Corned Beef and Cabbage is classic Irish-American dinner served on St. Patrick’s Day here in the United States. In this post I have a step-by-step post on how best to prepare corned beef brisket with boiled vegetables. This recipe is foolproof and delicious!
It’s that time of year!
Big bowls of Lucky Charms for breakfast, I’m wearing green to avoid getting pinched and the smell of beef brisket is percolating throughout my kitchen!
I grew up on this American classic. I’m sure most are familiar with this as it’s served in so many American households around St. Patrick’s Day. But just incase you aren’t familiar, corned beef and cabbage is a one pot boiled dinner. Which sounds a bit suspect but in reality is delicious. Corned beef brisket simmers low and slow for hours before carrots, potatoes and cabbage are added to the pot – cooking until ultra tender.
Being that we are an Irish-American household, it’s the only meal I’m allowed to make on St. Patrick’s Day. But be sure to check out my growing collection of Irish and Irish-inspired recipes for St. Patrick’s Day!🍀
Is Corned Beef Irish?
Yes and yet mostly no. I have not read everything there is to learn, however from what I have read, corned beef was produce it in Cork, Ireland hundreds of years ago (Cork was also center of the corned beef trade through the 17th and into the 18th century) but it was made primarily for the British. This was due to Ireland having the cheaper salt tax. Corned beef back then is not the same as we know it today.
It gained popularity here in America because of Irish immigrants moving to urban areas of New York and using meat from the kosher butcher shops of their Jewish neighbors. Which is how us Americans started making it to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Why Is It Called “Corned Beef”?
The term “corned” had something to do with the large size of salt crystals used to cure the meat back then.
Do They Make Corned Beef and Cabbage In Ireland?
The people in Ireland do not cook nor eat corned beef. Pigs were and are still the primary source of meat. Back then, cows were primarily used for their strength and dairy and were only killed for meat if they became too old to work or produce milk.
For the record, some websites state the origin is unknown, while others publications (Smithsonian Magazine and Food and Wine to name a few) are loaded with really interesting information. This is just what I’ve gathered and is a Cliff’s Notes version of what I’ve read. However, if you have time, I encourage you to do a deep-dive into the history of corned beef!
To Make This Corned Beef Brisket with Boiled Vegetables You Will Need:
- corned beef brisket – Look for one without a thick fat cap.
- seasoning packet (included with the beef brisket) – Corned beef is pretty much already seasoned so this is more for seasoning the water.
- garlic – Adds subtle flavor to the water that the vegetables will be cooking in.
- green cabbage – I try to find a small to medium size head. Too big of one makes it hard to fit in one pot.
- baby red skinned potatoes – Or quarter medium sized potatoes.
- carrots – Adds a pop of color and earthy sweetness to the final dish.
- yellow onion – Adds a sweet and subtle onion flavor to the recipe.
- salted butter – Used for serving
- kosher salt – Enhances the flavors of this dish. Used for serving
- freshly ground black pepper – Adds some subtle bite and flavor. Used for serving.
- coarse ground mustard – Or mustard of choice, for serving (optional)
- Irish soda bread or Irish brown bread– For serving. (optional)
You can either make your own pickling spice or use the one that comes with the beef brisket. I have a friend that uses the packaged spices and then adds her own as well. In my opinion, the corned beef is already seasoned so the spices included is for seasoning the vegetable while they cook. So do what you feel like – you can’t go wrong!
Rinse your corned beef brisket under lukewarm water and pat dry with paper towel. I do this to rinse off excess brine which I feel makes the corned beef extra salty. Doing this will not remove any of the flavor of the corned beef, the flavors of the brine are already throughout the brisket.
Next place the beef brisket in a large heavy stock pot with 2 cloves smashed garlic and pickling spice packet. Cover with at least 12 cups of water or until the brisket is submerged under water.
Cover with a lid and bring to a near boil. I wait for the lid to start to ever so gently rattle. Then reduce to low/medium-low, and simmer with the lid askew for approximately 50 minutes per pound. So for a 4 pound corned beef, this would take roughly 3-1/2 hours.
3 hours later…
With about 4o minutes left on my timer, I quickly prep the potatoes. Quickly scrub and if your potatoes are on the large side, you can cut them in half. Peel and cut your carrots in to 1 to 1-1/2 inch pieces.
Cut a small head of cabbage in to 8 wedges, leaving a portion of the core intact.
Once the corned beef has finished cooking it will be much smaller in size and not the most attractive shade.
Add in the onions, carrots and potatoes. Place the wedges of cabbage on top, cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.
The vegetables are done when a fork glides through easily.
Believe it or not there is a correct and an incorrect way to cut corned beef. Find the grain of the meat and cut against it. For example, as you see in the photos the meat grain runs somewhat of a diagonal. You want to slice going in the opposite direction to create slices. Otherwise it will just shred.
Serve slices of tender corned beef with the boiled vegetables. I like to top the potatoes, carrots and cabbage with butter, salt and pepper and maybe a little parsley. And I also like to dip my corned beef into a grainy mustard.
Finish this whole meal off with slices of Irish soda bread and enjoy!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Corned Beef and Cabbage (Irish Boiled Dinner)
- 4 pounds corned beef brisket
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- seasoning packet, included with the corned beef brisket
- 1½ pounds baby red skinned potatoes, halved if large
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced vertically
- 1 small head cabbage, cut into wedges with the root intact
- Rinse your corned beef well and pat dry with paper towel.
- Place the brisket in a large stock pot with smashed garlic, pickling seasoning and cover with at least 12 cups of water, leaving a few inches at the top of the pot.
- Cover and bring to a near boil. Then reduce to a simmer and cook for 50 minute per pound. ( 4 pound brisket will take approximately 3-1/2 hours)
- I usually check on it 1/3 of the way and add more water and turn the corned beef.
- When 30 minutes are remaining; add potatoes, carrots, onions and cover with the wedges of cabbage.
- The vegetables are done when a fork glides through easily.
- Once the corned beef is cookied, remove and transfer to a carving board. Slice the corned beef against the grain.
- Serve the boiled vegetables with butter, salt and pepper, and I love to dip my corned beef in mustard.
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