I’m barely even Irish (mostly Italian with some Cherokee thrown in there for good measure) but I love making corned beef for Saint Patrick’s Day. It seems like a festive thing to do and my family really enjoys it. For years and years I boiled my corned beef along with potatoes, carrots and cabbage— you know, the traditional way. I’ve added different blends of spices, mustard and even beer to the cooking water to give it a little something extra, but always stuck with the boiling method. It was a fail proof cooking method so I stuck with it. That is until I got the itch to play around and try a new method. You see, I’m never really satisfied with leaving well enough alone, especially when it comes to cooking so it was high time I worked on the corned beef situation.
For years I had been seeing baked corned beef recipes on the internet but never thought to try one. I was a little apprehensive because I wasn’t exactly sure what it would turn out like but a few years ago I decided to give it a whirl. I threw together a a wet rub concoction and rubbed it all over that bad boy. Confession: I often cook this way—tossing things together haphazardly and crossing my fingers that they will turn out delicious or at least edible. And for all of you who constantly ask me “how I come up with all of these recipes, truly, sometimes it’s just ‘luck”. Sure, a lot of it’s based on my cooking experience but a lot of the time it’s trial and error. I actually think this hodgepodge method of cooking comes from my Grandfather who was a cook in the Marines and had a penchant for adding green food coloring to mashed potatoes. But I digress…
Where was I again?
BACK TO THE BEEF…
Baking the corned beef turned out to be super simple and my “experiment” was a smashing success and since then, I never boiled a corned beef again. Yup! It’s that good. The baking method produces a super tender piece of meat with a slightly smokey flavor and the brown sugar/mustard glaze adds a subtle sweet/tang that pairs nicely with the saltiness of the meat. I serve it alongside my Braised Cabbage And Apples (sooo delicious!) and some Irish Soda Bread. Wash that down with some beer. Lots of beer. Scarf down a few Shamrock Shortbreads and and your have yourself one heck of an Irish feast.
Mustard And Brown Sugar Baked Corned Beef
3 lbs corned beef, rinsed and patted dry
1/3 cup dijon or country-style grainy mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or plain water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, brown sugar, pepper and vinegar.Mixture will resemble a thick paste. Remove 2 tablespoons of the mxiture and set aside (you will use this later).
3. Place corned beef onto a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Rub entire corned beef with brown sugar mixture. Make sure corned beef is fat side up before wrapping the entire corned beef up very tightly in aluminum foil.
4. Lay foil wrapped corned beef onto a rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan and bake for 2 hours. Remove corned beef from oven and remove the foil wrapping. Set oven to broiler setting and spread reserved brown sugar mixture over the fat side. Broil for 1- 2 minutes or until the top is a little brown and bubbly but not burnt. Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes before placing on a cutting board. VERY IMPORTANT!: Be sure to slice meat against the grain of the meat or else it will be tough and inedible.