An easy corned beef an cabbage recipe made conveniently in your crock pot. Make this hearty festive meal for St. Patrick’s Day!
Did I ever tell you I thoroughly enjoy St. Patrick’s Day? I do. I’m a lover. I LOVE dark beer (Guinness has always been a favorite), and all-things meat and potatoes. I love colcannon, Irish soda bread, Shepherd’s pie, and I can always go for a Healthy Shamrock Shake. So regardless of the fact that St. Patrick’s Day is more of a thing here in the U.S. than it is in Ireland, and that we eat more corned beef and cabbage than the actual Irish do, I still can’t help but fancy it.
Each year, I tell myself, “This year’s going to be the year I corn my own beef for St. Patrick’s Day!” (usually stated in a Steve Urkel-like voice)…And sure enough, each year, I mosey up to the beef section, and before I can so much as glance at un-corned beef, I spot the pre-packaged corn beef, and my resolution goes out the window. I just can’t fight the convenience – the temptation to simply set it and forget it and all of a sudden POOF! Have delicious corned beef and cabbage ready for my consumption.
This year was no exception. At least not yet. I do still plan on brining up a hunk of beef for St. Patrick’s Day using Alton Brown’s recipe with some miner changes, but given the fact not many people choose to go through the lengthy process (brining is recommended for 7 to 10 days), I decided to show you my easy peasy, fool-proof method instead.
The way I see it, there are really only three steps to this recipe.
- Add everything but the cabbage to the crock pot (or slow cooker, if you will). Slow cook for 5 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low
2. Add the cabbage and continue cooking for 30 minutes to 1 hour (or to desired done-ness)
3. Cut the meat and serve with veggies.
You’ll notice when you pick up your corned beef from the grocery store, it comes with a spice packet. These spice packets tend to be a bit skimpy, so feel free to add some more juniper berries, allspice berries, and pepercorns (or any other spices you like). You may also have a couple of options in terms of the beef cut. My store had corned beef brisket and corned beef round roast. The brisket will have a hearty layer of fat, giving it more flavor than the round roast.
Beer selection? I like using Guinness for my corned beef and cabbage, but you can use an array of beers – I just recommend not using anything too hoppy (avoid IPA at all cost). You can use light beer (even a PBR or BudLight will work), amber, blonde, porter or stout. Obviously, if you follow a gluten-free diet, use your favorite gluten-free beer. Or simply omit the beer and replace it with additional broth.
Whenever I cook meat in the crock pot, I like to shred (or in this case, cut) it once it’s fully tender and then put it back in the crock pot to soak up more juices and flavor. I find this tactic to be particularly useful with corned beef, but if you’re in a hurry, no harm will come if you simply cut and serve.
A note about store-bought corned beef: most beef is brined using brown sugar (or some form of refined sugar), so unfortunately if you’re doing whole30 or paleo, you’ll need to brine your own meat, either omitting the sugar altogether or adding some pure maple syrup or coconut sugar. I like sourcing my corned beef from Whole Foods because they brine the meat in-house and use a quality source of beef.
Other adaptations? You can add whatever veggies you’d like to the crock pot. Many people use celery, and I was half-tempted to throw a turnip in there. You can also double up on the beer and omit the broth in this recipe. Choose your poison.
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Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage
- 1 4-5 pound corned beef brisket or round roast
- 1 small yellow onion sliced
- 4 large carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 16-ounce beer see note*
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth see note**
- 1 head savoy cabbage chopped into eighths
- juniper berries
- allspice berries
Place the corned beef in the bottom of your slow cooker (I recommend using a 5 quart or larger slow cooker). Add the contents of the spice pack that came with the corned beef, along with any additional spices if desired. Add the remaining ingredients except for the cabbage. Cover and cook on high heat for 5 hours or low heat for 8 to 10 hours.
30 minutes to 1 hour before serving, add the cabbage to the crock pot - gently push it down into the liquid as best you can. If there isn't room at first, no big deal - you can wait until the cabbage cooks down a little and then push it further into the liquid.
Remove the corned beef from the slow cooker and place it on a cutting board. You can either slice, shred, or chop it into chunks. If you have time, place the meat back into the slow cooker for at least 30 minutes so that it soaks up the juices
Serve the corned beef with the cooked vegetables and cabbage, and enjoy!
* You can use a wide variety of beers for this recipe, but I would recommend not using anything too hoppy like an IPA. Generally, porter, stout, blonde, or amber ale work great! If you're gluten-free, use a gluten-free beer like Omission. You can also replace the beer with more broth.
**You can replace the chicken broth with beef broth or another beer.