A local supermarket was advertising point cut corned beef for $1.66 a pound. The brand was Hummel. I was familiar with the brand and knew it to be good quality. I couldn’t remember the last time I cooked a corned beef. How could I pass up this fanatastic sale?
I started researching corned beef recipes. I know, you’re probably thinking “You throw it in a pot and boil it, silly.” But I’m really into research and I wanted this corned beef to turn out well, so I started my search on the internet.
To my horror, I found some people, actually many people, saying the corned beef was so salty they threw it out. And many other people were amazed that corned beef could turn out dry and stringy after boiling it for several hours…it was cooking in water for heaven’s sake. How could it be dry?
Some other people swore by the flat cut brisket type (more uniform shape and less fatty) and others swore by the point-cut saying the fat flavored the meat as it slowly cooked.
I learned that the consensus was low and slow cooking produced the most tender result. And this could be done various ways, on top of the stove in a pot, in a slow cooker or in the oven. The oven method appealed to me but I had read that this produced a salty corned beef quite often.
Armed with this information, I bought a 3 and 1/2 pound point cut Hummel corned beef. It did not come with a seasoning packet. I soaked the beef in cold water for 18 hours to remove excess salt. After those 18 hours had passed, I removed the corned beef from the water and discarded the water. I placed the beef in an enamel clad cast iron pot and put about 2 inches of cold water in the pot. Then I sprinkled the top of the corned beef with a good tablespoon of pickling spice. I used McCormick pickling spice which contains cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, chillies, cloves, black pepper, cardamon and mace. I also added two gloves of garlic, roughly chopped. I put the top on the pot and placed in a 300 degree oven for 3 and 1/2 hours (one hour per pound).
After the 3 and 1/2 hours was up, I stuck a fork into the beef to see if it was done. If it slid in and out easily, it was done…and it did. So I took the pot out of the oven and placed the corned beef on a warm plate and tented it with aluminum foil. I turned the oven up to 425 degrees to roast a tray of brussel sprouts, carrots, diced potato and onion which took about half an hour.
Now it was time to slice the corned beef…against the grain. It was like slicing through butter. I plated it up with the vegetables and gave it a try. It was absolutely amazing. Not salty and the spices and garlic gave it a wonderful flavor. The roasted vegetables were perfect and much better than a slab of overcooked, watery cabbage with soggy potatoes and carrots.
The leftovers made delicious hash and marvelous sandwiches (on grain free rolls). This corned beef was so good that I went back to the store and bought another one while the sale was still on. The expiration date was about a month away, so I didn’t have to cook it immediately…I could wait a bit. But I tell you, I wouldn’t mind having it again right now.
Keep in mind that the corned beef does shrink quite a bit while cooking, so make sure to buy enough!