Flavorful five-ingredient honey mustard baked corned beef recipe for St. Patrick’s Day! A sweet tangy glaze is brushed on top and sprinkled with brown sugar then the brisket is broiled in the oven to create a gorgeous crust.
When celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, most traditional recipes call for boiling corned beef and cabbage in a big pot. The problem with that method is it can yield tough, overcooked pieces if not carefully monitored. I invite you to switch things up and give this baked version a try, you won’t regret it!
If you haven’t tried baking corned beef you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the ease of preparation, minimal ingredients, and the fact that the meat is actually flavorful. The best part is right before serving, the brisket gets a generous honey mustard glaze that forms into a delicious crust.
What is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is either brisket or round, and they’re both tougher cuts of meat that benefit greatly from slow, moist-heat cooking. The beef is cured in a brine for several days in a solution of salt, sugar, pickling spices, and curing salt, like tinted cure mix, Insta-Cure #1, or Prague Powder 1 (a mixture of salt, sodium nitrite, and pink coloring).
Osmosis is the process that occurs during wet curing to equalize the concentration of the salt solution from the outside to the inside of the meat’s cell walls, which makes them more flavorful after the curing process. The salt physically moves with water from the outside of the membrane to the inside cell walls over time. This yields the characteristic brined and flavorful corned beef flavor that you love.
Preparing the meat
The beef does not need to be rinsed, just pat dry the surface with paper towels. Place on a rack set on top of a roasting pan so that it’s elevated from the bottom. This allows the heat to circulate around and helps the roast cook evenly.
Add a small amount of cold water to the pan to prevent burning. This also creates a moist environment that softens the connective tissues without being submerged in water. Loosely cover the brisket with aluminum foil before baking, this traps some of the steam. Make sure that the meat is fat-side up so that it flavors baste the beef as it cooks, just like a roasted chicken.
Season with these four ingredients
The brisket should already be cured, making it quite salty. So I don’t recommend adding extra salt and pepper, or the spice packet that comes with it when baking. The seasoning packet tends to deliver more flavor when added to a slow cooker or boiling liquid.
Instead, a combination of honey, whole grain mustard, and smooth dijon mustard is added in a thin layer on top of the meat, plus brown sugar before it bakes. A little bit of whole mustard seeds gives a subtle burst of spicy flavor.
Make a stunning crust
After the beef is cooked, the remaining honey mustard sauce is added on top, followed by a generous sprinkling of more brown sugar. The layer of sugar gets caramelized under the hot heating element of the broiler and creates a gorgeous golden-brown crust. It only takes a few minutes, so keep a close on the color.
Rest and then slice
Make sure to rest the corned beef on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This allows for carryover cooking and prevents the meat from losing juices and drying out. Slice the beef against the grain, it will be easy to identify because this cut has very coarse grains.
What I would serve with this
While the roast is baking, you can prepare some tasty sides. I would suggest serving this year’s feast with creamy cauliflower mashed potatoes and sauteed brussels sprouts. To complete your meal, bake a sweet Irish soda bread with cherry and almonds for a nice twist on the traditional recipe.
The target internal temperature
Using an instant-read thermometer, the beef is ready when the thickest part reaches 160ºF (71ºC) and is fork-tender. This recipe is for a two-pound roast cooked at 350ºF (177ºC), which takes about 75 minutes. Extend the cooking time for larger cuts, monitoring with a thermometer every 10 minutes.
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Baked Honey Mustard Corned Beef
- 2 pounds corned beef
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 5 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 350°F (177ºC).
- Remove the corned beef from the package, discarding the spice packet.
- Dry the meat with paper towels, and then place fat-side up on a wire rack set on top of a roasting pan.
- Add about 1-inch of water to the bottom of the pan, this will prevent the juices from burning while cooking.
- Combine the whole grain mustard, Dijon mustard, and honey. Evenly spread 3 tablespoons (about half) of the mixture on top of the meat.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar over the top of the roast.
- Loosely cover the meat and pan completely with foil.
- Bake the corned beef until tender and the internal temperature reaches 160ºF (71ºC), about 75 minutes. Add more time as needed to fully cook.
- Carefully remove the pan from the oven and transfer the corned beef to a baking sheet lined with foil.
- Preheat oven to broil.
- Top the corned beef with the remaining mustard mixture, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
- Cook until the top becomes golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove beef from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board. Slice against the grain and serve hot.
- Check the water level in the pan every hour, add more as needed so the juices don't burn on the bottom of the pan.
- Serving Size: 4 ounces or sliced corned beef
- 6 tablespoons of pre-mixed whole grain Dijon mustard can be substituted for the individual ingredients.
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