Eating corned beef and cabbage on New Year’s is associated with the fortune you hope for in the coming year. It is said that if you eat chicken on New Year’s Day you are setting your destiny for the coming year to scratch in the dirt for your survival. Beef or pork is the meat of choice because unlike chickens these animals do not scratch in the dirt for their food. We have put together 5 tips that will help you cook the perfect corned beef and hopefully bring you fortune and luck in the New Year.
The key ingredient to cooking the perfect corned beef is none other than water. Since cooking corned beef is a slow process, the brisket will stay moist during the simmering process with plenty of water to absorb. Having a pot large enough to fit the corned beef and enough water to just cover the meat will ensure that the corned beef comes out moist and juicy.
2. Take It Slow
Corned beef is not a meal to rush. The meat might dry out or be cooked unevenly. Depending on the cut of corned beef, plan on the process taking several hours. If cooking in a slow cooker, keep the temperature set to low and plan on cooking for 7-9 hours. If cooking on a stove, bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a slow even boil for the rest of the cooking time.
3. Cook Vegetables Later
Many people love preparing cabbage and other vegetables with their corned beef. Adding vegetables to the pot and cooking them with the meat might cause a large variance in the cooking time needed for the corned beef. The vegetables also soak up water that is a necessity to keeping the corned beef moist. Waiting to cook the vegetables after the corned beef is done will ensure that it is cooked at an even temperature. Cooking the vegetables in the same water the corned beef was cooked in will still allow that flavorful infusion that people love.
Making sure the corned beef is cooked is as easy as sticking it with a meat fork. The thickest section of the meat should be easily pierced with a meat fork and the fork should be removed without lifting the meat. The USDA recommends that corned beef be cooked to an internal temperature of 158 degrees.
5. Extra Flavor
Looking for a little extra flavor? Try adding a glass of beer to the water used for cooking. The beer infuses the corned beef with flavor while adding necessary moisture. Choosing an Irish stout beer will give the meat that extra desired kick. Be warned that stronger stout varieties can cause a bitter taste. As a complement to the beer, also season the corned beef with brown sugar.