Grandma's Corned Beef
March 27, 2011

Belated St. Patrick's Day Dinner

St. Patrick's day has never been one of those holidays that I really get excited about. I will wear green (mostly to avoid anyone trying to pinch me), but that's about where it ends. It doesn't help that last year on March 17th, my dad ended up in the ER. He's much better now, but I'm always going to remember sitting in that little room in the hospital wearing a pair of green Dr. Martens. On St. Patrick's day. (I guess it's a good thing I wasn't too attached to this particular holiday.)

One of the results of my dad's hospital stay is that he's now on a no-salt diet. Which means I had to take home one of the packages of corned beef (no more salt-cured meat for him!) he had bought days before his ER adventure.

It's been in my freezer for the past year.

I had every intention of cooking it last year, but it just never happened. So last weekend, a few days after St.Patrick's day, I decided it was about time I finally cooked that corned beef.

From what I can gather, you basically just boil the thing until it's tender and serve it with some cabbage and potatoes. But I have my Grandma's coveted corned beef recipe. It's the same basic boil until tender concept, but there's also a sauce! Apparently this is uncommon in the realm of corned beef, but it elevates it to a whole other level. Rumor has it that even years after they had moved out, if my dad or his siblings found out my grandma was making corned beef they all ended up home for dinner.

It's that good.

So without further ado, I give you my Grandma's recipe for corned beef.

Grandma's Corned Beef

3 to 4lb corned beef (or larger)
6 peppercorns
1 yellow or white onion, sliced
4 whole cloves
1 or 2 stalks of celery, cut in large chunks

For the Sauce:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp yellow mustard
3 tbsp vinegar (white or cider vinegar works)
1 tsp horseradish (optional)

Depending on how you purchased your corned beef you may want to rinse it off and pat it dry (especially if it comes in one of those sealed up bags). Place corned beef, onion, celery and spices in a large pot, cover with water and cook (with the lid on) over a low flame for 2 to 3 hours until tender (a fork should go in easily).

While the corned beef is cooking, you can make the sauce. Basically whisk everything together until it's smooth.

At some point when the meat is close to being tender, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the corned beef is tender, remove it from the pot and place in an oven safe dish (I usually use a glass pyrex dish). Spoon the sauce over the meat, and cover the dish with foil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove foil, slice and serve!

I usually serve this corned beef with braised cabbage. My grandma would cook the cabbage and potatoes in the water left over from cooking the meat, I haven't tried that yet, but I'm sure it's probably pretty tasty.

*She mentions that you can use the spice packet that usually comes with the corned beef, but I always toss that and just use the spices in this recipe. I've even left out the cloves and it doesn't seem to make a huge difference.



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© Whitney Brandt-Hiatt: All writing, images, and photogrpahy are the property of Whitney Brandt-Hiatt unless otherwise noted.