With St. Patrick’s day approaching, I thought it would be helpful to distinguish between the different cuts of corned beef. It’s important to know which cut is the best choice, and most important, how to cook the perfect brisket.
What is corned beef brisket? Beef brisket is the most common cut used for making corned beef. Corned beef is beef that is cured in salt brine, often with spices. The term ‘corned’ comes from an English term meaning any small particle, such as the coarse grained salt, which was used for curing the brisket.
So, which is the best cut to buy? The point cut or the flat cut? This is a matter of personal preference. I prefer the flat cut as it has less fat and is more uniform in shape. Others prefer the point cut because of the fat, thinking it has more flavor. I think if you are going to shred the brisket, point is okay because you will be able to remove most of the fat. I like to slice my brisket into thin slices, so I will be purchasing a flat cut.
The most important thing to remember when cooking a corned beef brisket is to braise it. It is a tough cut of meat and needs lots of hot liquid to break down the meat.
I also think it is important to rinse the brisket under cold running water, this will help get rid of the excess salt.
Here is my favorite way to prepare Corned Beef on St. Patrick’s Day:
1 - Flat cut corned beef brisket
1 - Fresh lemon, ends trimmed
4 - cloves of garlic, minced
1 - Large onion, peeled
1 - tsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. - whole allspice
6-8 whole cloves
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 cups water
4 cups dark beer
1. Trim and discard most of the surface fat from brisket. Rinse meat well under cool running water, rubbing gently to release its corning salt.
2. Lay meat, fattiest side up, in a 2-inch-deep, 11- by 15- or 16-inch roasting pan. Thinly slice lemon (discard seeds) and onion and lay slices over meat. Sprinkle with peppercorns, garlic, allspice, and cloves.
3. Set pan on middle rack in a 325° oven. Bring the water and beer to a boil. Pour the 8 cups boiling liquid around brisket, seal the pan with foil, and bake until meat is very tender when pierced, about 4 hours. Uncover and drain off all but about 1 cup of the liquid. If desired, reserve the lemon and onion slices and rearrange them on top of the meat.
4. In a small bowl, mix the mustard and brown sugar; spread evenly over meat, on top of the onion-lemon mixture. Broil about 8 inches from heat until the mustard mixture begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a platter. Serve hot, warm, or cold; slice meat across the grain.