This time of year we’re usually thinking grilling or salads, anything fitting for spring and summer. I’m more likely to make corned beef in the winter. But today was cool, damp, & grey, so it was the perfect opportunity to squeeze it in one last time.
I can’t remember ever not liking corned beef. As a kid, I liked it so much that I couldn’t stand letting even a crumb go to waste. Which is how, when finding a crumb on the countertop, I ended up accidentally eating a small bite of Alpo. Oops! Well, it did look like corned beef, but yuk. That poor dog. Alpo was all she ever got, except when she got to lick the pan from nachos. But that’s another story.
My mom used to boil corned beef for hours on the stovetop. So did I, for years. Neither of us made it very often because it’s such a bother to have to stick around in the kitchen for hours on end to make sure the pot doesn’t boil over or boil dry. And the meat was never quite as tender as I wanted. Then I got a slow cooker. Not only do I get to set it and forget it, the slow cooker makes the most tender, flavorful corned beef I’ve ever had. With a little help from Penzeys, of course! Those little packets of seasoning that come with corned beef are inadequate at best, and a pain to open. Not to mention slimy. But adding a couple of tablespoons of Penzeys Corned Beef Spices to your cooking water will take your corned beef to a whole new level, and you can toss the slimy little packet in the trash. You’ll never go back!
I did try corned beef once in my Instant Pot. I wasn’t impressed. It just couldn’t compare to the flavor and tenderness from the slow cooker. Given the marvelous, fool-proof results, I really don’t mind having to plan ahead to use the slow cooker. Nor do I mind having to use my fish spatula (wide, metal, slotted) to lift the beef out of the cooker. Good luck trying to do that with a fork; it’s so tender that it will just fall apart!
Many people enjoy boiled cabbage with their corned beef. In my family, though, we prefer our cabbage fermented rather than boiled, so there’s always a pot of sauerkraut warming on the back burner shortly before dinnertime. Maybe someday I’ll try making my own, but for now, I take the easy way out and buy it.
You could argue that this Corned Beef is too simple to even be called a recipe, and I’d not disagree. Much. Because I’m always forgetting how many Tablespoons of seasoning and how many hours, I do find it useful to have these things written down. Maybe you will, too.
Extra-Tender Corned Beef
1 (4-lb.) corned beef brisket
2½ Tbsp Penzeys Corned Beef Spices
1.) Remove brisket from its package, pat dry, and place it in the slow cooker pot fatty side up.
2.) Add enough water to cover the meat. It’s okay if it floats to the top, as long as there’s enough water.
3.) Sprinkle the seasoning over the water.
4.) Cover, and cook on low for 8 – 10 hours.
5.) Remove brisket, and allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing against the grain. Serve immediately, with sauerkraut on the side.