Corned beef is a delightful meal when properly prepared, but there are dangers of overcooking it if you are not careful. You don’t want to find yourself trying to prepare the perfect corned beef meal only to discover that you have made something that people are unable to enjoy because you have overcooked it. Thus, you need to make sure you know the strategies for preparing corned beef more effectively, and we have those answers for you.
Corned Beef Can Be Served In A Variety Of Ways, But Things Can Still Go Wrong
There are times when people get lured into thinking that because corned beef can be served in many ways that it cannot possibly be done wrong, but that assumption is wildly incorrect. We’ve written before that corned beef is a very flexible type of meat…but can still run into issues.
Even though people around the world love to eat it many different ways, no one claims that they want to eat an overcooked version of it. When the meat is overcooked, the flavor contained within gets zapped as well.
Thus, your first step to preparing better corned beef is to free yourself from the mentality that you cannot possibly get it wrong. You can, and the risk is something to be taken seriously. With that out of the way, we will now go into the ways that it can be prepared even better.
Choose Your Cooking Method
Are you going to cook the corned beef in the oven (a common choice), make it on a skillet, or even place it in a slow cooker? You have the option to select any one of these choices.
Most people ultimately settle on one method or another based on the tools that are available to them. They may or may not own a skillet or slow cooker, but most people at least have an oven that they can stick it into.
Advantage Of Cooking It In An Oven
Many say that cooking corned beef in your oven is the way that you want to go about this regardless. They claim that it is the best thing to do because they say that cooking it in the oven helps retain as much of the flavor as possible, and they believe that cooking it via a slow cooker or through some other means risks having some of the delicious juices dry up or drip away from the corned beef.
If you do decide to cook your corned beef in the oven, you should prepare any side dishes that you intend to go with it (such as vegetables) separately. A few sides that go great with corned beef include:
- Mashed potatoes
Obviously, you could dry out those side dishes far too much if you cooked them alongside the corned beef at the same time. They need to be treated as separate entities because they are. Take a few moments to prepare them separately, and you should be just fine. Try to cook everything at the same time, and you have a disaster of a meal on your hands.
Keep The Temperature Low
When cooking in an oven, or cooking via any other method, you are best served by keeping the temperature set at a low setting. Cranking the temperature up to new heights might seem like a good idea in the moment, but the problem with this is that you end up drying everything out before you ever have the chance to enjoy it.
People make this mistake because they try to get everything cooked more quickly so that they may enjoy it sooner. However, a high heat setting zaps the flavor of the corned beef out more quickly.
High Heat Keeps The Meat Tougher
A slow heat is great at working out the various tissues that make up the meat. High heat often solidifies the connections between those tissues and makes the meat harder to eat. That is the experience of having your corned beef overcooked, and you will immediately notice how challenging it is to enjoy when it is cooked like that.
You cannot take a chance on serving something like this without getting a reputation as being someone who overcooks the dishes that they serve. No one wants to become that person, and that is why learning how to prepare corned beef in a way that doesn’t make the corned beef tough is so important.
Which Temperature Should I Set My Oven At?
You need to make sure you keep your oven temperature set between 225 to 250 degrees when cooking your corned beef for the best results.
This is a low setting that will cause the beef to take a great deal of time to cook, but that is done intentionally.
You cannot set it higher without running the risk of overcooking the corned beef that you have put in there. People are often impatient and just want to see results from what they are cooking. However, there is a lot of danger to setting the oven any higher than that.
Salvaging Overcooked Corned Beef
There is potential to bring back overcooked corned beef from the dead so to speak. You don’t have to throw it out if you don’t want to. Just pre-heat your oven at 250 degrees for about 15 minutes and then take the following steps:
- Tightly wrap the meat in tin foil
- Add some liquid such as water to the pan
- Cook the meat in the tin foil with water in the oven for about 30 minutes
- Some of that liquid will be reabsorbed into the meat and make it moist again
To be fair, this is not going to make the corned beef taste nearly as good as if you had not overcooked it in the first place, but at least you will be able to save the meat that you have already prepared. There is no point in throwing it all out when you can save at least some of it from ending up in the trash.
Think about your options, and make sure you take the steps you need to in order to save the meat from ending up in the garbage can. Corned beef is too good to waste like that.