I’m only like 1/16th Irish (the rest is Italian with some Cherokee thrown in there for good measure) but I love making corned beef for Saint Patrick’s Day. It seems like a festive thing to do and my family really enjoys it. For years and years I boiled my corned beef along with potatoes, carrots and cabbage— you know, the traditional way. I’ve added different blends of spices, mustard and even beer to the cooking water to give it a little something extra, but always stuck with the boiling method. It was a fail proof cooking method, but I’m never satisfied with leaving well enough alone, especially when it comes to cooking. I’m always on a quest to improve and expand upon old recipes so, a few years ago, I decided to try something different and bake that bad boy instead.
At first I was a little apprehensive because I wasn’t exactly sure what it would turn out like but I was excited about trying a new cooking method. I had read many recipes for baked corned beef so I decided to give it go using a wet rub concoction that I put together on a whim. Note: I often cook this way—tossing things together haphazardly and crossing my fingers that they will turn out delicious or at least edible. I base some of it on my cooking experience and knowledge but cooking is my method of relaxation so I try to keep it loose and enjoy the experimentation of it all. After all, if you aren’t having fun in the kitchen, you definitely won’t want to be there. I actually think this hodgepodge method of cooking comes from my Grandfather who was a cook in the Marines. But I digress….and anyway, back to the beef…
Baking corned beef turned out to be super simple and my “experiment” was a smashing success. Since then, I never boiled a corned beef again. Yup! It’s that good. The baking method produces a super tender piece of meat and the brown sugar/mustard glaze adds a subtle sweet/tangy flavor that pairs nicely with the saltiness of the meat. I pair this with cabbage, some Irish Soda Bread and some Shamrock Shortbread Cookies and we have ourselves one heck of an Irish feast.
Brown Sugar Baked Corned Beef
3 lbs corned beef, rinsed and patted dry
1/3 cup dijon or country-style grainy mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
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1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or plain water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, brown sugar, pepper and vinegar.Mixture will resemble a thick paste. Remove 2 tablespoons of the mxiture and set aside (you will use this later).
3. Place corned beef onto a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Rub entire corned beef with brown sugar mixture. Make sure corned beef is fat side up before wrapping the entire corned beef up very tightly in aluminum foil.
4. Lay foil wrapped corned beef onto a rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan and bake for 2 hours. Remove corned beef from oven and remove the foil wrapping. Set oven to broiler setting and spread reserved brown sugar mixture over the fat side. Broil for 1- 2 minutes or until the top is a little brown and bubbly but not burnt. Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes before placing on a cutting board. VERY IMPORTANT!: Be sure to slice meat against the grain of the meat or else it will be tough and inedible.
Christina Stanley-Salerno is a mama, recipe developer, food stylist, photographer and blogger atTakeBackYourTable.com. She loves cooking for and with her family. Life is hectic, but Christina is passionate about mealtime because she believes that family meals are the glue that holds everyone together. Creating simple, quick and healthy meals is her specialty and her trick to keeping the family meal a reality, even on busy weeknights.
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