Dutch Oven Corned Beef boiled and baked in salted caramel whiskey is the best start you can give your Corned Beef and Cabbage Boiled Dinner. Slightly smokey, slightly sweet, and the right amount of saltiness will have you convinced that this is the best way to cook corned beef.
Purchasing corned beef
When purchasing corned beef you can buy the pre-packaged corned beef that has been brined in a salt-water solution with seasoning in tack, or create it from scratch. Note that the pre-packaged corned beef is not available all year long in some areas. Knowing how to do this from scratch to fulfill a summer-time hankering for a boiled dinner, will find you well prepared to feed a crowd.
Corned beef from scratch
When we say from scratch, we mean not pre-packaged with spices. For this you’ll need to create your own spice combination (see below) and purchase a beef brisket. Look for a brisket with a large amount of marbling or a thick layer of fat on the top or bottom.
What spices are in the corned beef packet
- Bay Leaves
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Anise Seeds
- Mustard Seeds
Find an easy and delicious recipe for homemade corned beef seasoning here.
How to make it your own
While I did use the seasoning packet that came with my beef brisket, I also took the opportunity to make it my own by adding a generous amount of cinnamon, two bay leaves, some salted caramel whiskey, and beef broth for extra flavor.
How to prep corned beef
Do you have to clean corned beef prior to cooking?
Yes and no. You do not have to rinse the corned beef. However, doing so will remove excess salt and clean it of the liquid it was packaged in. Personally, I give it a quick rinse with cold water and pat dry with papertowels before proceeding.
Can you cook from frozen?
If you purchased a corned beef last season, remove it from the freezer and allow it to de-thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then rest on the counter for about 1 hour to come to room temperature. This will help excess water and moisture to drain, as well as cook much more tenderly. You also NEVER want to put a frozen piece of meat into a hot piece of cast iron. Thermal shock is one way to ruin your cast iron forever.
How to cook corned beef
Once removed from the packaging, dry with paper towels, and place the brisket on a bed of wedged yellow onions. Use the seasoning packet provided to sprinkle liberally over the thick fat portion of the brisket. This will be the top of the brisket when adding to the dutch oven. As the brisket slow-cooks in the dutch oven, the fat ontop and the marbling will start to “melt” keeping the meat tender and juicy.
While most corned beef is boiled in water, this is one place I decided to take it to the next level. I had purchased this Salty Caramel Whiskey for a mudslide, and because I can’t say no to salted caramel, and upon smelling it I knew it needed to have a beef counterpart.
Alcohols such as bourbon, whiskey, and red wine provide a unique depth of flavor to red meats such as this beef brisket. The warm winter flavors of corned beef are then heightened with this unique salty caramel whiskey.
After pouring about a cup into the bottom of the dutch oven, around the brisket, I added an additional cup of beef broth. The brisket was then dusted generously with about 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon and topped with two bay leaves for easy removal.
To cook the brisket, place in a 350F oven uncovered for about 50 minutes per pound. The last hour of cooking you’ll add the ingredients to complete this boiled dinner and bake covered with tinfoil or the cover to your dutch oven if you can fit it.
Quick Tips for Corned Beef
Cooking Temperature: 325-350F as you want to bake this low and slow and allow the liquids to simmer.
Cooking Time per pound: 50-60 minutes per pound. A 3-4 pound brisket should take about 3-4 hours including any additional ingredients to make a boiled dinner.
Internal Temperature: 145F with an instant-read thermometer or until fork-tender.
What to do with corned beef
My favorite thing to make as a Mainer is a New England style boiled dinner complete with brown bread in a can. Leftovers are perfect for a rift on eggs benedict, or corned beef hash.
How to store leftovers
As with most meat, wrap in a layer of plastic wrap or tin foil tightly, or store in an airtight container. Leftover corned beef will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator, 5-7 if vacuum sealed. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 2 months.
What to serve with corned beef
Whether served by itself or as a complete boiled dinner, try these sides for a well-rounded meal:
Dutch Oven Whiskey Corned Beef
- 12-inch deep skillet or 7 quart dutch oven
- Cutting board
- Measuring Cups
- measuring spoons
- tinfoil or lid for dutch oven
- 2 yellow onions
- 4 pound corned beef brisket pre-packaged with seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup whiskey salty caramel
- 1 cup beef broth
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the brisket from the packaging and pat dry on all sides with a paper towel. Allow to sit on a plate, on the counter while prepping the onions.
- Remove the outer layer of the yellow onions and cut each into 8 wedges. Loosely spread in the bottom of the dutch oven. Place the corned beef fat side up on top of the onions. Use the seasoning packet provided to cover the fat evenly.
- Dust the cinnamon over the fat and place the two bay leaves on top of the brisket for easy removal before serving.
- Pour the whiskey and beef broth into the dutch oven next to the brisket, not over it. Bake uncovered approximately 1 hour per pound.
- When done, the internal temperature should be 145F and/or fork-tender, easily shreddable. If the internal temperature has reached 145F and you prefer to cut into "steaks" you can do that as well.