Top of the morning to ya and Erin go bragh…. it’s St Patrick’s Day time of year again. Well, what food goes better with St. Paddy’s Day than corned beef and cabbage? None that I can think of! This tasty treat only seems to get cooked by the average household about once a year and it always seems to be on March 17th. Is it the Irish version of Thanksgiving or something? I mean, in most households, turkey only gets cooked once a year and it’s always on a certain date as well. Things that make you go Hmmmmm. Either way, I’m glad that the Irish brought this great foodie tradition to the states with them….or did they?
Is corned beef really Irish?
Well, ask anyone around here and they will probably tell you yes, it is Irish. The fact of the matter is that in ancient Ireland the cow was considered to be a symbol of wealth and was not commonly consumed. Now, the pig, the pig was much more commonly consumed by the masses back then. I don’t know about you, but corned pork chops just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
If not for England’s conquering of Ireland in the 16th century, we just may still not have corned beef to this day. What happened was that once conquered, England began importing cows to Ireland to feed the English people in their new homes. This grew the cow population quickly. In the 1660’s, English Parliament enacted the “Cattle Acts” (real original name, right?) which halted any exports back to England and made cattle abundant and therefore more affordable for the population.
Around this time, the act of salting beef grew in Ireland. It was referred to as corning because the size of the salt used to preserve the meat closely resembled kernels of corn. Because of the high cattle population and lower salt taxes than the rest of Europe, Ireland became a hub for producing corned beef. That, my friends is the beginning of why we now don green t-shirts and clothes and consume mass quantities of beef, vegetables, and green beer once a year.
What meat should I use?
There are a number of different ways that you could do corned beef. First things first though, you need to know what cut you are working with and how does it get “corned”? For this meal, you can use a store bought, pre-brined corned beef. This is a brisket, flat or point that has gone through the process of being “corned” already. That is simply the process of salting and curing the meat for preservation.
You can also buy a brisket and brine or corn it yourself. I have seen it done with an entire packer brisket but most commonly the flat and point aka the deckle, are separated and brined individually. The point will tend to be a much fattier piece of meat. This will definitely help with added flavor but at the expense of a lot more fat. It is up to you. Since you have seen my video’s, you can probably guess which one I prefer……
What equipment do I need to make this?
This recipe is pretty simple and does not require a whole lot of special equipment. The first thing that you will need is a good Grill safe Dutch Oven. We used this Romertopf Dutch Oven because it has plenty of room, distributes heat really evenly and best of all, it cleans up easily!!! To do the recipe the way that we did it, you will also need a wire rack. You can use any rack or grate that you have that will hold the meat over the opening in the top of the pot. Like I said, any rack that fits will work nicely.
The only other items that you may need are a pair of tongs to pull the meat out of the water and handle it while it is hot. It is so nice to use them and not burn your hands. It really makes for a much more pleasurable grilling experience. A knife is another item that you will need to make this. Those vegetables aren’t going to chop themselves. A sharp chef’s knife will perfectly, just like the Santoku Knife that Captain Ron used in this video works perfectly. It is very affordable and stays sharp for a long time.
Which Charcoal is best for this dish?
The way that we prepared this dish, we felt that our FOGO Super Premium would work best. The yellow Super Premium bag will always have much larger chunks than other charcoal, which makes it ideal for low and slow cooking. That is exactly what we are doing for the first half of this cook. It will burn evenly and cleanly for the perfect kiss of smoke. It will also perform beautifully when you open the vents to increase the temperature for the braising portion, since it is already lit and has a great hot coal base going by that point.
St. Patrick’s Day
Go out and get yourself a corned beef and make this recipe, I promise that you will not be disappointed. You can make it after the St Paddy’s Day parades that go on in just about every city in the country. It is absolutely delicious and could help soak up some of that green beer and Jameson that are so widely consumed on that day. Either way, be safe, enjoy the recipe and as the old Irish sayings and toasts say: “May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you’re dead” and “Laughter is brightest where food is best”
- Fill your grill with FOGO Super Premium Charcoal and set it up for indirect cooking at 250°.
- Remove the corned beef from the package and pat it dry with paper towels. Coat the meat liberally with light brown sugar and Tina Cannon’s European Blend Seasoning. Place the meat on any wire rack and place it over the top of the Dutch Oven. Place it on the grate and cook for 1 hour, allowing the drippings to drip down into the pot.
- After one hour, remove the pot from the grill, remove the meat and place it down into the pot. Open the vents to increase the cooking temperature to 350°. Pour the 2 beers around the meat, being cautious not to pour the seasonings off of the meat. Place the covered Dutch Oven onto the center of the grate, close the dome and cook for one hour.
- After it has cooked for an hour, open the lid and place all of the veggies down onto the pot. Make sure that they are nestled down onto the beer as much as possible. You can add the seasoning packet that came with the corned beef into the liquids as well if you so choose. Place the covered Dutch Oven with the meat and veggies back on the grate and cook for another hour or until the meat is fork tender.
- Remove the meat and vegetables from the liquid and move to a cutting board. Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve. The vegetables would definitely benefit from a big thick hunk of butter on top.
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