How to Cut Corned Beef

Corned beef is a popular dish many enjoy, especially on St. Patrick’s Day. It is a beef brisket cured and seasoned with salt and other spices, such as peppercorns and bay leaves, and then simmered or roasted to perfection. Corning beef involves curing it in a brine solution to give it a distinct flavor and tenderness.

In this article, you will learn how to cut corned beef properly to ensure its optimal texture and taste. You will also learn how to cook corned beef using different methods, how to store and reheat leftovers, and how to answer some common questions about this delicious dish.

Part 1: How to Cook Corned Beef

Before cutting corned beef, it’s essential to cook it properly. There are several methods you can use, depending on your preference and the equipment you have available.

Boiling Corned Beef

One standard method is boiling the corned beef. To do this, place the corned beef in a large pot and cover it with water. Add spices, such as bay leaves, peppercorns, and pickling spice, along with vegetables like cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 3 hours or until the beef is tender.

Baking Corned Beef

Another option is to bake the corned beef in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Place the corned beef in a roasting pan and add spices and a cup of water or broth. Cover the pan with foil and bake for approximately 3 to 4 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.

Slow Cooking Corned Beef

Using a slow cooker is another popular method for cooking corned beef. Place the corned beef, spices, and vegetables in the slow cooker. Add enough water or broth to cover the meat. Cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat for 4 to 6 hours until the beef is tender.

Regardless of the cooking method, it’s crucial to cook corned beef to the proper temperature and doneness. It should reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare or 160°F (71°C) for medium. This ensures both safety and optimal flavor.

Part 2: How to Cut Corned Beef

Cutting corned beef correctly is key to ensuring its tenderness and flavor. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Identify the two parts of a whole brisket: the flat and the point. The flat is leaner and more uniform in thickness, while the point has more marbling and is thicker.
  2. Separate the flat and the point by slicing through the fat layer. This can be done before or after cooking, depending on your preference. If you’re cooking a whole corned beef brisket, it’s easier to separate the parts before cooking. However, if you’re working with pre-cooked corned beef, you can separate the parts after cooking.
  3. Trim off excess fat from the corned beef. This step is optional but can help enhance the texture and taste of the meat.
  4. Find the grain pattern of each part. The grain refers to the direction of the muscle fibers in the meat. It’s essential to slice corned beef against the grain, which helps break up the muscle fibers and make the meat more tender.
  5. Slice the corned beef across the grain into thin strips. Use a sharp knife to make clean, even slices. Cutting the beef against the grain will result in more tender and easier-to-chew pieces.
  6. Serve the sliced corned beef with your desired accompaniments, such as cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. It can be enjoyed as is or used in sandwiches, salads, or other recipes.
  7. If you have leftover sliced corned beef, it’s best to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be kept for up to 5 to 7 days, according to one source I found. To reheat, place the slices in a skillet or microwave and warm them until heated.


Do I need to cook the corned beef before cutting it?

Yes, it is recommended to cook the corned beef first and let it rest under aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes so it’s juicier when you cut it.

Is there a right or wrong way to cut corned beef? 

Yes, it is essential to cut against the grain to make it as tender as possible.

What tools do I need to cut corned beef?

You will need a carving knife, a meat fork, and a cutting board.

Are there any tips for cutting corned beef?

Yes, it is recommended to cut the corned beef into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick. This will make it easier to chew and enjoy. Additionally, you can use the leftover corned beef to make sandwiches or other dishes.

How do you reheat sliced corned beef?

To reheat sliced corned beef, place the slices in a skillet with a little oil or butter and cook over medium heat until heated through. Alternatively, you can heat them in the microwave in 30-second intervals until warmed to your liking.


Cutting corned beef properly is an essential step in enjoying this flavorful and tender dish. However, cooking corned beef properly is equally important, as it affects the texture and taste of the meat. Following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your corned beef is cooked and sliced against the grain, resulting in a delicious and enjoyable meal. So why not give it a try and savor the rich flavors of homemade corned beef?

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