PSA: You Should Be Rinsing Your Corned Beef

published Mar 5, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

It’s March! Which means soda bread and shamrock shakes and corned beef and cabbage. This rich, hearty meal has become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day, and if this is the year you decide to make it, I guarantee you won’t regret it. The meat is tender and delicious and the leftovers are perfect for corned-beef hash the next day.

There are a variety of ways to cook corned beef — we recommend using either the slow cooker, or the Instant Pot — but whatever method you choose, there’s one thing you should always do to corned beef before cooking.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Always Rinse Corned Beef Before Cooking It

When it comes to prepping corned beef, you’ll need to treat it a little different than you would some prime cuts like a typical brisket, chuck roast, or steak. That’s because corned beef (which is made from brisket) is first cured, or “corned.” Corning is a pickling process that uses a special kind of curing salt and spices to infuse the meat with its distinct flavor.

Regardless of whether you cure the meat yourself or buy a ready-to-cook corned beef, chances are there’s excess salt lingering on the surface and tucked into folds on the outer part of the meat. That’s why the very first thing you should do is rinse the uncooked piece of meat several times under cool running water to remove this residual salt. Many recipes don’t include a step for rinsing the meat, but it’s worth doing it anyway. Depending on the pickling solution used for the meat, you may be in for a saltier meal than you bargained for if you cook the meat without rinsing it.

And don’t worry: Rinsing won’t make the beef taste bland! The flavor is infused deep into the beef during the curing process.

Try Our Favorite Corned Beef Recipes

First time making corned beef? Start here: A Beginner’s Guide to Corned Beef and Cabbage