Don’t wash out your corned beef by boiling it. Enjoy a flavorful and tender St. Patrick’s Day dinner with this Baked Corned Beef with Mustard Crust.
I never really understood St. Patrick’s Day. I am not Irish. I have zero, zippo Irish blood running in my veins. I’ve got Lithuanian and Iranian blood, you see. And when I moved the U.S. in the 70’s, I had no understanding about things like Leprechauns or the Easter Bunny.
I got pinched for not wearing green and couldn’t understand why my friends believed in a giant bunny that gives away candy. Fast forward 30 years later, and I’m a mom of three and having fun with the many “holidays” celebrated in the U.S. Which brings me to this lovely Baked Corned Beef.
Why do we eat corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day?
Here in the U.S. we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with some corned beef and cabbage. This is ironic considering that beef was not readily available in Ireland and was considered a luxury item. The traditional Irish meal for St. Patrick’s Day was usually lamb or pork.
We can thank the Irish immigrants who emigrated to America for our American corned beef dinner. For the first time, these Irish immigrants earned enough money to afford meat and began eating beef.
Many Irish communities in New Year lived next to the Jewish communities, and thus beef brisket was the cheap meat of choice for the Irish feast. Add in the beloved potato and the very cheap vegetable, cabbage, and the classic Irish meal was born! Fascinating history, right? You can learn more details here.
What exactly is corned beef?
For many centuries, Ireland was a major producer of salted meat which is used to not only cure the beef, but it also tenderizes tougher cuts of meat. The corned beef we commonly eat today in the U.S. is either the beef round or brisket. Both are cheap and tough cuts of meat.
The beef gets cured using large grains of rock salt, aka “corns” of salt. The beef sits in this brine giving corned beef its distinctive pink color. Add some peppercorns and spices to the brine, and you will have a very flavorful meat.
How to cook corned beef
When I first tried making corned beef, I followed the directions on the package and slowly boiled it. It seemed good enough. I really didn’t know what I was doing, being a new wife.
Boiling the corned beef is how the Irish Americans first prepared this dish, too. As corned beef comes from tougher cuts of meat, you have to cook it low and slow so it will yield tender and juicy.
I was never a fan of boiled meat, whether in a pot over the stove or in a slow-cooker. I figured there had to be another way to prepare corned beef without boiling it.
How to make oven baked corned beef
Then I found a recipe for baked corned beef and my curiosity was piqued. It made so much more sense to bake a brisket than to boil it. So I tried it myself.
As I stated before, I prefer the brisket corned beef as it is much more tender and juicy than the other cuts. I omitted cloves from the original recipe because no one in my family likes cloves. I also modified the mustard topping to my personal taste.
I do not boil the meat first as some baked corned beef recipes do. The boiling process removes some of the excess salt. I suppose the brands I get aren’t super salty to me and my family.
If salt is an issue for you, place your corned beef in a pot fat side up and cover with water. Once the water comes to a boil, remove from heat, discard the water and continue with the rest of the recipe.
Oh yeah, now this is a keeper. The baked corned beef flavor doesn’t get washed away like it does when you boil it, plus the meat is super moist and tender.
What to do with leftover baked corned beef
Honestly, my whole family loves this dish so much and usually we eat it up with zero leftovers. This is now my go-to recipe whenever we have a corned beef hankering!
But just in case you do have leftovers, you can always make up some delicious sandwiches. But my family likes to mix it in some mac and cheese, or set it up as appetizers with bruschetta, or my personal favorite: mix it into a quinoa salad!
Those pesky leprechauns
You can’t celebrate of St. Patrick’s Day in the US without thinking about green beer and leprechauns. leprechauns are types of fairies that cause a whole lot of mischief. They date back to 8th century Irish folklore, but kids here in the US learn about them early on in school.
My Middle-Child has been permanently scarred by these mischievous Leprechauns. When he was 4 and in preschool, the “Leprechauns” came into his classroom while the children played on the playground.
The Leprechauns left a big mess! Of course, they also left candies and “gold,” but my young boy came home super paranoid after this incident.
My Princess was barely 2-years old and I asked Middle-Child to play quietly in his room while I put his sister down for her afternoon nap. When I came back to check on him, he was hiding under his sheets, terrified.
“What’s wrong, baby?” I asked frantically.
“Mommy, what if the Leprechauns come here and mess up my room? I don’t want to clean it up! They’re going to get me in trouble!” he cried to me.
I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. So I hugged him tight and told him that the Leprechauns wouldn’t come to our house because we weren’t Irish. I reassured him that they only come to visit kids at school.
Just to be sure, he had me make a sign and posted it on our front door:
Please don’t come to our house.”
It took months before Middle-Child stopped talking about those naughty Leprechauns. When he started kindergarten, I asked his teacher if the Leprechauns were going to visit the classroom.
Apparently there were several children (besides my darling) totally traumatized by Leprechauns. So lucky for them (ha ha) the Leprechauns decided to skip Middle-Child’s classroom that year.
Whew! Crisis diverted.
Of course, now that boy is 15 years old and thinks Leprechauns are silly. Silly or not, he still doesn’t like them!
- 3 lb corned beef brisket
- 1/4 cup honey mustard
- 1/4 cup whole grain dijon mustard
- 2 TBS light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Drain liquid from corned beef package and pat dry with paper towels.
- (Optional) If salt is an issue for you, place your corned beef in a pot fat side up and cover with water. Once the water comes to a boil, remove from heat, discard the water and continue with the rest of the recipe.
- Lay corned beef, fat side up, on a large piece of heavy duty, wide, aluminum foil.
- Evenly sprinkle peppercorns from package over corned beef (optional).
- In a small bowl, whisk together mustards.
- Spread half of the mustard mixture over the top of the corned beef. Reserve remaining mustard.
- Sprinkle over the mustard covered corned beef with brown sugar.
- Wrap the corned beef with foil so that space is left on top between the corned beef and the foil
- Place foil-wrapped corned beef in a shallow roasting pan and bake for 2 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 145º F (65º C) .
- Open the foil wrapping and broil for 2-3 minutes, until the top is bubbly and lightly browned.
- Let corned beef rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then place on cutting board and cut at a diagonal, across the grain of the meat, into 1/2-inch thick slices.
- Serve with reserved mustard on the side.
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.
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Serving Size:4-5 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 7.3g Cholesterol: 85mg Sodium: 1377mg Carbohydrates: 4.2g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 3g Protein: 18.2g