Corned beef, lessons learned

Although I try very hard to make sure my meat is locally sourced blah blah blah, there are exceptions. One is Jake’s which I’ve always thought of as the gold standard of corned beef. So I went to there to get corned beef for reuben sandwiches. I kinda dreaded it because the experience there can be trying. This time was not an exception. I ordered a pound and a half of corned beef and waited while the guy behind the counter argued with the customers ahead of me (who got out of their car as I did and put a beer bottle on the sidewalk) for a good 20 minutes about whether or not their order said mustard or mayonnaise. With the guy making the sandwich telling them the order said mustard and showing them the slip, for chrissake, and them telling him they ordered mayonnaise. I wanted to scream. I mean, all he had to do was just put the fucking mayonnaise on the damn sandwich. I stopped paying attention eventually I really had nothing to gain from getting involved. 

I wouldn’t have actually gotten involved, I’d just have screamed.

I got the meat and fled. When I got home I saw that it was half fat (sad face emoji) and called my regular butcher only to find out that they’d just sold their last one. So fine. I went to Whole Foods which was an end-of-days situation with people running hither and tither grabbing everything in sight and filling their shopping carts to overflowing with toilet paper (WHO FUCKING BUYS THEIR TOILET PAPER AT WHOLE FOODS!!!) and a lady rushed her full cart in front of me to get ahead of me in line. I had one item, a corned beef. I have to admit that I said, “Seriously?” out loud and she turned and saw what I had and let me go first. But still.

Anyway, I made the corned beef slow roasted in a cup of Guinness in the oven and finished it in the Instant Pot. Hands down, one million times better than Jake’s. Possibly one million and two times. 

The 1.5 pounds of corned beef at Jake’s cost $41.50. 

Add to that the styrofoam Jake’s came in and all the fat. Nope, not going back there again. Too bad. 

The festivities continue!

So I made some corned beef. The thing about corned beef and why there are so many different ways of cooking it is that it’s a completely forgiving piece of meat. Lots of people boil it. I braise it covered in a low oven for, oh, say, 2 hours, or maybe three. It makes no difference. When it’s done I pour off the liquid and chill the meat. It’s much easier to cut when it’s cold, I can trim the excess fat off the meat and once the braising liquid is chilled, I can pick the fat off and then cook the vegetables in the that.

When the vegetables are cooked I put the sliced meat into the liquid with the vegetables and heat the whole damn deal up.

You can boil it, as I’ve said, but it boils the spirit right out of it.