How to Make Corned Beef in the Oven
If you've never baked corned beef, you might want to give it a try. Some argue it turns out juicier and more flavorful than boiled corned beef.
Corned beef isn’t exactly a tradition that has a lot of variation: It usually turns out tasting the same year after year. Of course, we love that same-old flavor, so we don’t usually complain! We’ve still managed to have fun with it over the years, making corned beef brisket from scratch to reduce the salt content and smoking corned beef to give it a pastrami-like flavor. So why not try making a baked corned beef instead of a boiled one?
Cooking the corned beef in a tightly sealed roasting pan with water ensures the moisture gets trapped inside the brisket, resulting in one of the best corned beefs we’ve ever tried.
How Do You Cook Corned Beef in the Oven?
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Step 1: Blanch
Before you bake the corned beef, we recommend blanching it briefly in boiling water. Corned beef is cured in salt, and simmering it will help draw out some of that salty flavor. Start by rinsing the excess salt from the corned beef and placing it in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the meat and bring it to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to bubble vigorously, discard the water and pat the corned beef dry.
Step 2: Bake
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the corned beef fat-side up in a roasting pan with a rack or use an oven-safe rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. If you don’t have either, set the corned beef on top of a bed of chopped onions so it’s elevated from the pan. Feel free to rub the top of the corned beef with Dijon mustard and seasonings, or you can keep things simple and roast it as-is.
Add 1/2-inch water to the roasting pan and tightly wrap the pan with aluminum foil. Bake 2 to 3 hours (depending on the size of the brisket), until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 195°. Check the pan occasionally to ensure it still contains water.
Step 3: Add vegetables (optional)
To make an easy side dish, add potatoes, carrots and onions to the pan for the last hour, placing them below the rack with the corned beef. To complete the meal, serve the meat and vegetables with a side of fried cabbage.
Step 4: Broil (optional)
To create a crispy crust on the top of the brisket, remove the aluminum foil after the brisket reaches the desired temperature. Set the broiler on high and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crispy.
What Temperature Do You Cook Corned Beef in the Oven?
We like baking corned beef in a 350° oven. You can go as low as 275° (the temperature we recommend for smoked corned beef), but it will take an extra hour or two to finish.
How Long Do You Bake Corned Beef Per Pound?
As a general rule of thumb, corned beef takes about an hour per pound to bake. The best way to know for sure when your corned beef is finished is to use an instant-read meat thermometer. Probe the corned beef in the thickest part of the meat, and the alarm will go off when it’s finished.
We like 195° for a super-tender, flaky corned beef, but you can pull the meat when it reaches 180° if you prefer firm (but still tender) slices. Either way, let it rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing it against the grain and serving.
Should You Boil or Bake Corned Beef?
Really, it’s up to you. Both methods create a juicy, tender corned beef when done properly. Traditional corned beef recipes call for simmering corned beef in spiced water for about three hours. We like this method because the water creates a moisture barrier that keeps the beef from drying out, but it’s also easy to accidentally boil too vigorously, creating tough pockets in the meat.
Baked corned beef, on the other hand, requires a two-step process—blanching then baking—but the higher oven temperature also reduces the cooking time by about an hour. We also like having the option of broiling the cooked brisket at the end, developing an unforgettable crispy crust that’s hard to beat.
Bottom line: If you’re a traditionalist, go ahead and keep boiling away, but baked corned beef is definitely worth a try if you’ve never done it. Either way, you’ll end up with a ton of tasty leftovers!