Are you looking for a delicious Irish feast for St. Patrick’s Day? Try my slow cooker corned beef and cabbage with Guinness mustard sauce! The beef brisket cooks low and slow in a Crock-Pot with hearty root vegetables until everything is tender and flavorful.
Table of Contents
- What exactly is corned beef?
- The best cut to purchase
- Trim the fat to prevent a greasy liquid
- Use the prepackaged seasoning packet
- How to cook corned beef in a slow cooker
- Cook the cabbage towards the end
- Checking for doneness
- This flavorful sauce is a must!
- Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe
It must be the luck of the Irish that you found this recipe! Cooking corned beef in a slow cooker is ideal for yielding tender slices of meat and perfectly cooked vegetables. The consistent moist heat in the enclosed vessel ensures that this tough cut of beef gets braised gently.
A hearty combination of root vegetables simmers along with the corned beef, making it a complete meal to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. To enhance the dish, Guinness mustard is spread on top of the roast then it’s broiled right before serving to create a flavorful crust. Yes, the words flavorful and Irish food can coexist! 🙂
What exactly is corned beef?
Corning is another way to describe curing meat in a salted brine for some time. The beef brisket comes from the cow’s lower chest area, which is rich in fat and connective tissue. It’s typically brined for about a week so that the salty flavors intensify and the meat is better preserved.
The salt-cured beef is sometimes reddish when you buy it from the store due to pink curing salt #1. Sodium nitrite is used to kill harmful bacteria during the curing process. It’s best to braise this tough cut of beef to gelatinize and tenderize the muscles.
The best cut to purchase
The brisket is often portioned into the flat cut and point cut. The flat cut is what’s often prepackaged at the market. It’s leaner and has a more consistent width which makes it easier to slice. The point cut is thicker with a tapering end with more marbling and tends to cook up more tender and juicy. An excellent selection if curing the brisket at home.
Trim the fat to prevent a greasy liquid
There’s typically a large fat cap left on the brisket during the curing process. Trim most of it off, leaving about a 1/8-inch layer on top, or remove it completely. Too much fat when braising will make the liquid greasy.
Use the prepackaged seasoning packet
For convenience, I use the pickling spice packet that comes with the brisket. It adds intense aromatics to the cooking liquid and infuses more flavor into the meat. It’s typically made up of black peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander, dill, celery seeds, bay leaves, and sometimes red pepper flakes.
How to cook corned beef in a slow cooker
Place the corned beef first in the slow cooker. This ensures it will be submerged in the liquid. Add the potatoes, colorful carrots, celery, onion, and bay leaves along the sides and on top of the beef.
Make sure to cut the vegetables into larger pieces to account for the long cooking time, as they tend to shrink. Sprinkle the spice packet over the ingredients and then pour in the beef broth. Cover and cook until the meat and vegetables are fork-tender.
For a 2-to-3-pound corned beef brisket, cook on high for 4-to-5 hours or low for 8-to-9 hours. And that’s before adding in the cabbage. The meat will still appear pinkish when fully cooked.
Cook the cabbage towards the end
Soggy, mushy cabbage happens when simmering too long in the broth. To avoid this, cut the cabbage into 2-inch wedges. Add the cabbage on top of the beef towards the last hour of cooking. This yields sweet, steamed leaves that still hold their shape and texture.
Checking for doneness
To test for doneness, pierce the thickest part of the beef with a fork. It should slide in and release easily. Slice a piece of meat off and take a bite. Overly chewy pieces are signs of the meat being undercooked, whereas stringy beef is overcooked. Make sure to slice against the grain.
This flavorful sauce is a must!
For a tangy and sweet sauce with a hint of bitterness, combine coarse-ground mustard, honey, and Guinness beer or any stout. After the Crock-Pot corned beef is done cooking, slather on the mustard sauce and serve. However, I recommend broiling the roast in the oven for a few minutes to create a nice crust that clings to the surface. Save the extra sauce to serve on the side for dipping.
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Can you overcook corned beef in a slow cooker?
Yes! As you get closer to the end of your cooking time, check visually to see if it looks dried out and taste it for tenderness. A safe internal temperature for eating is 145ºF (63ºC), although manufacturers typically recommend 160ºF (71ºC) for better texture. Avoid slicing it open too many times as you want to retain the juices inside the meat.
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Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 2 pounds corned beef brisket, plus pickling spice packet
- 1 cup celery, 3" pieces
- 2 cups carrots, 2" pieces
- 1 small yellow onion, 1" wedges
- 1 pound red potatoes, halved
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 small cabbage, 2" wedges, about 8 pieces
- 4 cups beef broth
- ¾ cup dijon mustard, coarse ground
- 2 tablespoons guinness beer
- ¼ cup honey
- Prepare the Corned Beef – Trim most of the visible fat off of the corned beef, leaving about a ⅛ inch layer on top, or remove completely. Place it in a 6-quart slow cooker, fat side up. Sprinkle with pickling spice.
- Add the Vegetables – Add the celery, carrots, onion, potatoes, garlic, and bay leaves along the sides and remaining on top. Add beef broth to the pot.
- Slow Cook – Cover and cook until the corned beef and vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 hours on high or 8 to 9 hours on low setting.
- Add the Cabbage – Arrange cabbage on top of the corned beef, cover, and continue to cook until cabbage is tender, 30 to 60 minutes on high.
- Make the Mustard Sauce – In a small bowl, mix together mustard, beer, and honey. Cover and refrigerate.
- Check for Doneness – The meat is done when a fork can easily pierce into the meat, and the internal temperature reaches at least 160ºF (71ºC). Remove the beef from the pot, and trim off any excess fat if desired. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Glaze with Sauce – Spread a thin layer of mustard sauce on top of the corned beef. Optional: For a browned crust, broil in the oven about 6 inches away from the top heating element, until the mustard is lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- To Serve – Slice corned beef against the grain and serve with vegetables and extra mustard sauce.
- Alcohol Alternative: Substitute apple juice for Guinness beer.
- Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Cover and microwave on high setting in 30-second increments until hot.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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