Yesterday I bought my first ever corned beef brisket. Considering I’m dating a good (half) Irish boy, I figured making him corned beef and cabbage this weekend was the least I could do. But upon arrival at the meat section of my local supermarket, I stood perplexed in front of the meat case overflowing with corned beef, unsure of what the difference was between different brands and different cuts. And I did what I’ve done more times than I can count when confronted with a confusing situation while at the grocery store – I called my mom. Mom knew what she’d always bought, but not necessarily what the difference was. While we chatted, another woman walked up to the case, took one look at all of the different options, and exclaimed, “What’s the difference!” Luckily the butcher happened to overhear our dismay and came to our rescue. Turns out the point cut is from the end of the cut, and, predictably, comes to a point. The flat is, well, flat – and has more evenly-distributed meat. I think depending on how you’re cooking it, the thin end of the point cut could get overcooked more easily. I didn’t think it would matter in the crockpot, but I figured I’d “splurge” on the cut that didn’t cost $1.99/lb.
Once I got home, I have to say that putting this meal together was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. I think it took 15 minutes start to finish, and turned out fantastically. I looked at a handful of recipes online, and took most of my inspiration from this one here at allrecipes.com – but in the end, I kind of did my own thing, and would recommend it in a heartbeat.
Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
4 or 5 medium carrots
one bag of small/baby red potatoes
4 cups water
1 3-4 lb. corned beef brisket (plus spice packet)
1 bottle beer
1/2 a head of green cabbage
Peel and chop the carrots into roughly 2-inch chunks. Quarter or halve the potatoes. Chop the onion. Dump all three vegetables into the bottom of your slow cooker. Add water.
Trim the excess fat from the brisket, place on top of the veggies, and sprinkle the spice packet over the meat. Douse with the bottle of beer. (I happened to have a single bottle of a Magic Hat IPA in the fridge, so that’s what I used, but any beer with good flavor would work. Next time I’d love to try something darker.) Put the lid on the slow cooker, turn to low, and cook for 7 or so hours.
After 7 hours, roughly chop the cabbage, add to the slow cooker (I took the meat out, added the cabbage, and put the meat back on top to submerge the cabbage), and continue cooking for another hour or so. Then – enjoy!
And the best part? This morning, my honey took the leftovers, and some inspiration from Alton Brown, coupled with his own dash of creativity, to make us a killer corned beef hash with sunnyside-up eggs for Sunday brunch. It looked kinda like this.
Gotta love a meal that keeps on giving.