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Braising relies on heat, time, and moisture to break down the tough connective tissue collagen in meat, making it an ideal way to cook tougher cuts. . . Pressure cooking and slow cooking (e.g., crockpots) are forms of braising.
I no longer boil or pressure cook corned beef. I braise it in an oven in a cast-iron pot with a lid, or on top of the counter in an electric skillet with a lid. Then I cut it into cubes and mix it with potatoes that have been lightly steamed, cut into cubes and panfried with chopped onions (and then seasoned with mustard seeds sauteed in butter with Worcheshire sauce), because otherwise there is NEVER enough corned beef to go around, no matter how few the family at table.
In all situations, Rinse the Meat Well.
Fat side up or down? Up is usually recommended... perhaps to keep the meat moist.
Let the brisket stand 20 minutes after cooking for best slicing results.
Corned beef is sliced at an angle to the grain of the meat (the lines of the meat when you look at it from the top). Some cut it straight across, at a 90 degree angle, some at a 45 degree angle. This makes the meat more easier to eat and tastier too... if you cut parallel to the grain you will end up with meat in long strings, more like jerky than corned beef.
Corned beef may still be pink after cooking. This does not mean it is not done. Nitrite is used in the curing process. This fixes pigment in the meat and affects the color.
Corned Beef In the Oven: 3+ lb corned beef brisket will be cooked in a large roasting pan with a tight fitting lid in the oven.
The reason corned beef is so often boiled is because it is a less tender cut that requires long moist cooking. So, if you are not going to boil it, you must cook it in a pan that will keep the meat moisture from escaping.
Corned Beef In an Electric Skillet with a glass lid: Not as good as the oven method but still satisfactory.
Corned Beef in a Slow Cooker:
I have not tried this method because the oven method is so much faster. The USDA recommends putting root vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, in the bottom of the slow cooker with the brisket on top of vegetables. Add about 1-1/2 cups of water, cover and cook on high setting for the first hour of cooking. Then cook for 10 to 12 hours on the low setting or 5 to 6 hours on high. Cabbage wedges may be added on top of the brisket during the last 3 hours of cooking.
Like the Corned Beef brisket, I cook this in the oven in a large cast-iron pot with a lid. There is no wait; the marinade is prepared, poured over the meat, and into the oven it goes.
If you want to cook this in a slow cooker: Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for ten.
Heat 2T vegetable oil in a large skillet (or your cast-iron pot!) over medium-high heat. Brown 3-lb brisket on all sides.
While the meat is browning, prepare the Marinade. Stir together:
Do not add salt while cooking; it may interfer with tenderness.
Now chop 4 stalks of celery into large pieces and nestle the celery around the meat. (I believe the celery adds moisture, since it bakes to an unregnizable pulp.) Pour and scrape the marinade over the meat.
Cook for 3 hours at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, let rest 10 minutes, then slice.
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Author: Maura Enright
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