If you own an Instant Pot or another multicooker, lucky for you. This St. Patrick’s Day, using it for corned beef and cabbage is like discovering a pot of gold. While a lot of people use a slow-cooker to cook corned beef, it does take hours — at least 4 or more on the high setting and longer on low.
Not that a slow-cooker is a bad thing; it’s still hands-off cooking.
It’s that with the Instant Pot the corned beef is done in about 2 hours. If you factor in the time it takes for the Instant Pot to pressure up and to cook the vegetables, it’s under 3 hours. Keep in mind these times are not exact and depend on how long the pot takes to release all the pressure before you can open the lid. And for the most part it’s all hands-off, too.
There are plenty of recipes for Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage. We settled on the one below because we like corned beef with some added flavor or sauce. That’s where the glaze came in — a mix of butter, brown sugar, water and brown mustard. As an added bonus there’s a honey mustard sauce for serving.
Many of the recipes for corned beef and cabbage ranged in pressure cooking times from 70 to 90 minutes. This one we pressure-cooked for 90 minutes and it was fork tender — almost falling apart tender.
The recipe does get some time under the broiler to finish it off. That’s how it gets its crusty layer. You’ll want to use the low broil setting because the glaze has brown sugar in it and you don’t want it to burn.
One of the reasons corned beef takes a while is that it’s from brisket. Because it’s a tough cut of meat, it needs a long cooking time to make it ultra tender.
Brisket comes from the breast section of the animal. A whole brisket includes point and flat cuts. At most stores, you’ll find just the flat cut, which is less fatty. Corned beef is notoriously high in sodium. Some stores have lower-sodium versions. At grocery stores now, flat cut briskets are about 2 1/2 to 5 pounds. Keep in mind the brisket will shrink by about a third when cooked.
Always rinse corned beef before cooking. And if it has a lot of fat, you can trim some away.
While corned beef may be traditional St. Patrick’s Day fare here in the U.S., it’s not in Ireland. Corned beef wasn’t associated with the Irish until the early 1900s, when poor Irish immigrants in New York took the idea from their Jewish neighbors and began buying corned beef brisket. It was an inexpensive cut of meat and paired well with cabbage, which was and still is an inexpensive vegetable.
CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE WITH MUSTARD GLAZE AND SAUCE
Serves: 6 / Prep time: 20 minutes / Total time: 3 hours (not active time)
3 to 5 pounds corned beef brisket, fat trimmed off and rinsed
Spice packet that comes with the corned beef
4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 can (15.5 ounces) reduced sodium beef broth
2 cups water
6-8 small red potatoes quartered
3 medium carrots peeled and sliced into 2-inch pieces
1 cabbage about 2 pounds, cut into large wedges
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup spicy brown mustard
HONEY MUSTARD SAUCE:
1/4 cup honey or agave
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
Set the rack in the Instant pot. Place corned beef brisket, contents of the spice packet, garlic cloves, broth and water in the Instant Pot. Close lid. Make sure the vent is set to sealing.
Set timer for 90 minutes on high. (It will take about 15 to 20 minutes for the pressure to build, then the timer will start). Once done, allow for 15 minute natural pressure release before releasing remaining pressure and removing the lid from the instant pot.
While the pressure is natural releasing, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add water and brown sugar. Heat over medium-high heat and let thicken for about 5 minutes. Whisk in the mustard and reduce heat to low, simmer about 5 minutes. This is enough glaze for a 5 pound brisket, you will not use it all for 3 pound brisket.
Preheat the broiler on low.
Leaving the liquids in the instant pot, remove corned beef to a baking sheet. Brush some of the glaze on top of corned beef and broil, 6-inches from the heat source for 30 minutes, brushing with more glaze 10 minutes. Watch carefully because the glaze can burn.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and make the honey mustard sauce.
Put cabbage, potatoes and carrots in the instant pot and cook them on high for 3 minutes then do a quick release.
Place corned beef on a tray and slice across the grain. Arrange the vegetables around the corned beef. Serve with the mustard sauce.