How Long to Boil Corned Beef?

The taste of corned beef is impossible to duplicate. This dish, especially popular around St. Patrick's Day, seems daunting to make but is actually fairly simple. There are two typical ways to cook corned beef; the most widely known is boiling the meat. How long you boil the corned beef can make the difference between a juicy piece of meat and a tough one.

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Prepare the corned beef

Always wash the corned beef in cold water before getting ready to cook it. This will remove any leftover brine that the beef has been soaking in and will prevent it from tainting the water. If the store from where the beef was purchased hasn't done so already, then tie the beef brisket into a uniform shape to allow for an even cooking time. When you do cook your corned beef, no matter which method you choose, allow to cool and put on a platter when finished. Remember when cutting the beef that you should always slice the meat across the grain for the correct corned beef texture.

The boil and simmer method

Many chefs do not recommend boiling the corned beef straight through, preferring instead to bring the meat to a boil and then allowing it to simmer. To cook corned beef in this manner, place it in a pot and fill with water until the beef is covered with about three inches of water. Add in the spices that came with the beef, or if none did throw in about 10 peppercorns and, according to, 1/8 teaspoon of cloves. Bring the water to a hard, rolling boil and allow to cook at this temperature for about five minutes before reducing the heat and simmering for four hours. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

The straight-boiled method

If you choose to cook the corned beef at a straight boil from start to finish, the recommended time frame for cooking meats is, according to the Chest of Books website, 25 minutes per pound.

Adding vegetables

If you decide to add vegetables to your corned beef pot, remember that root vegetables take longer. Add potatoes and carrots 40 minutes prior to completion of the brisket when using the straight-boiled method, or an hour and a half when simmering. Onions and cabbage can be added 25 minutes before the beef is finished when boiling or 45 minutes before when simmering.


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