
This corned beef was the best I've ever made, if not some of the best tasting corned beef I've ever had.

The flavor was intensified so much more than if you just boiled it. Cooking in the bag was almost like pressure cooking it - trapping all the goodness inside.

I tasted a complexity in the meat I've never tasted before and it was absolutely fantastic. It was tender and actually juicy. I normally find the beef semi-dry but this time it was moist and perfect.

I implore you to try this next time you cook a corned beef brisket.


I made Reubens with Claussen sauerkraut and Ken's Steak House Thousand Island Dressing . I made my own dressing the other day with a Rachael and it was good but the Ken's was really great, so I went with it this time.

And of course, christmas morning was time for Hash.



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