Best. Corned Beef. Ever.

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Next to my Mom, I make the best corned beef ever. Such braggadocio is unusual for me, but after years of rave reviews, from both the peanut gallery (my kids) and guests, the superiority of my corned beef cannot be ignored and my recipe (more of a method) must be shared.

I am not a fan of the “traditional” corned beef dinners served en masse to throngs of St. Patrick’s revelers throughout the month of March. The meat, unusually and unnaturally bright pink due to the high amount of sodium nitrate used during the commercial corning (brining) process, is boiled for hours and is customarily served with boiled potatoes and boiled cabbage. All that boiling yields a sloppy, uninspired mess on a plate. I do boil my corned beef, but what makes my recipe so tasty is that I bake it, too.

Like any great meal, the fresher the ingredients, the better the food. The Whole Foods Markets in our area (Jericho, Manhasset and Lake Grove) carry corned beef from Wellshire Farms in New Jersey. Wellshire’s beef is raised without antibiotics or hormones. Their brisket is minimally processed with no nitrate or added nitrites. The cooked meat is not pink; it is light brown and every bite tastes like St. Patrick’s Day.

Betsy’s Best Corned Beef
3-4 pound Wellshire Farms first cut brisket
½ cup whole grain mustard
½ cup dark brown sugar

Remove brisket from packaging (with the seasonings clinging to brisket), place in large pot and fill with water, 2 inches above brisket. Bring water to boil, cover and lower heat. Simmer for approximately 3 hours or until meat is tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from water and let excess liquid drain from brisket. Lightly spray shallow pan with non-stick cooking spray and place brisket in pan, fatty side down. Combine mustard and brown sugar in small bowl and coat top and sides of brisket with glaze. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.

A 3 to 4 pound brisket should serve 6 people. I generally prepare 2 at the same time and use leftover corned beef for hash or reuben sandwiches. No boiled potatoes or cabbage in our home; I serve corned beef with champ (mashed potatoes with scallions) and braised collard greens. Bainigí sult!