Thursday, March 8, 2012

Corned Beef Time!

Hi everyone!  It’s that time of year…..time for your yearly meal of corned beef and cabbage!  Admit it….even if you love corned beef, I bet you still only eat it once a year.  Unless maybe you are eating it on a Rueben sandwich.  I don’t know why that is.  So many of us love corned beef, yet we only eat it on St. Patrick’s Day.  How come we never sit down to a big ‘ol slab of corned beef on a nice sunny day in July?  Or maybe a cold, snowy day in December?  This is something I will look into, people.  And perhaps I will make a video about it to draw awareness to this injustice.  But probably not.

Last year, I showed you how to make an amazing Irish Mac and Cheese to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  The recipe is here: http://gourmetrooster.blogspot.com/2011/03/luck-o-irish-mac-and-cheese.html.  That recipe is definitely a great option for St. Patrick’s Day.  It uses leftover corned beef.  So I thought today I would show you my recipe for corned beef, which so happens to be the best corned beef you will ever eat.  And I don’t serve it with boiled cabbage.  That’s gross.

I make my corned beef in the slow cooker.  I make a sauce for the beef to cook in that has Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ sauce, brown sugar and apple juice in it.  This makes the corned beef sweet, savory and salty.  It is the perfect combination.  Corned beef tends to be kind of salty and blah.  Mine’s not.

 I cook my corned beef with carrots and onions, but no cabbage.  I don’t like what happens to cabbage in the slow cooker.  It gets mushy and slimy.  Instead, I serve my corned beef with my version of “colcannon”.  Colcannon is an Irish dish that is basically mashed potatoes with cabbage mixed in.  My recipe also uses bacon and good Irish cheddar cheese.  You’ll see;)

I start with a corned beef straight from the grocery store.  This one has already been injected with the salt solution, and it comes with a spice packet.  Get this kind.  You don’t want to use a brisket and have to try to put together your own spice mixture.  You’re busy enough.

These corned beefs should be on sale now at your local grocery store.  At my store, they were scheduled to go on sale tomorrow.  I like to miss things by a day.  It keeps me humble.

Like I said above, I also used baby carrots, a big yellow onion, apple juice, Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ sauce, and brown sugar.

Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ sauce has a lot of mustard in it.  Corned beef is typically paired with mustard.  It also has lots of spices and vinegar in it.  I can’t reveal all that is in it because then I would have to kill you.  Although I guess you could read the label.  But you’ll never know the quantities.  Ha!

I made a little bed of carrots and onions in the bottom of the slow cooker.  I had cut the onion into chunks. 

I also dumped the spice packet in.

Next, I stirred together the BBQ sauce, apple juice and brown sugar.  I poured this over the beef and set the slow cooker to low.  I cooked mine for 8 hours. 

I know I have always told you to brown your meat before you put it in the slow cooker.  This is my one exception.  Corned beef is typically boiled.  It needs to keep that pink color, and browning it first would ruin that.  In the days of yore (do you know when that was?), beef was “corned” to preserve it.  It has nothing to do with corn, the grain.  The process of curing the beef in salt is what makes it “corned”.  History lesson done.

After eight hours, the beef is done!  I let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it.  Always slice against the grain to keep it tender.  Full discloser, I ate like half before I even got this baby off the cutting board.

I served this with the carrots and onions on the side, and I also drizzled some of the cooking liquid over the beef.  Holy leprechauns….this is good stuff.  You must try this.  If you can’t find Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ sauce at your local gourmet store, call me.  I will get you some.

How much easier is corned beef when you use your slow cooker?  Seriously, whoever invented the slow cooker (Mrs. Crock?) deserves an award.

The colcannon was really easy too.  I will show you how to make it.

You will notice that this picture is missing mashed potatoes.  That is because I don’t care how you make the potatoes, or where you get them.  Feel free to buy the frozen “steam and mash” variety from the grocery store.  I’m not saying that I did that.  But I did.

Basically, you need enough plain mashed potatoes for 6 people.  Just potatoes mashed with butter, milk, salt and pepper.

I also used bacon, cabbage and Irish cheddar cheese.

You might be asking yourself….how did she shred her cabbage so finely?  Her knife skills must be unmatched.  They aren’t.  I bought a bag of coleslaw.  You know, the bags of shredded cabbage in the produce section?

First things first, shred your cheese.  I love Irish cheddar.  And it isn’t even orange;)  It is really easy to find.  Kerry Gold makes great Irish cheddar.

I diced my bacon and browned it in a big skillet.  When it was done, I removed it with a slotted spoon and left the fat in the pan.

I added the cabbage to the skillet and fried it in the bacon fat.  This took about 3 minutes in a hot pan.

I mixed half of my cheddar into my potatoes.

Then I stirred in the cabbage and most of the bacon.

I transferred this to a baking dish because it needs to go under the broiler.

Before I popped it under the broiler, I topped it with the remaining cheese and bacon.

I broiled it until the cheese was melted and starting to brown.  Potato deliciousness.

I think this is the perfect complement to corned beef.  You still get your cabbage, but you don’t have to choke down slimy, mushiness. And really, what isn’t delicious when topped with cheese and bacon?


On Tuesday, I will show you what to do with all that leftover corned beef;)  I have a ton since I bought a gigantic one, and only fed 4 people.  Two of whom are 7 and 4 and don’t eat much.

Have a great weekend!  Stay warm for those of you in cold climates.  To those of you in warmer climates…..shut it.  I’m jealous.

Best Ever Corned Beef

One store bought corned beef with spice packet, about 3 to 4 pounds

3 cups baby carrots

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 jar Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

2 cups apple juice

½ cup brown sugar

Place carrots and chopped onion into slow cooker.  Set beef on top of vegetables.  Sprinkle over spice packet.

In a bowl, stir together BBQ sauce, apple juice and brown sugar.  Pour over beef. 

Cook in slow cooker for 8 hours on low.

Let meat rest before slicing.  Pour cooking liquid over meat.


About 4 to 5 cups of prepared mashed potatoes

6 slices bacon, diced

3 cups cabbage, shredded

7 ounces Irish cheddar, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler

In a large sauté pan, brown bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes over medium heat.  Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set aside. 

Add cabbage to bacon fat in sauté pan.  Fry cabbage for about 3 or 4 minutes, or until browned.

Stir ½ of the shredded cheese, cabbage and most of the bacon into mashed potatoes, reserving 2 tablespoons of bacon.  Put mashed potato mixture into a baking dish.  Top with remaining cheese and bacon.  Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serves about 6

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