After all these years, I have finally learned the trick to a gorgeous rich mahogany lacquered, meltingly tender, pepper crusted Corned Beef! Proving once again, that old dogs CAN learn new tricks.
Growing up in New England, I learned to cook my corned beef and cabbage in the style of a New England Boiled Dinner. While good, it lacked big flavor and was sort of watery. This new version is so tender and flavorful, it is beyond delicious. I cannot believe how much better it is when you don’t boil it in a vat of water.
For this dish, you will need one of these, in the photo below, from your grocery store, this is a Corned Beef Brisket FLAT CUT. As its name states, its fairly even in thickness and a flat rectangle in shape. This cooks more evenly than the larger chunkier Point Cut. Most corned beef is in the 3 pound range.
You also need black pepper and a cabbage – a medium roasting pan and foil. I often use my covered Dutch Oven pot.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Open the package of brisket in your sink, dry the packaging liquid by blotting it with paper towels and place in your roasting pan fat side up. Crust the fat with 2 tablespoons black pepper and the spice packet if yours is separate.
Cover the dish with foil and cook for 3 hours. Remove the foil. If there is more than one inch of liquid in your roasting pan, pour off all but a half inch of this liquid before baking without the foil for an additional 30 minutes.
This is also the time to prepare and put the cabbage into the oven. Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges or one inch ‘Steaks’. Arrange on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper then roast in the oven with the corned beef – the cabbage will need to be in for 45 minutes to an hour until tender and slightly charred at the edges.
Check the brisket by inserting a fork in the meat. If it goes in super easy without much pressure and you are able to pull apart or shred the meat with a twist of the fork, it’s ready. If it meets with any resistance or seems firm, roast for another 30 minutes. You may have to keep checking it and putting it back in the oven once or twice depending on the size of your corned beef.
IF YOUR CORNED BEEF IS TOUGH, IT HAS NOT COOKED LONG ENOUGH. A CORNED BEEF BRISKET NEEDS A LONG SLOW COOKING TIME SO THE CONNECTIVE TISSUES WILL MELT.
Once the brisket is fork-tender, remove it from the oven and let it rest, covered with your foil. Keep cooking the cabbage until soft and tender.