Happy St Patrick's Day 2009!
This year I wanted to cook corned beef differently.
On busy days, I've cooked corned beef in a slow cooker.
For last year's St. Patrick's Day, I boiled corned beef.
I've, also, baked corned beef low and slow..
After watching a show how some popular delis cook their corned beef and pastrami, I was inspired to steam corned beef for 2009.
Why the different cooking methods? Just to see the end result and whether one method is far better than another.
What you need:
1 Corned Beef, rinsed
1 bottle of Guinness (optional)
Pickling spice from the corned beef
Some type of steamer
My steaming setup:
1 Wok with a lid
1 improvised bamboo chopstick rack
1 heavy duty pie pan - with drilled holes
Add the pickling spices from the corned beef, 1 bottle of Guinness and water to raise the level to the chopsticks.
Bring the water to a boil with the inverted pie tin in place.
Carefully, place the beef, with the fat cap up, on the pie tin.
Turn down heat so the water remains at a boil.
Steam for 2 to 2.5 hours.
Remember to check water levels during this period.
After cooking, allow the beef to rest.
Served with steamed cabbage, carrots and onions.
The texture was firm, yet tender.
Review of cooking methods:
1/ Crock Pot - Great for work days when nobody is around. The meat can be a little too cooked resulting in "falling apart" slices.
2/ Boiling/Simmering - The meat is in direct contact with the cooking liquids where you can add as much flavoring as you like. Meat consistency depends upon how long you look.
3/ Slow Roasting - For brisket, being a tougher cut of beef, I used a barbecue technique of cooking at low temps (below 250F) for a long time (more than 4 hours), aka "low and slow".
4/ Steaming - Steam is a wet cooking method where moisture is convected around the meat. Flavoring can be mild since the meat isn't sitting in the cooking liquid.
5/ Roasting - I haven't tried this method where the meat is roasted at temps above 300F. Mainly, due to the fact, roasting goes against conventional wisdom about cooking brisket. High heats, low moisture and short cooking times don't allow the collagen in the brisket to breakdown and gelatinize. However, I will try roasting just to see what the end results will be.