Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage


Corned beef and cabbage in the pressure cooker seemed like a simple idea; instead, it was a comedy of errors. I could not get the details right. Here is the post-mortem of my attempts to get this right, so you don't have to make the same mistakes I did.

Problem 1: Too salty.
Last year, I tried my usual "cut back the water in the pressure cooker" approach. I used 1 cup of water instead of covering the corned beef. The result was unbelievably salty. I could barely eat it. The rest of the family took one bite, then ignored the corned beef and filled up with soda bread, cabbage, and carrots. Discouraged, I put one serving of the salty corned beef and cabbage in a container and tossed the rest. The next day, the leftovers tasted fine - I guess sitting in the cabbage and juices for a day pulled enough salt out to make it edible.

Problem 2: Undercooked
This year, instead of winging it, I researched recipes. They all said to cover the corned beef with water. (Whoops.) Then I ran into my next hurdle. Most sources cook corned beef at high pressure for 45 minutes to an hour. They quick release the pressure, remove the corned beef, add the vegetables, and cook the vegetables at high pressure for five minutes. That way, the vegetables aren't overcooked by the long cooking time under pressure.

"Great!" I thought to myself, "Corned beef in an hour!"

I should have known what was coming. Last year I followed Lorna Sass's instructions, and cooked a two and a half pound corned beef for 70 minutes at high pressure. This year I had a monster - four and a half pounds. I checked the recipe book that came with my electric Cuisinart pressure cooker; it said I should cook said 24 minutes per pound. 108 minutes? Seriously? The Cuisinart's timer only goes up to 99 minutes. Nah, it couldn't possibly take that long.

I put the corned beef in the electric pressure cooker, set it for high pressure and fifty minutes. When it beeped, I quick released the pressure and filled the pot with potatoes, carrots and cabbage. The result looked great, the vegetables were perfectly cooked…but the corned beef? Way undercooked. My jaw got tired trying to chew through it. Once again, everyone else took one bite of the corned beef, then filled up on the sides.

I had to crack this. I couldn't let corned beef beat me. I went back to the store and bought two smaller corned beef roasts, each three and a half pounds.

In case it was the lower pressure of the electric pressure cooker, I cooked one corned beef in my electric PC and the other in my stove top PC.

*Most electric pressure cookers have a high pressure setting of 10 PSI. stove top pressure cookers have a high pressure of 15 PSI.

I cooked both roasts for fifty minutes, quick released the pressure, and checked the corned beef. It wasn't done. I kept cooking at high pressure, quick releasing every ten minutes and checking the corned beef, until it went from chewy to tender. The stove top pressure cooker took 80 minutes, and the electric PC took 90 minutes. Finally, success!

But, wow, eighty minutes? So much for corned beef in an hour. Still, an hour and a half (including the vegetables) was much better than the ten hours my usual slow cooker recipe takes. Need a corned beef in a hurry? Get a small one, add plenty of water, and do NOT under cook it.

*Don't have a pressure cooker? Use a slow cooker. Recipe here: Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage


Adapted From: Lorna Sass Pressure Perfect

Cooking time: 90 minutes

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 3 pound corned beef with its spice packet
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 stalk celery, quartered crosswise
  • water to cover (about 4 cups)
Vegetables:
  • 1 1/2 pounds redskin new potatoes
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths (or a 1 pound bag of baby carrots)
  • 1 small (3 pound) cabbage, cut into 8 wedges

Directions:

1. Cook the corned beef:
Rinse the corned beef. Put the corned beef, onion, and celery in the pressure cooker pot, sprinkle with the spice packet, then pour in enough water to cover the corned beef. Bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure and cook at high pressure for 80 minutes (stove top PC) or 90 minutes (electric PC). Quick release the pressure, then carefully remove the lid. Test the corned beef with a fork - it should be easy to poke a fork through the thickest section. If it's not done, lock the lid and cook for another ten minutes at high pressure. Once the corned beef is done, move it to a platter, leaving the onion and celery behind in the pressure cooker.

2. Cook the vegetables:
Add the potatoes to the pot, then the carrots on top of them, then lay the cabbage on top of the other vegetables. It's OK if the cabbage comes a bit above the "no fill" line on your cooker; there will still be a lot of airspace. Bring the cooker back up to pressure and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes. Quick release the pressure again. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the platter with the corned beef.


3. Serving:
Pour the broth left in the pot into a gravy strainer. While the broth settles, slice the corned beef. Pour a little of the de-fatted broth over the platter of corned beef and vegetables. Serve, passing the rest of the broth at the table.

Notes:

  • Leftover corned beef and cabbage freezes well - as long as it is covered in broth.
  • If you have the time, use a natural pressure release for the corned beef instead of the quick release. It's almost impossible to overcook a corned beef, and my experience with undercooked corned beef has scarred me. I almost added an extra fifteen minutes of cooking time to this recipe, just in case.
  • Watch out for extra-thick corned beef - you want a flat, even piece, three inches thick or so. If you get a thicker one, or a cut from the point end, give it an extra ten to fifteen minutes under pressure.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Other pressure cooker recipes that may break my will? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Pressure Cooker Lamb Stew with Guinness and Barley
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes

Adapted from:

Lorna Sass Pressure Perfect


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24 comments:

Aaron said...

I wish you would have posted this Monday, before I tried it.  I cooked it on the stove top for 55 minutes and it was still a bit chewy. Anyway, thanks for the tip. Now I know.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Yeah, I was surprised how long corned beef has to cook in the pressure cooker. Now I need to try a pot roast, to see if it's something about corned beef, or if it is just the larger cut of meat.

Amy said...

I read your post about the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker on Wednesday and ordered it that day from Amazon (using your link)- I had been looking to replace my very old and tired stovetop pressure cooker ,it arrived yesterday and today I made the Pressure cooker corned beef -it came out very well-Trader Joe's only had a 4 lb. corned beef, I cooked it  for 95 minutes and it was perfect. Last year I made corned beef in my slow cooker but this was much better, the vegetables were not overcooked. Thank you for inspiring me to do this. 

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You're welcome - after all the trouble I had with it, I'm thrilled to hear it worked for you!

Erica said...

I made this last night for my family in my stove top pressure cooker, and it was wonderful.  My corned beef is always a bit tough, but not this year.   Thank you so much for testing, and posting this recipe.  I also used a 4 pound corned beef from Trader Joe's.  Since I am at 5500 feet I cooked it about 95 minutes, and it was perfect.  Next year I will get smaller potatoes because my potatoes took a bit longer than the other veggies. 

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Great! I'm glad you guys got to learn from my example.

Marlo H said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us - it nice to know others have made the same missteps I have.

As I type this I have an almost 7lb corned beef (bigger than my son at birth, I should note) in my 8 quart Fagor Splendid stove top pressure cooker.  The book that came with my PC says 15 minutes per pound for pot roast, and I've found that works pretty well for corned beef also.  Obviously a 7 pounder won't  fit in my PC in one piece, so I cut it in two, but time it as if it were one piece.  I usually use beer instead of water as I tried it once and my family liked it better.  The cheap stuff works fine.

Have fun trying pot roast.  It's a little less forgiving than corned beef, but the result when you get it right is well worth some trial and error. 

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Wow - seven pounds is a monster corned beef! At fifteen minutes a pound you cooked it for...1 hour 45 minutes?

Marlo H said...

 Yes, 1:45 exactly.  The two halves held together well enough to go carefully from the pot to the plate, and by the time they was no longer the temperature of the sun, they cut perfectly.  And don't let the 7lbs fool you - with the amount it cooked down, plus my three teenagers and their hungry father, there's very little left for my lunch this afternoon!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Thanks for following up.

And...I'm worried about the three teenager thing already. My three are between seven and ten years old; I'm scared to think how much they're going to eat in a few years...

Bundalo_Kreegah said...

Oy, Gevalt. The other possibility is that you could use a device called "the oven"-- a device used in many primitive cultures that cannot afford grills, pressure cookers or crock pots. This is, in fact, how most high-quality purveyors (e.g., Slyman's) prepare the meat.

(Though I'm sure Nathan Myrhvold or some other retromingent putz has some 19-hour recipe involving a Thermonix, liquid nitrogen and a Sous Vide.)

Following Mr. Brisket's instructions (http://www.misterbrisket.com/recipes/#corned%20beef), using one of those Reynolds turkey bags and a non-convection oven, my four-pounder cooked (reached temperature of 190 degrees) in an 85 minutes.  The only special treatment:  I had it at room temperature. before putting it in the oven

Another technique that helps if you want the meat to (a) taste better and (b) slice into thin strips, just like a deli is to leave the meat in the bag (or wrap it in saran wrap, if you didn't use the bag, or use a big pyrex container with a plastic top) and refrigerate it overnight. As you discovered during your first jam-ola, it allows the surface spicing to get inhaled into the center of the meat.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Geoff, that's IT! I'll sous vide the corned beef next year. Why didn't I think of that?

...ok, just kidding. Unless I get a sous vide supreme, then all bets are off.

Only 85 minutes in the oven? I'd expect it to take much longer, even with a room temperature brisket.

Bundalo_Kreegah said...

Surprised me too. Went to check it 75 minutes in and 75% was over 185.  Didn't have time to pour off the juices and use them to start cooking the vegetables. 

Might be the bag (which traps heat inside) or maybe  my rebuilt-in-2006 Thermador WO-18A. It's tiny (two cubic feet), but everything seems to cook much faster.  It's not running hot, I've checked it. Maybe it's just that the food is much closer to the heat element.

And for God's sake, if you want a Sous Vide, either (a) make one for $75 (start here, but use the comments to idntify improvements to the design: http://blog.makezine.com/2011/02/17/75-sous-vide-immersion-cooker/) or (b) buy a $150 gadget that turns your rice cooker or crock-pot into one (http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=13&products_id=44).

Bundalo_Kreegah said...

If you were going to sous vide a corned beef, the issues would be (a) making sure the unit can support a temperature of 190 and (b) finding a sealer that can handle the meat. 

Tim Stadler said...

You're in Cleveland and cooking corned beef?  Why bother?  Slymans baby!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Touche.

But...on St. Patrick's day, I need a whole corned beef roast, not just a sandwich.

And, I live in the Akron area, so Slyman's is a 35 minute drive. Sure, it's great for a treat when I go up to the "big city", but as an everyday thing? Not so much.

Debbie Fabrigas said...

Thanks so much, this is the first time using an electric pressure cooker and your instructions, pictures are spot on!!! My husband kept saying how good the cornbeef was and I was amazed at the exact cooking time!! You are amazing!!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Thank you. I'm glad it worked for you!

Sheri Latulip said...

It's important to rinse the corned beef before putting it in the pressure cooker.3lbs at 80 minutes and add 15 minutes for each additional pounds you have.If ypu want you can make a browm sugar mustard glaze and finish it up in the oven. Pressure cooking this makes cooking corned beef not such a drudgery and more time to look for leprechauns.

Denny said...

Just finished making this recipe...came out amazing, substituted a bottle of beer and added enough water to cover the corned beef. 90 minutes in the pressure cooker was perfect. Thanks so much for this recipe it's a keeper.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You're welcome. Glad you liked it, and good substitution with the beer.

Richard Runnion said...

Most of the homemade corned beef that I have had was tough, so I never tried cooking it myself...not any more! Bought an Emeril pressure cooker and cooked the corned beef according to the DadCooksdirections and it was like cutting butter with a hot knife and it was moist and full of flavor...great cooking advice...thank you

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You're welcome! Glad I was able to help you out.

Lee said...

The cooking time was perfect on this. The best corned beef I've ever made. Thanks for sharing.

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