Forget green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. The only thing I’m looking forward to this time of year, is a plate of corned beef and cabbage with potatoes, carrots, mustard, and horseradish. A frothy glass of Irish stout or even a dram of Irish Whiskey wouldn’t be rebuffed, providing their proper hues are still intact. This dish can be found at many a bar or pub to be sure, but you can make it at home with very little effort and have leftovers for days. Swing by the Red Rock Beer Store to pick up their latest brew, Don’t Murder Me Stout. The Irish-style stout is the perfect accompaniment to your DIY St. Patrick’s Day meal.
Corned beef and cabbage isn’t exactly a traditional Irish dish. In Ireland, where beef was hard to come by, the companion to cabbage was typically bacon. When Irish people immigrated to America, they found that corned beef, a salt-cured brisket, was more available and affordable giving the cuisine some very American roots. St. Patrick’s Day, being a reprieve from the fasting season of lent, was a day for indulging in the eating of meat, something forbidden during lent. Hearty meals of corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew are very much linked to the celebration of the holiday.
It was Red Rock brewpub’s St. Patrick’s Day special that first made me fall in love with corned beef and cabbage. I would return year after year to enjoy a plate, until I realized how easy it was to make it myself. Because brisket can be a tough cut of meat, it’s best to cook it for a long time over low heat. That makes it the perfect crock-pot meal! Over the years, I’ve learned how best to achieve the perfect result. Although you can do this in a pot on your stove, my recipe is for a slow cooker.
Most of the recipes I’ve seen for corned beef and cabbage don’t include beer. However, since beer can be a powerful meat tenderizer and add more flavor, I don’t know why you wouldn’t use it. This year, with Red Rock’s release of Don’t Murder Me, I decided to make it the poster child for this batch. You don’t have to use stout, though. I’ve also made it with the Redline Irish Red from Bonneville Brewing and lighter ales and lagers. Keep it simple or get creative. It’s going to turn out delicious!
Corned beef brisket with spice packet (3-4 lbs)
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
6 sprigs of thyme (optional)
2 bay leaves
2 lbs potatoes
2-3 large carrots
1 small head of green cabbage
8 oz (or more) of beer
2-4 cups of water
Grainy mustard and horseradish for garnish (optional)
- Wash and cut vegetables into bit-sized chunks. Larger pieces won’t get as mushy in the slow cooker. For the cabbage, you can roughly chop it into pieces or cut it into wedges. I personally prefer the wedges. The cabbage is the most susceptible to being overcooked.
- Rinse the corned beef and pat it dry. This removes some of the salt. To remove more of the salt, soak it water for a couple of hours or even overnight. If you prefer to keep the salt for more flavor, rinsing the meat is optional.
- Add onion pieces in a layer on the bottom of your slow cooker. Lay the corned beef (fat-side-up) over the onions. Top the meat with the contents of the spice packet (pickling spices), garlic cloves, thyme, and bay leaves.
- Pour the beer over the brisket, then add enough water (or more beer if you like) to cover the meat.
- Put the lid on. Set the slow cooker to low and your timer for 8-10 hours. Set aside the rest of the veggies for now.
- After 2-4 hours, or when there are 5-6 hours left in cooking time, add the potatoes and carrots.
- Add cabbage 1-2 hours before serving. Cooking the cabbage longer than 2 hours will make it very mushy.
- When cooking time is done, remove the corned beef, and let it rest on a serving platter or cutting board for a few minutes. Cut the meat against the grain to serve.
- Serve with cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and onions on the side. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Garnish with grainy brown mustard and horseradish.
- This recipe works best in a large slow cooker.
Let us know how your corned beef and cabbage turns out and share your recipe variations. Don’t Murder Me Stout is available now from Red Rock Brewing Company. Have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!