Smoked Corned Beef

We ran out of corned beef for sandwiches, and are still in the mood for this springtime treat. I wanted to change it up a bit though, so decided I would give it try on my smoker. I chose a brisket cut over the round cut, which is made for smoking and slow cooking to break down the connective tissues. It will slice nicely for sandwiches as leftovers.

I am busy outside in the garden and barn this time of year. Putting something on to slow cook in the smoker and checking on it here and there is an easy way to have dinner cook while you get your spring time chores done. When the evenings turn chilly in the spring, coming in from the cold to a warm meal just ready to serve is very welcome.

For this version I decided not to add any sweetness. I am using juniper berries in the rub, as this ingredient is part of the traditional corned beef brining. Plus, how often do you really get to use juniper berries in a recipe?

Gather together all the ingredients and let’s get smokin’!

Ingredients

2-3 pound Corned Beef brisket
2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole juniper berries
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 Large onion, cut in 8ths
1 Pint Dark Beer (Porter or Guiness)

Instructions

  1. Preheat smoker to 275 degrees.
  2. Trim excess fat off corned beef.
  3. In a mortar and pestal, grind whole juniper berries into almost a paste like consistency. Add peppercorns and continue to grind.
  4. Mix whole grain mustard into the ground spices.
  5. Coat corned beef with mustard and spice paste on both sides.
  6. Place on smoker grate, and smoke for 3 hours with the lid closed.
  7. After 3 hours, place the corned beef in a shallow aluminum pan, add beer and surround with onion. The beer will help draw the excess salt out of the corned beef and bring in complimentary flavors.
  8. Cover pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and put back in the smoker for another 3 hours.
  9. Remove from the smoker and rest for 15-30 minutes.
  10. Carve against the grain and serve.

Notes: During the last three hours of cooking you can also cook a head of cabbage in the smoker. Refer to recipehttps://betwixtandcuisine.com/2019/03/23/smoked-cabbage-with-siracha/ for this option.

Corned Beef Hash

This dish is one of the rewards of patiently slow cooking a traditional corned beef dinner. I deliberately cook twice as much corned beef as necessary for Rueben sandwiches and a great hash. Corned beef hash doubles as both a breakfast food and casual evening meal on a busy work night. It reheats well for lunch too!

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon Avocado Oil
1/2 Medium Onion, Diced
3 Scallions,sliced thin
2 Cups boiled red potatoes, skin-on, cubed (I use the
leftover potatoes from the corned beef dinner made before)
2 Cups cooked corned beef, cubed
2 Tablespoons minced Flat Leaf Italian Parsley


Instructions

  1. Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add diced onion and cook until translucent and beginning to brown.
  3. Add cubed potatoes and corned beef. Continue cooking until the potatoes and corned beef begin to brown, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add sliced scallions and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in minced parsley.

Notes: Great on it’s own or topped with a poached or over-easy egg.

Rueben Sandwiches with Spicy Russian Dressing

One of the best things about a corned beef and cabbage dinner is the left overs. Corned beef is like the Thanksgiving turkey of late winter; if you cook a larger cut of brisket, you may use it in a variety of leftovers. One of my favorites is a classic Rueben Sandwich with homemade Russian dressing. I love the spicy sweetness paired with the briny sauerkraut, melted swiss cheese, and a stack of thin sliced corned beef on a dark rye bread. I put a modern twist on the traditional dressing with the addition of a generous dose of Siracha hot sauce.

Ingredients

For the Russian Dressing
2 Tablespoons grated onion
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Ketchup
4 teaspoons of prepared horseradish - the fresher the better.
1-2 teaspoons of Siracha hot sauce (more or less to your taste)
1 - 2 teaspoons of Worchestershire sauce (more or less to your taste)
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
Dash of sea salt or pink salt

For each sandwich

2 Slices Dark Rye Bread (can use a light rye or pumpernickle if preferred)
2 Slices Swiss Cheese
1/2 Cup of Sauerkraut, drained and most of moisture pressed out
Sliced Cooked Corned Beef Brisket - Amount to your preference.
Russian Dressing
Butter

Instructions

  1. Make Russian Dressing
    • Transfer onion paste to a small bowl along with mayonnaise, ketchup and horseradish.
    • Add 1 teaspoon of siracha, 1 teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce and the paprika.
    • Taste and add more siracha or Worchestershire.
    • Finish by salting to taste.
  2. Assemble Sandwiches
    • Spread one slice of bread with butter and place butter down in a 8-10 inch skillet.
    • Spread bread with a teaspoon (or more) of Russian Dressing.
    • Place two slices of Swiss Cheese ontop of the dressing.
    • Add drained and pressed Sauerkraut.
    • Add desired amount of sliced corned beef.
    • Spread second slice of bread with another generous teaspoon of Russian Dressing.
    • Place bread, dressing side down on top of corned beef.
    • Butter top side of bread.
    • Grill in skillet over medium heat, flipping the bread when desired level of toasting occurs.
  3. Serve with additional dressing on the side.

Note: Substitute Thousand Island Dressing for the Russian Dressing for a sweeter sandwich if preferred.

Corned Beef And Cabbage in the Slow Cooker

St. Patrick’s Day is still a week away, but we just couldn’t wait another week to enjoy a nice slow-cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage. This time of year, just before spring, the evenings are still cold and this hearty meal is welcome after a day of pre-spring yard cleanup. This version is my own take on the traditional dish and is cooked in a slow cooker giving us time to do some chores and then come into a meal that is ready to serve at the end of a busy day. Most of the prep can be done the night before if you happen to want to have this waiting for you at the end of your work day.

Ingredients

1 - 3 to 4 pound corned beef brisket (can also use the round, I just prefer the brisket for slicing for Rueben sandwhiches if there are any leftovers)
1 large or 2 small onions
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 Tablespoon Pickling Spice
2 12 oz. bottles of Guiness Stout Ale (optional)
1.5 oz. of Madeira (optional)
24 oz. water - more or less as desired
3 or 4 carrots, peeled and cut into bite size pieces (alternately, these days small peeled carrots in the bag are available in most grocery stores)
3 - 4 stalks of celery, cut into bite size pieces
1 - pound of small red potatoes, washed, skin-on, cut in 1/2 or quarter if potatoes are larger than a walnut
1 large head or 2 small heads of green cabbage

Instructions

  1. Dice onions, celery, and carrots. Place in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Add peeled garlic.
  3. Open corned beef from package and rinse, reserving spice packet.
  4. Add corned beef and spice packet, along with pickling spices to the slow cooker, on top of the carrots, onion, celery and garlic.
  5. Add the two bottles of Guiness, the Madeira, and the water to 1/2 cover the corned beef. The vegetables will float a bit.
  6. Set the slow cooker to high heat, and cook on high for 2 hours if you are home to mind the cooker. If you are not going to be home, continue with the next step immediately.
  7. After two hours, or at the outset if the cooker is going to be unattended, set the slow cooker to low heat and add the potatoes and cabbage to the cooker.
  8. Continue cooking until potatoes and cabbage and corned beef are fork tender. Cook time should be around 6-7 hours for the high/low heat method. 8-10 hours for the slow heat method. This will vary based on the slow cooker.

Note: A good way to finish the corned beef is to remove it from the cooking juices, place in an oven safe dish and slather with a mustard and brown sugar glaze. Roast in a 325 degree oven until the glaze carmelizes and develops a crust, but does not burn. For the glaze use 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup whole grain or brown mustard. In a small saucepan combine the brown sugar and water. Heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the mustard. Continue simmering for another 2-3 minutes. Coat corned beef with glaze and bake until the desired carmelization occurs. You will need to check the corned beef in the oven after 10 minutes and then every 5 minutes to make sure the glaze is cooking to the desired carmelization. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.