This Easy Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe is not only delicious, but easy as it gets! Place the brisket and seasonings in the slow cooker and walk away. Hours later, you'll have a balanced meal to serve and plenty of leftovers for sandwiches!
Everybody's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, but there's no need to wait till March to enjoy this dish! The funny thing is, you won't find this "traditional Irish dinner" on the tables in Dublin or Cork! In Ireland, traditional St. Patrick's Day dinners typically consist of lamb or mutton Shepherd's Pie, coddle, colcannan and champ.
What is corned beef?
It's actually a brisket--a cut of meat from the front lower portion of a cow. It is one of the toughest cuts of meat, so you'll want to cook it low and slow. The term "corned" refers to the corning, or brining process where the meat is cured and brined in salt.
Why is it pink?
Pink curing salt is responsible for the pink color of the pre-packaged corned beef. Pink curing salt is not the same as Himalayan salt. The brisket is pink due to the process of curing and brining in a mixture of pink curing salt and sodium nitrite.
If the pink color bothers you, purchase a flat-cut brisket and use the recommended seasonings. Your slow-cooker brisket will turn out as flavorful as the pink version, only it will not be pink, but brown.
How many servings from a point-cut brisket?
Generally speaking, most of the pre-packaged briskets are around 2-3 lbs. During the low and slow cooking process, the meat shrinks resulting in a yield of about 40-50%. So, a 3 lb. brisket shrinks to about 1.5-2.0 lbs. If you allow 6 oz. per person, you'll get a little over five servings per piece of meat.
An easier way to determine the yield is to buy one pound per person. That way, you know you'll have plenty and there will be some leftovers! And don't forget the Irish Soda Bread!
Do the Irish eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day?
Early Irish immigrants to America were generally poor. Their traditional fare on St. Patrick's Day in their native homeland was boiled bacon, but when they got to America, they couldn't afford pork, so they opted for a cheaper, tougher cut of meat--brisket. Today in Ireland, traditional St. Patty's Day fare includes Shepherd's Pie, lamb stew and a host of potato dishes like champ and colcannon.
What are the spices?
If you buy a pre-packaged version for your St. Patrick's Day celebration, you'll notice it includes a small spice packet. This packet consists of allspice, peppercorns, coriander and mustard seeds. This tiny packet is rarely enough spices to thoroughly season the corned beef, so I usually add a teaspoon more of each spice, plus a few bay leaves, cloves, nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon.
How to make easy slow-cooker corned beef and cabbage
- Place the point-cut meat in the slow cooker with the fat side up. Add 2 1/2 - 3 cups of beef broth. Add spice packet and additional spices. Top corned beef with sliced onions (optional). Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- An hour before serving, cut a head of cabbage into quarters and place the cabbage in the slow cooker around the brisket. (If you want to add potatoes and carrots, add them two hours before you're ready to serve.)
- You know the meat is done when it is "fork tender" or use a meat thermometer; when the internal temperature is 145ºF, it's done!
- Use a heavy duty spatula to remove the corned beef from the slow cooker. If you find your brisket falls apart, or begins to shred when removing it from the crockpot, just use tongs to remove the tender shreds of beef.
- Slice corned beef against the grain. If you're not sure which way to slice it, look at the direction of the "threads" in the meat; hold your knife perpendicular to the threads and slice.
What can I make with leftovers?
As with any other type of braised meat, sandwiches are usually the easiest way to use leftovers. Buy a nice sesame seed bun and add a little corned beef, sauerkraut, provolone cheese and 1,000 Island Dressing and you've got a great pseudo-Hot Pastrami sandwich! Or, re-heat in a skillet with diced potatoes and onions, making a hash. Serve with eggs and toast and call it breakfast!
Easy Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
- Slow Cooker
- 3 lbs. point-cut corned beef brisket
- 3 cups beef broth , low-sodium
- 1 large cabbage head , quartered
- 1 large onion sliced (optional)
- potatoes and carrots (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of each: allspice, bay leaves, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds, nutmeg ground spices(See Recipe Notes)
- Combine seasonings in a small bowl and set aside
- Place corned beef in slow cooker, fat side up
- Add 3 cups of beef broth (or more-enough to cover the meat by 2 inches)
- Sprinkle seasonings over meat and liquid
- Add sliced onions on top of meat (optional)
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours
- One hour before you're ready to serve the meat, add cut cabbage to slow cooker
- Cook one additional hour on low heat
- Remove corned beef using spatula or tongs; slice against the grain; serve with cooked cabbage