As I was sorting through my St. Patrick’s Day recipes last weekend, I was surprised to realize that I haven’t posted a corned beef recipe on the blog yet! It’s something we make every year, but also a dish with no shortage of recipes to choose from online.
A couple of years ago, we got in the habit of beer braising our corned beef instead of the traditional boiling method. It gave such a nice flavor to the corned beef and felt extra-festive for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
Of course, never leaving well enough alone, I swooped in this year with a spiked mustard glaze. We always serve our corned beef alongside the traditional mustards, so I figured, why not put that flavor directly onto the brisket itself?
When shopping for a corned beef (brine-cured beef brisket), I prefer to use the leaner “flat cut” in this recipe as opposed to “point cut.” While the latter is thicker and has more marbling, the uniformity of the flat cut is generally easier to glaze and slice.
Most corned beef will have a seasoning packet included, which you can add to the beer braising liquid. If not, pick up a jar of pickling spice, which is readily available in grocery stores.
Alternatively, if you’ve never “corned” a beef brisket yourself, I encourage you to give it a try one year. It’s a multi-day process, but the flavor and texture of the beef are incredible.
I first discovered the process in Michael Ruhlman’s fantastic book, Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (unsolicited plug for one of my favorite “cooking project” books on my shelf). Ruhlman has also excerpted the recipe on his website, to stellar reader reviews.
Beer braised corned beef is a perfect dish to serve with a creamy, buttery bowl of colcannon. You can certainly opt to braise cabbage wedges and whole baby red potatoes with the meat instead, as is traditional in many recipes.
Bear in mind that the beer braising liquid can be a bit on the salty side. When I’m cooking the vegetables with the corned beef, I’m careful to keep an eye on the clock. One hour before the corned beef is finished braising, I add the potatoes.
I like to sear the cabbage wedges on the stove (using a skillet with a little bit of oil). The light caramelization brings a nice depth of flavor to the cabbage.
With 30 minutes remaining, I add the seared cabbage wedges to the pot, removing all of the vegetables from the braising liquid while the corned beef is being glazed. (Letting them sit in the liquid sometimes makes them too salty.)
Upon serving, I like to strain the corned beef braising liquid and spoon it over the meat and vegetables.
I opted to use an Irish lager for braising here. Years ago, we tried using stout, but we found the flavor to be a bit overpowering. Look for a golden-colored lager that isn’t too bitter so you’re able to infuse a lovely flavor into the meat that won’t be consuming.
As for the glaze, the brown sugar in this recipe brings a touch of sweetness to the dish, contrasting the bite of the mustard and whiskey, as well as the salty meat. If that sweet element isn’t something you enjoy, the glazing can be skipped entirely. Beer braised corned beef is thoroughly delicious on its own!
With or without the glaze, this corned beef makes excellent warm sandwiches, thinly-sliced, and piled high on rye bread. As with most holiday dinners, the sandwiches made from leftovers are some of the best eats!
More St. Patrick’s Day Recipes:
Creamy Leek and Cabbage Colcannon
Chocolate Stout Cream Pie with Irish Cream Whipped Cream
Stout Braised Short Rib Cottage Pie
Whiskey Chocolate Truffles (Sally’s Baking Addiction via People)
Irish Sour Cocktail (The Gastronom)
Beer Braised Corned Beef with Whiskey Mustard Glaze
- 4 to 5 pounds flat cut corned beef brisket , rinsed
- 1 large yellow onion , halved and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic , peeled and lightly crushed with the back of a knife
- 2 pints lager (nothing with heavy bitter notes)
- 1 cup water , plus additional (if needed)
- 1 tablespoon pickling spice (or use the spice packet provided with your corned beef)
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar , lightly packed
- 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon whiskey
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- pinch ground cloves
BRAISE THE CORNED BEEF
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place sliced onion and garlic cloves in the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Lay corned beef on top of onions, fat side up. Add pickling spices or spice packet.
Pour beer into pot, adding enough water to just barely cover the corned beef. Bring to a simmer on the stove. Cover, and braise for 3 hours in the oven, flipping the corned beef halfway through the cooking time.
GLAZE AND SERVE
- When the corned beef is almost finished braising, combine glaze ingredients in a small skillet or saucepan. Heat until bubbling.
When corned beef is braised, remove from oven and increase temperature to 425 degrees F. Remove corned beef from braising liquid and pat dry with paper towels. (Reserve braising liquid in pot.)
Lightly score fat side with a sharp knife in a criss cross pattern. Brush corned beef with glaze. Place in a skillet or roasting pan and pour in about 1 cup of the braising liquid.
Bake for 10 minutes, then coat the corned beef with a second layer of glaze. Continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes. Slice corned beef against the grain. If desired, strain braising liquid and spoon over sliced meat upon serving.
To braise cabbage and potatoes with the meat: One hour before the corned beef is finished braising, add 1-1/2 pounds whole baby red potatoes to the Dutch oven. With 30 minutes remaining, add 1 head of cabbage, cut into wedges. (Optional: first sear cabbage wedges in a skillet with a bit of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until lightly browned, for extra flavor.) Remove cooked vegetables from braising liquid and keep warm while corned beef is being glazed. Drizzle with strained braising liquid when serving.