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What Would You Like to Sous Vide?
Perfectly Juicy Sous Vide Corned Beef Brisket Recipe and How to Guide
There are several options when sous viding corned beef. For steak-like I usually do between 131°F and 140°F (55°C and 60°C) for 2 to 3 days or 150°F (65°C) for a "perfect traditional" corned beef. But if you want something along the lines of traditional results you can cook it at any of the braise-like temperatures for a few days.
Every year, I look forward to St. Patrick's Day. Maybe that's just because I'm a big fan of Green Bud Light. Now don't judge me, but I know it's also because I get to eat a ton of corned beef. And in my opinion, the best way to cook corned beef is to sous vide it.
I'm going to dive into everything you need to know and tell you why.
So there are a lot of different ways you can cook corned beef. But to me, using the sous vide method is one of the easiest and it gives you the most consistent results every time that you use it.
What is Corned Beef?
If you don't know what corned beef really is, it's basically when you take a sous vide brisket, either a brisket flat or a brisket point, and you cure it, you put it in a brine for 5 to 7 days and then it's ready to cook.
It gets this nice pink color, and it has a nice texture and flavor to it that's pretty unique and different from a normally cooked brisket.
It's one of my favorite things, and it's used in a lot of American-Italian dishes. Reubens are one of my favorite things to eat corned beef in. I could eat Reubens all day long, pretty much every day and here is my favorite sous vide reuben recipe.
Why Sous Vide Corned Beef?
A lot of people ask, "Why would you sous vide corned beef? What's the point of doing that compared to cooking it as a braise, or some of the other methods that you can make corned beef?"
To me, it's all about consistency and accuracy. With sous vide, you can get the exact texture you want from corned beef, and you can also achieve a few that you can't get during normal traditional cooking methods.
Sous Vide Corned Beef Can Be Done At Lower Temperatures
For example, corned beef cooked at 131°F is amazing. You just can't get that if you're doing a braise because you're raising the temperature so high. But at 131°F, you have this tender, really juicy, moist corned beef. It's amazing on sandwiches or with corned beef and cabbage.
You can also go more traditional. I like 152°F for a more traditional corned beef. It's starting to flake apart, the connective tissue is breaking down, but it still has a lot more juice and moisture to it than using a traditional method.
And if you really just want a traditional corned beef, then 165°F or even 176°F is going to be that kind of falling apart, not maintaining much structure. All the juices have been squeezed out into a flavorful sauce like you would normally get when you traditionally braise a corned beef.
How To Cure Your Own Corned Beef
When it comes to making corned beef. You can either just buy some at the grocery store that's pre-cured, or you can buy a brisket and cure your own. It's actually a pretty easy process if it's something you're interested in.
It does take a week to cure it, but it's only time that's sitting in the fridge, it's not any active time. So if you're interested, I have a great article and video about how to cure your own corned beef at home. You can use the flat cut or point cut.
But buying it from the grocery store is not a bad way to go, especially if you stick with a few different brands that are a little more high quality. You can look at the ingredients list and see which ones are not adding a lot of preservatives to it.
Best Time and Temperature for Sous Vide Corned Beef
So what is the perfect time and temperature for sous vide corned beef? Well, there's no correct answer, but there's two I really like.
Best Temperature For Sous Vide Corned Beef With Steak-like Texture
One is 135°F for 1 to 2 days. This is going to be more steak-like it's going to be juicier than a traditional corned beef, and it's going to be amazingly flavorful.
It's definitely worth trying, and it comes out with a lot firmer texture than a lot of corned beef does. I really like it for corned beef and cabbage, and thin cut for Reubens. I think it's just amazing.
Begin Traditional Texture For Sous Vide Corned Beef
The other one I really like is 152°F, again for 1 to 2 days. At that temperature, you're starting to break down some of the connective tissue. It's going to start tasting more traditionally braised.
And I really like this again with sous vide corned beef and cabbage, but also for thick cut Reubens because it's going to come apart, when you bite it. You're going to have to chew on it at all. And it has just a great texture that I think translates to a lot of different dishes.
More Traditional-like Texture For Sous Vide Corned Beef
As I said, some people like a more traditional texture, and if you go up to 165°F, it's really going to be breaking apart the connective tissue and is going to be a lot more similar to a traditional texture. So, a lot of people like that. It's usually about 1 to 2 days still, but more on the shorter side in most cases because it's at a higher temperature.
Traditional Corned Beef Texture From Sous Vide
If you really want traditional, then 176°F for 12 to 24 hours is a go to for really breaking down everything. It's going to be fork tender. You can just eat it with the fork and don't need a knife.
I prefer the lower temperatures because the hotter it gets the more it dries out.
It's great for a lot of different preparations, if you're looking for that traditional texture. So now you know how hot and how long to sous vide your corned beef.
Detailed How to Sous Vide Corned Beef Process
Let's dive into what the sous vide process actually looks like. And to help with this, I'm going to link up my favorite easy sous vide corned beef master recipe. It makes it easy to perfectly cook your corned beef every single time, at the exact temperature and texture that you want.
Then you can apply it to any normal corned beef recipe that you've grown up eating or that you want to try. There's a lot on the internet that you can find that's not sous vide, so find some of those.
You can use my master recipe to cook the corned beef perfectly. Then you can put it into their recipes and enjoy the other sides and accompaniments without having overcooked, dry corned beef.
Step 1: How to Prep Sous Vide Corned Beef
So first, you want to prep the corned beef. Now, if you're curing your own corned beef, that would involve the entire curing process of making the brine and let it brine for a week or so. Then drying it off and getting ready to cook it.
If you buy it from the store, you can usually just take it out of the package and it's probably going to be ready to go. There's not a lot of excess fat and connective tissue on most briskets when they have been prepared for corned beef. But if there is some, you can remove any of that kind of tough connective tissue on the outside.
One of the other things to keep in mind is the majority of corned beef is brined with a lot of salt, so a lot of it's pretty salty.
Traditionally you would put it in a lot of water, and then you would either boil it or braise it in the oven. That water pulls out a lot of the salt content, leaving the meat still pretty well seasoned.
But with sous vide, you're not cooking it in a lot of water usually, so it can taste salty. One thing I like to do is put the brisket into some kind of big container of water for a few hours, if not overnight. That'll help draw out some of the salt content.
This will allow you to enjoy eating the finished product when it's all done. Otherwise it can be pretty salty depending on the preparation of your final dish.
Step 2: How to Seal Sous Vide Corned Beef
When you seal it for sous vide, I like to add the spice packet if one came with the store-bought one, or I'll add another layer of spices if I cured it myself. However, I'll leave the salt out because it's already going to be salty enough.
Re-adding some of those classic corned beef spices to it is a good way to ramp up that flavor, especially if you had to let it soak for a bit.
So you take your cured spice packet, coated corned beef and you put it in a sous vide bag and seal it.
You can use any type of sous vide bag that's heat safe and food safe. A Ziploc brand Freezer bag works well for sous vide for some of the lower cooked temperatures. But this is cooked for a longer time, so I would usually double bag if I'm using a Ziploc bag and I prefer using a vacuum bag.
If you're doing a large corned beef, there's nothing wrong with cutting it up into portions. It's rare to serve an entire one on the table together. So cutting it up into sizes that are more manageable for the sealing process it is a good way to go.
Cutting it into smaller portions is not going to change the cook time any because the thickness of the brisket doesn't change. However, it will make it easier to find bags that fit and to fit them all into your your sous vide bath.
Then, set the immersion circulator to the desired temperature that you picked. Like I said, I like 135°F or 152°F but other people may prefer to go higher, depending on what you're trying to achieve. I also go a lot deeper into how to determine sous vide temperatures.
Place the sous vide bag in the water bath and let it go. You don't have to worry about the machine coming up to temperature first. It's a long cook time so you don't have to let it preheat.
But when you put it in the water, it is important to make sure all the meat is below the surface of the water. If anything sticks up, it will foster bacterial growth and it can become an unsafe situation.
I like to use sous vide magnets to help ensure the bag stays below. They just kind of simplify the process of keeping the bags where you want in the water bath.
Step 4: How Long to Cook Sous Vide Corned Beef
You then just let it cook for as long as you need it to cook for. Like I said, 1 to 2 days is generally the sweet spot for a lot of corned beef and brisket cook times.
And then once it's cooked and fully tenderized, remove it from the hot water bath.
Step 5: Finish the Sous Vide Corned Beef
At this point, there's kind of 2 schools of thought. Some people like to serve it as is right away, and if it's for the 135°F range, I like to serve it right away, too. I don't see as much benefit to letting it sit.
But, if you're up in the 151°F., 165°F, or 176°F range, then letting it cool off completely in its own juices and sit overnight is something that a lot of people feel adds a lot of flavor to the meat.
And if you do that, just let it sit on the counter for 10 or 15 minutes. Then throw it in an ice water bath to bring the core temperature down as quickly as possible before putting it into the refrigerator.
And if you used a vacuum sealer, it's going to then last in your fridge for 1 to 2 weeks. So you can do this ahead of time and put together a lot of meals last minute that are going to be really flavorful and tasty.
When you reheat it, just reheat it to a lower temperature than you originally sous vided it at.
I feel most corned beef dishes don't have a sear on it. Traditionally, this is a braised dish, and many times it's a boiled dish. With the sous vide process, it comes out looking pretty similar to how most corned beef normally looks.
How to Sear Sous Vide Corned Beef
But if you do want to put a sear on it after sous vide, make sure you dry it off really well with paper towels or dish cloths. You can either sear it in the broiler on broil pan, or you can put it in a cast iron pan or a hot skillet to just give it a little crust on it.
Like I said, most corned beef brisket isn't actually seared. It does come out looking pretty similar to a lot of them, depending on what your final dish is.
Step 6: How to Serve Sous Vide Corned Beef
So in a lot of cases, once it's done with the sous vide process, it's ready to be served. There's several different ways to serve corned beef. Some of my favorites are to thinly slice it and serve it on some sauerkraut on rye bread for Reuben sandwiches and fresh black pepper. Corned beef and cabbage is another classic.
After I've sliced it and trimmed it for some different dishes, I like to use the trimmings for corned beef hash for breakfast.
Since there's a lot of different ways that you can serve sous vide corned beef brisket, and there's so many dishes that it works in, it's one of my favorite types of meat. Hopefully you'll get as much out of it as I do. So now you know how to perfectly sous vide corned beef every time.
For people getting started, I always recommend my free Sous Vide Quick Start Course at AFMEasy.com/Quickstart. And I also do a lot of work with the International Sous Vide Association, including free showcases, demos and cookalongs at the ISVA.org.
We also had a discussion about this on our forum.
Asked by on Tuesday, January 25
I am stunned into inaction by the wide range of cooking time and temps for a corned beef. From 135 for 48 hours to 175 for 10 to 26 hours. There has to be a huge difference in the way corned beef turns out from those extremes! I have no problem going to 48+ hour route, but at what temp? Even for a shorter time isn't 175 way too high? If anybody has done a melt in your mouth corned beef I would love to hear about it. Also beneficial to put anything else in the bag besides just the beef? Thanks!
Dave Answered on Thursday, March 24
I just got a Sous Vide Supreme and for my first experiment, I selected corned beef due to the close proximity to St Patrick's Day and in honor of St Patrick, the Patron Saint of corned beef. I found a corned beef in the market that was pre-seasoned and already vacuum sealed. After a little research on times and temperatures, I settled on 134 degrees for 48 hours.
This afternoon, I had an appointment on the lower east side of Manhattan and decided to go to Katz's Deli for lunch - a corned beef sandwich. They have been successfully cooking and selling corned beef there for 122 years so I felt like this was a safe control group. The sandwich was good, but the corned beef was a bit dry, flaky and falling apart - not my favourite. I got home later that night and pulled my first experiment out of the primordial soup. It was the best corned beef I've ever had. Solid, not falling apart and incredibly juicy and flavourful.
It shows how time & temps affect the texture of the meat.
I just cooked corned beef at 180 degrees for 12 hours and I was happy with the results.
Jim Answered on Wednesday, April 06
After reading the referenced article above, I tried it at 180 for 11 hours and 140 for 48 hours. Both were great, although I'll dial back the salt a bit next time. As Jason suggested above, I found the one that cooked at 180 for a shorter time was much more authentic, as the texture had more grain to it. While delicious, the low and slow version had a texture like tenderloin. Both were better than just about any I've had before.
Jason Logsdon Answered on Tuesday, January 25
The first time I did sous vide corned beef was for 135 for around 30-ish hours and it turned out really great. I've also done it at 145 for 30 hours and that was excellent as well, a little more tender but a little less juicy.
I think the 175 for 10 hours would result in a much less juicy, but fall-apart tender sous vide corned beef, much closer to a traditional one.
I'd just pick one and go for it, in my experience with sous vide corned beef they all turn out pretty dang good!
Jim O'Neill Answered on Wednesday, March 14
I used the cookbook that I got with mu Sous Vide Supreme. I cooked the corned beef for 30 hours at 150. The real silts were ok but not great. I felt that it was av little dry. I just put one in at 134 and will cook for 30 hours. I will let you know how it comes out
Easy Sous Vide Corned Beef Master Recipe
In my opinion, this is the best simple sous vide corned beef recipe. There are several options when sous viding corned beef. For steak-like I usually do between 131°F and 140°F (55°C and 60°C) for 2 to 3 days or 150°F (65°C) for a "perfect traditional" corned beef. But if you want something along the lines of traditional results you can cook it at any of the braise-like temperatures for a few days.
Prep Time: 19 Minutes
Cooktime: 2 to 3 Days
Total Time: 2 to 3 Days
Calories: 575 Calories
Tags: sous vide corned beef, sous vide beef corned beef, beef corned beef, beef, sous vide, easy, simple
For the Corned Beef
2 pounds corned beef
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
Extra corned beef spices
Preheating: Set your sous vide machine to 131°F (55.0°C) for medium rare or 141°F (60.5°C) for medium.
Season the Corned Beef: Remove any gristle, fat, or connective tissue. Lightly salt the corned beef and sprinkle with the spices.
Seal the Beef: Place the corned beef in a sous vide bag and then seal.
Sous Vide the Corned Beef: Add the bag to the preheated sous vide water bath. Let it cook until it is tenderized, 2 to 3 days.
Remove From Pouch: Remove the sous vide bag from the water bath. Take out the corned beef and dry it off well. You can use paper towels or dish cloths, both work well.
Searing for Flavor: Heat a heavy pan with some oil in it over medium-high to high heat until it just starts to smoke. Add the meat and sear quickly, about one minute per side. You want the beef to just brown but not overcook any more.
Time to Plate: Cut the corned beef into portions if desired. Add to a plate with any sides or sauces then serve.
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What is the Best Sous Vide Corned Beef Temperatures and Times?
There are several options when sous viding corned beef. I usually do 131ºF (55°C) for 2 to 3 days for steak-like, or 150°F (65.5°C) for 1 to 2 days for braise-like.
131°F for 2 to 3 Days (55.0ºC)
140°F for 2 to 3 Days (60.0ºC)
Tender Braise: 150°F for 1 to 2 Days (65.6ºC)
Firm but Shreddable: 156°F for 1 to 2 Days (68.9ºC)
More Fall Apart: 165°F for 1 to 2 Days (73.9ºC)
Really Fall Apart: 176°F for 12 to 24 Hours (80.0ºC)
Do you have experience cooking corned beef? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Corned beef Reubens are one of my all-time favorite sandwiches. The salty and heavily spiced corned beef compliments the tangy sauerkraut, with some sharp Swiss cheese and hearty rye bread topped with some Russian Dressing, tying it all together.
While I'll eat Reuben cooked almost any way, I especially love them when the corned beef is sous vided.
Sous vide corned beef is something I don't make nearly enough! It's so flavorful and goes with so many different dishes. I also love curing my own brisket for homemade corned beef since it gives me complete control over the salt and seasonings, but this recipe also works well with most store bought brands.
Homemade corned beef is nothing like the overly salty, generally bland store bought corned beef. Making it at home gives you full control over the salt levels and the seasonings. It also is really easy to do!
One of my favorite sandwiches is a great reuben. I love them with pastrami or corned beef, and on just about any type of bread. The other day I decided to make one for myself using sous vide corned beef. Cooking the corned beef sous vide results in very tender, but still firm, corned beef which is perfect for a great reuben. Just add some good rye bread that is toasted, sauerkraut, gruyere cheese, and some thousand Island dressing and you're all set. If you like reubens you'll love this sous vide corned beef reuben recipe.