Corned Beef

With St. Patrick’s Day this month corned beef will be a bargain in grocery stores. Those cured pieces of beef brisket in the cyovac bags with the little packet of spices can be overwhelmingly salty. I have been disappointed time and again by dry, odd tasting corned beef that in the end was only fit for corned beef hash until last year when I stumbled upon the perfect method…a pressure cooker.

My pressure cooker turns out corned beef that is as close to deli style corned beef that I’ll ever be able produce at home from one of those cryovac style corned beef pieces. There’s no recipe involved. Start with a nice, thick piece. Sometimes I tie it with kitchen twine to help it keep it’s shape if I’m planning on glazing it later. Just rinse it off, place it on a rack in your pressure cooker with plain water (with or without that little packet of spices) to a depth recommended by your pressure cooker manufacturer and cook for about 45 minutes under pressure. The result is a tender, moist,perfectly seasoned corned beef that will melt in your mouth. Cooking under pressure removes the excess salt but leaves the meat still perfectly seasoned.

This corned beef is fine served as is with some boiled cabbage and potatoes, placed under the broiler with a spicy brown sugar mustard glaze over the top or sliced in sandwiches. And of course, if any is left over, it makes wonderful corned beef hash.

    • Nina – San Francisco
    • March 8th, 2010

    Do you mean to cover the entire piece of meat with water to 1/2 or 2/3 of the pot, or to use the minimum amount of water required – 1/2 cup?

    Nothing like a good cold corned beef sandwich with lots of mustard.

      • lvegas
      • March 8th, 2010

      Different pressure cookers will have different instructions for the amount of water needed for safe operation. Here’s how I do mine. I place a rack in the cooker which elevates the meat a few inches off the bottom of the pan. Then I add water that comes just up to the bottom of the rack. I’m guessing it’s about 2 cups in my cooker (it might be more or less in yours). The meat isn’t sitting in the water, it’s just slightly above the water. You can use just about any thing for a rack. I use one of those metal vegetable steamers that collapse. It holds the meat up off the bottom of the pan by about 2-3 inches…….hope this helps!

        • Nina – San Francisco
        • March 8th, 2010

        Thank you – it certainly does help. I have a Kuhn Rikon and it does have a rack. I can taste that sandwich …..

      • lvegas
      • March 8th, 2010

      Nina, I found that the rack that came with my cooker wasn’t really high enough. If you think yours may have the same issue you can elevate it by placing a couple of washed and empty tuna cans with the top and bottom removed that I use as rings to place under the rack to elevate it more. That way I can add more water for longer cooking and the meat isn’t floating in liquid (you don’t want that). Again, your model may be different than mine and your rack might be high enough….now I want a sandwich!! 🙂

        • Nina – San Francisco
        • March 8th, 2010

        Good idea about the tuna cans. My rack isn’t very high, I’ll have to check it out to see how much water it will take.

  1. I agree – the cured ones from the grocer are not worth fooling with … I like to brine my own but have never used a pressure cooker in cooking – great tip

  2. Great tip! I hadn’t though about using a pressure cooker.

  3. Homemade corned beef? That sounds great. You made it sound easy. Hope to try some day. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I don’t know how to make good cornbeef. This looks great! Maybe I should try it!

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