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Cook Talk

St. Patrick's Day/Corned Beef Dinner Question
Carol
02/09/14
Hi Ellen,
I'm cooking a corned beef and cabbage dinner for 120 next month, and I'd like to know how many lbs can be cooked together in each 20 qt stock pot. Also, assuming that each pot will have multiple pieces, each cut no larger than 3-5 lbs, how much longer is the cooking time than for a single piece of that size?
Thanks so much,
Carol
ellen
02/09/14
CONGRATULATIONS! You win the prize for first corned beef question of 2014.

As you know, brisket shapes and sizes are quite varied, so the first thing you must do, is to buy the pieces in groups of the approximate same shape and weight for each group. If there is much difference, the small ones will shred before the larger ones are tender enough to slice.

Oven or roaster roasting is a viable alternative to stock pots. Cooking in the oven, meat done a day or more ahead, chilled, sliced and reheated, is actually the easy way to do a big corned beef dinner.
Here is a compilation of many corned beef threads:

Basic guide:

www.ellenskitchen.com/forum/messages/8118.html

Here is a reliable selection of tested baked or oven roasted corned beef recipes:

www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,baked_corned_beef_brisket,FF.html

Electric roasters:

www.chefsline.com/blog/quick-tips/making-corned-beef-in-a-roaster/

Roaster slow cook is a great method for corn beef, double the cooking time and cook at 250. For three pieces, figure the cooking time on the smallest and add 1/2 hour. Keep the lid on- peeking lowers the temp enough that it increases the cooking time.

Corned beef is best when cooking slowly and with some moisture, more or less braising. Limit the number of times you open your roaster because heat will quickly escape. In an electric roaster, cook the corned beef brisket at 350 degrees; a large roast (6-7 pounds) will take about 5 hours. The cook time for the brisket will depend on your roaster and how often you open the door/lid.

The corned beef is finished when it reaches an internal temperature, measured with a meat thermometer, of at least 145 degrees minimum but it will taste best when 160 degrees and fork-tender.

Preheat roaster oven for 15-20 minutes before adding the meat.

Braising Liquid
Join foil strips, using a butcher wrap to seal the joins, make a piece that will line the whole roaster and wrap completely around the roast and future vegetables.
Place your brisket, fat side up, on overlapping sheets of aluminum foil. Place in roaster pan, then add enough liquid to cover 3/4-1 inch of the way up the roast, about 2 cups. For your liquid, use water, apple cider, apple juice, water with cider vinegar, wine, etc.; it really depends on what you like. Add some orange peels (white pith removed), whole cloves, and 2-3 whole bay leaves, or the spice packet that comes with the roast. Wrap roast by folding top edges together (so you can peak inside to see the roast easily).

After 4 hours when itís around 140 degrees, drain most of the liquid into a pan- a turkey baster works well for this. Take out the meat, using forks or gloves, and set aside. Place small or quartered potatoes, large chunks of carrots, turnips or other root vegetables, onions if desired on the aluminum foil. Put the corned beef on top of the vegetables, fold the foil back over, and return all back to oven for about 40 minutes. Layer cabbage pieces or wedges all over the top, cover, cook 20-30 minutes until cabbage is tender.

If baking:
Here is the basic baked info:

4-6 pound pieces: Soak in fresh water to desalt, 1/2 hour or longer. Use heavy foil, place beef in the middle, add 1/2 cup fresh water, few slices onion, celery, carrot. Seal with butchers fold, so package is water tight. Bake in a slow oven (300 degrees F.) 4 hours. Cool slightly, unwrap and put in shallow pan. Spread with brown sugar mixed with mustard. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F.) 20 minutes or until glazed.

You simmer or roast the veggies separately, don't overcook the cabbage!

Reheating
I cover it tightly, small amount of cooking water in the pan, stick it in the preheated oven at 350 or higher, about 2 inches of meat per pan. Temp should be 180 in the middle when it is taken out to serve (about 1/2 hour).

Here are some other corned beef threads:

www.ellenskitchen.com/forum/messages/40926.html

www.ellenskitchen.com/forum/messages/40857.html

How many fit in one pot really depends on the shape of the pieces, but basically about 20 pounds.

ellen
02/09/14
And erin go bragh to you, too.
Carol
02/09/14
Hi Ellen,
If we wanted to use the 'New England Boiled Dinner' method rather than oven roasting, do you still about 20 lbs per 20 qt stock pot? We would still cook the meat a day ahead, then chill, slice and reheat as you've described. So assuming that each pot will have up to 20 lbs with each cut 3-5 lbs, how much longer is the cooking time for all 5-6 pieces than for a single piece of that size?
Thanks so much,
Carol
ellen
02/10/14
There is barely any increase in cooking time, maybe a half hour, as long as all the pieces are the same size, the water is brought to temp before you start counting the time, and the pots are not jammed, but are covered.

Of course, you cook the veggies day of, preferably in the salty simmering broth.

Susan
03/19/15
Is making Colecannon to much of a hassle for our corned beef dinner go 80 people?
ellen
03/19/15
Hmm, posted 3 times, see the other one.
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