Corned beef actually refers to a cut of beef that is pickled or cured in brine. The corn refers to grains of coarse salt used to cure the meat. The meat cuts can be brisket (breast or lower chest), silverside (hindquarter), or round (rump steak).
It is often sold pre-cooked in groceries and delis. The meat is often used for sandwiches such as corned beef on rye bread and Reuben sandwich (made up of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian or Thousand Island dressing on grilled rye bread). Corned beef is also used for corned beef hash and the traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage.
Since corned beef is usually pre-cooked, it can actually be eaten straight from the package. Most of the packaged corned beef have spices already added for flavor. Some people just boil the corned beef so it becomes more tender because it is frozen in most groceries and delis.
Before cooking the beef, remove it from the package and place it in a large pot. Include the liquid and spices with the meat in the pot.
Pour water in the pot until it covers the beef. Bring the water and beef to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, lower the heat until it goes down to a simmer. Cover the pot.
The length of time to cook corned beef depends on its quantity. Two pounds of corned beef would take about one and a half to two hours to cook.
Check the corned beef occasionally. Add more water if much of it has evaporated while cooking.
Corned beef is fully cooked when it can be easily pulled apart. You can use a fork to test its firmness. Once it is tender enough, serve it in a plate or bowl.
There are variations you can add to your corned beef dish. You can make glazed corned beef with 4 ½ pounds corned beef, 1 cup apricot preserves, 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 4 tablespoons sugar.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is heating up, rinse the corned beef.
Coat your pan with non-stick cooking spray. Put the corned beef in the pan and add water.
Cover the pan tightly with sheets of aluminum foil. Bake the corned beef for 2 hours. Then, drain the liquid after baking.
Take a small bowl and mix apricot preserves, soy sauce, and sugar. Spread the mixture evenly on the corned beef.
Bake the corned beef again for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then serve.