Best way to cook St. Patty’s-inspired corned beef (and it's not what I expected!)

Photo by Rachel Cuthbert Photography

Photo by Rachel Cuthbert Photography

To all of my Irish friends & wannabe Irishmen (this includes me), I’ve been on a quest for the perfect corned beef. How many of you the week of St. Patty’s Day think, I want to make corned beef at home but don’t because either you don’t make it often enough, never make it, or find yourself overwhelmed by the endless recipes online? If so, this post is for you. This year, I purchased two corned beefs and made them two ways—by oven & Instant Pot.

Irish Soda bread, recipe via Ina Garten , Photo by Rachel Cuthbert Photography

Irish Soda bread, recipe via Ina Garten, Photo by Rachel Cuthbert Photography

Quick backstory: Each year, as long as I can remember, my Italian grandmother celebrated St. Patrick’s day with a traditional corned beef and cabbage feast. And since I moved away from my hometown of Cleveland nearly 8 years ago, I had to learn how to make it for my family. So year after year I would call my grandma and ask her to remind me how to cook cabbage and noodles, how to boil corned beef, and glaze carrots. Slowly, I’ve added my own traditions. I found a delicious Irish Soda bread recipe via Ina Garten (she’s often my go to), and I started to experiment with corned beef recipes. Instructions on the package are fine, but I knew there were ways I could add a little pizzazz.

Two years ago, I found a corned beef recipe via Rachel Ray that included a brown sugar & stone ground mustard glaze (I also included it at the end of this post). You roast it in the oven for about two hours, wrapped in foil and covered with the glaze. My favorite thing about this recipe is the glaze, but I struggled to get the beef super tender. This year, I decided I would experiment with oven vs. the Instant pot. Increasingly, my Instant Pot has become my go to. In my opinion, it’s way better than the crockpot—I find that most things in the crockpot end up tasting the same.

Despite my growing love for the Instant Pot, I was a bit nervous to try it with the corned beef. The verdict (taste tasted by friends with refined palettes): While both the oven and the Instant Pot took about two hours, the Instant Pot corned beef (see adapted recipe at end of post) was fall apart tender—not mushy. Because my favorite part of the oven roasted recipe is the glaze, this weekend I plan to make more corned beef in the Instant pot, and finish it off in the broiler with the brown sugar/mustard glaze. I will keep you posted!

Corned beef roasted in the oven , Photo by Rachel Cuthbert

Corned beef roasted in the oven, Photo by Rachel Cuthbert

Oven vs. Instant Pot Corned beef

Corned beef cooked in the INstant Pot , Pictured above is a reuben sandwich—a great alternative if you aren’t a straight up cabbage and noodles fan, or a great way to use up leftovers. I follow a  recipe from Zingerman’s Deli —A well known & loved deli in Ann Arbor, MI. Their thousand Island dressing is delish (it’s the only time I use thousand Island, and I love SauerKraut from Mcclures.—a small batch company out of Detroit/brooklyn. Photo by Rachel Cuthbert

Corned beef cooked in the INstant Pot, Pictured above is a reuben sandwich—a great alternative if you aren’t a straight up cabbage and noodles fan, or a great way to use up leftovers. I follow a recipe from Zingerman’s Deli—A well known & loved deli in Ann Arbor, MI. Their thousand Island dressing is delish (it’s the only time I use thousand Island, and I love SauerKraut from Mcclures.—a small batch company out of Detroit/brooklyn. Photo by Rachel Cuthbert

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Tablescape pre food: Platter, Williams Sonoma; plates, Homegoods; grass charger, Ikea; Glassware, Hearth & Hand, Target; runner, Hand sewn by friend, Peggy Stewart, fabric from Waverly/purchased at Walmart. Photo by Rachel Cuthbert Photography

Tablescape pre food: Platter, Williams Sonoma; plates, Homegoods; grass charger, Ikea; Glassware, Hearth & Hand, Target; runner, Hand sewn by friend, Peggy Stewart, fabric from Waverly/purchased at Walmart. Photo by Rachel Cuthbert Photography

Instant Pot Corned Beef

(adapted from a Striped Spatula recipe)

1 Large onion, pulled and quartered

4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with back of a knife

Package of pickling spices (that comes with the corned beef)

2 cups water

12 oz of beer (in my case, I just used 12 oz of beef broth because I didn’t have beer on hand)

  1. Combine onion, garlic cloves, pickling spices and water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place corned beef, fat side up on top of mixture. Cover with beer or in my case beef broth.

  2. Seal lid and set the unit to HIGH pressure for 85 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure.* Remove corned beef and place on a dish or a cutting board, spooning a bit of the cooking liquid over the top. Cover with foil to keep warm.

  3. Slice corned beef against the grain. Spoon a little bit of the reserved cooking liquid over the corned beef slices on your platter. Serve corned beef with mustard, horseradish, etc..

*Read some of Amanda at the Striped Spatula’s notes on venting the Instant Pot. For instance, she mentions that you should NOT use a towel while venting because it can damage the pot or cause a malfunction. This was news to me—I’ve used a pot holder while venting, but after reading this will take precaution not to cover the spout with a potholder or towel while releasing the steam.

Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze

via Rachel Ray

1/3 cup dijon or country-style grainy mustard (I used grainy mustard, but you could even mix dijon and country style)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar or plain water

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Once meat is finished in Instant Pot, place it on a large piece of foil, fat side up, cover with glaze. Broil in oven on high for 2-3 minutes. Slice meat against the grain.