How to Cut Corned Beef

Regardless of the fact that corned beef needs to be cut with special care, everyone can master the craft with practice. Without the exact knowledge of chopping it properly, any recipe with it could get messed up. 

Focus on chopping against the grain to avoid stringy slices. That’s the secret to a perfect corned beef meal. Impress your guests with the magic of your hands by turning the table full of toothsome corned beef. You cannot imagine how a simple cutting technique can make a huge difference.

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With all the details of cutting corned beef, find a thorough guideline below and enjoy your meal to the fullest.

How to Cut Corned Beef – Easy 5 Steps

Collaboration of corned beef with cabbage or boiled potatoes is always mouthwatering. Coming from the cow muscles, it consists of innumerable fibers. So, slicing corned beef needs special skills. By following the steps below, hopefully, you too will be decorating your dining with tender slices of beef. 

Place the Meat Properly

Before making a perfect cut, perfect placement is important. Make sure you have placed the meat correctly. After cooking corned beef, place them on the cutting board crosswise. The larger the board, the better it is. Remember, the fibers should situate at an angle to your body, not straight.

Trim the Fat Away

Beef is a rich food full of fat, no doubt. So try to get rid of the fat as much as possible. But you need to do it before cutting the corned beef. Once you cut them, it would be difficult to trim the fat away from each of the slices. 

So, I suggest using a sharp knife to cut the fat away from the edges. A meat fork would be of great help to keep the meat pressed in place. Then pass the knife under the fat layer and cut horizontally.

But don’t trim all the fat. Leave some on the meat to make the dish more flavorful.

Slice the Corned Beef Against the Grain 

You have already heard it, right? But how to cut the corned beef against the grain? What does it actually mean? 

After cutting away the fat portion, set the meat on the table keeping the fat side down. Then carefully notice the meat to figure out the muscle fibers. 

They are like long lines running through the meat. If you cut according to those parallel lines, the slices will be long and fibrous. Of course, too tough to chew as well. 

The best way is to cut them against the grain for a delicious dish. Run the knife straight to the grain muscles, not parallel to them. This is an effective way to stamp your guests with soft and non-stringy corned beef. If you cut with the grains, it will just ruin the softness.

To check which way the muscle fibers are oriented, use your eye power. If you fail to do so, test it by cutting a small piece. If the meat chunk is too tough and inflexible, change the knife direction to 90°. Hope it will help.

Cut from the Leaner End

Have you ever operated a saw? Wondering why? Because you will be doing the same in this case. Pin the meat with a fork and run a sharp knife through the corned beef just like a saw- back and forth. 

Always start cutting from the corner of a lean and thin end. It would be easier.  You can also divide a big piece into two. 

Slice as Thinly as Possible

What would make a delectable and delicious feeding- a thick fibrous slice or a thin and tender slice? What do you think? The latter, right? Then cut the corned beef as thinly as possible. It is another way to shorten the long muscle fibers. Not only would it be more tender but also tempting.

So, how thick should the slices be? I found 0.32 cm is the perfect thickness to make the meal more appetizing. In inches, you need to make it about ⅛ or ¼ inches. 

But for your information, you need not be a perfectionist in this case. As long as you cut against the grain, a thick slice of corned beef could also be flavorsome if cooked properly.

Cutting The Saltiness From Your Corned Beef

Corned beef is salty being cured in large salt chunks. So, it would be salty even when cooked. But how to remove this extra salt and make the meal less salty?

To fix this issue, I use several methods. The easiest of all is to rinse the meat in running water. After doing this for a few minutes, I let the meat dry on a paper towel. Soaking meat in the water or the milk overnight before cooking is also a good idea. 

Adding sugar sometimes helps. But don’t overdo it. Add some sugar to your corned beef while cooking it to get rid of the saltiness. Another interesting method that I follow is to add some other components- preferably vegetables to lessen the overall salty flavor of the entire dish.

For a spicy recipe, I often add more spices to cut the salinity. Mustard, in this regard, is a popular choice. You can try it too. Also, simmering the meat slices into sauces will reduce the saltiness as well.

What to Do Before Cutting Corned Beef

To make the corned beef mild and malleable, proper cutting does matter. At the same time, I follow some pre-cooking steps to make the cut more appropriate. If you do the same, whether you are an absolute beginner or a pro in corned beef recipes, you will do wonders in the kitchen. Below,  I have listed the steps to follow before putting the meat on the stove.

Cleaning Thoroughly 

We often skip the cleaning part, mistaking that it might take away the flavor. But cleaning the corned beef before cooking is immensely essential to get rid of excessive salt. 

As corned beef is pickled with salt grains, only rinsing thoroughly could take the salty flavor. Be the meat is packaged or cured at home, never forget to clean with cool water. Remember, the rinsing process needs several repetitions. 

Cooking on Low Temperature

No matter what your recipe is, no matter how you cook- on a stove or in an oven, corned beef needs long cooking hours. Do not ruin the taste by cooking over high heat.  

The standard temperature is 74°C or 165°F. I will suggest using a thermometer to maintain the flame. Otherwise, either it would be overcooked or undercooked. 

In both cases, you will be struggling to make a perfect cut of corned beef against the grain. Please remember that you must cook the beef at least at 145°F (63°C) temperature before cutting it. Also, it is notable to mention that cooking corned beef needs several hours to make it juicy and palatable.

Leaving the Meat for Rest

Do not rush. Once you are done with cooking, leave the beef on the board wrapping them with foil papers. You should not leave them over the stove as it would lead to overcooking. 

A minimum of 10-15 minutes is required for the meat to rest. Meanwhile, they will absorb the moisture. You can utilize this spare time by preparing other side dishes. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Cutting Corned Beef

Now I will talk about some silly mistakes in this whole process of shaping the corned beef. I especially used to do these in the beginning. No worries if you do the same. Mistakes are made to be corrected, aren’t they? 

Let’s look forward to the major mistakes we need to avoid in cutting corned beef. 

  • Using Dull Knife

A long and sharp knife would carve the corned beef best. So, be sure yours is sharp enough. A flat and dull knife will not cut the meat. Rather it will produce some uneven chunks by tearing the beef apart. 

I often sharpen my meat carving knife and always clean it after every use. This makes excellent slices when I cut my properly cooked corned beef.

  • Cutting Before Cooking

Do not try to cut the meat before you cook it. Corned beef comes from the brisket which makes them fibrous. Until you tenderize the beef by cooking slowly, you will not be able to smoothly move the knife through it. Also, make sure the meat is not undercooked. In that case, it will lose all the moisture and will taste dry and juiceless.

  • Mistaking the Grill Lines as Muscle Fibers

Sometimes, you might mistake the grill lines to be the grain lines when you grill the beef. But examine carefully to find out the actual muscle fibers and run the knife against them.

  • Cooking in a Hurry

You have to be patient while cooking corned beef. The high flame would not be of much help in this regard. To tenderize the beef, low flame for long hours is appreciated. 

Nobody wants a laborious chewing experience while having corned beef. For that, a slow roasting overflow flame is much needed. 

Corned Beef – The Best Cut

Usually, corned beef is made with the brisket of a cow, the meatiest part.  Considering the meatiness, the whole brisket can be used for corned beef. But to be more exact, you have an option to choose from the two types of cut- point, and flat. 

A pointcut is much thicker in texture with a point at the end.  Being too fatty,  it is not perfect for corned beef. The flat cut, on the other hand, is the most popular for making corned beef. It has less fat yet enough to retain the moisture of the meat.

You can either choose the whole brisket or you can go for the two cuts separately. But for flawless slices, the flat cut would be the best for its lean texture. The rectangular shape will turn into fine pieces when you are making corned beef. 

So, always opt for brisket- particularly in flat cut to turn it into wonderful slices of corned beef.

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