corned beef is TOUGH!!!!

Joined Mar 16, 2011
Im boiling about 4pounds of corned beef been in the water since noon it is now 440 - took them out of the water briefly

at 4 and discovered they are all tough-

Made sure I turned water down to simmer as soon as it got hot enough

Should I simmer longer? is this hopeless?

Will the meat get tender if I cook it longer?

Joined Dec 9, 2010
I prefer to do low-slow braises and boils like that in the oven. I just don't trust a ring of fire to keep a proper temperature.
Joined Nov 5, 2007
I echo P. Hatch's sentiments about simmering longer. Of course by now the deed is done, no doubt, hope it turned out well.

I'm hoping there's piles of the corned beef packages on sale come March 18th. I want to get a few then soak them in cold water for a day or so with a change or two of the water. This should get some of the excess saltiness out. Then over the weekend throw them in the smoker for the low and slow treatment. We'll see what energy level I attain and just how much gets done. Honest, trust me, I won't be nursing a hangover or anything, not me, I will behave myself.

Joined Dec 29, 2010
As others have said, let it go a littel longer, checking every 20 to 30 minutes or so.  But the very best way to do this is to finish it off in the oven.  Also, if you are dealing with a very large piece of cornedbeef, cut it into two or three pieces...  Finally, becareful with boiling.  A hard boil can actually cause the meat to toughen considerably...
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
What cut did you use, Was it brisket, bottom round, Knuckle face, points etc. Brisket bottom plate is the best top of brisket is mostly fatty and stringy but is served with bottom of brisket .Also make sure you slice it correctly , across the grain very thin to medium. Sorry I don't agree with braising or oven cooking. Simmering a long time is the way I go everyone to their own way. For parties carved on floor we used to cook them  then finish in oven with a virginia ham type glaze, but not for St Paddys day.
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Joined Feb 26, 2007
I concur Chef Ed.  Simmer on the stove for 3 hours for a 2kg piece does it for me.  I carve what's needed for the meal plus a bit, then leave the rest in the warm water in case anyone is super hungry and it keeps moist and warm in there.  Then once we're done, cool and cover, into the fridge for sandwiches the next day.
Joined Apr 30, 2010
into the fridge for sandwiches the next day.
That's what I was hoping for but there wasn't enough left for even one sandwich!!!!!

The corned beef was served w/ cabbage, champ and fresh made Irish Soda Bread with Herbs and later in the evening we had Irish Soda Bread with raisins along with a cup of coffee ..... everyone seemed to love it
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Hehehe Highlander - I know how it is.  You hope for leftovers but if you cook it well, there just aren't any.  It's hilarious at our place when there's corned silverside and all the trimmings (mash, corn on the cob, peas, french bread, salted butter, buttered peas and carrots, dijonaisse....) on the table served family style, all in bowls and plates on the table - look out for the elbows and serving spoons - it can get dangerous :) Bit like a scene from the "Nutty Professor", including sound effects at times.

It ends up a battle royale.
Joined Mar 23, 2009
The Tough corned beef problem is solved if you just follow my Lead.  all you have to do is buy a corned beef, no matter size,

1) set oven 300 degrees

2) 3 cups of water

3) 3 hours

put 2 tablespoons of Picklening Spice for every 3 LBS, cover Don't Peek, it will cut like butter, when a room temperature, we cut the corned beef up

and then I pour what I cooked the corned beef in and throw the cabbage, carrots, potatoes,  in a large pot and cook for 20 min and you are Jake!!!!!!

from Biker73

also you have to cut the corn beef across the grain of the meat if you slice with the grain it will be very stringie, and tough what ever type of meat you

cook you have to look at the grain.
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Joined Oct 9, 2010
The oven is the way to go, slow and low :)

I am sooo wishing I had some leftovers right now!
Joined Sep 16, 2014
I love this forum! I found it when searching what to do with my tough corned beef!   I live in the UK and you cannot buy corned beef like you can in the USA.

I have been making my own in both the UK and South America, but their cuts have no fat!

I corned my beef brisket for 3 weeks, and then used a slow cooker, following its instructions to cover the meat with a simmering liquid. After 9 hours, it had the right fragrance, but was tough as an old leather shoe! I was so depressed at losing my ingredients, and the STAR of a meal I am preparing for some new friends here in England.

When someone recommended cooking it further, even in a pressure cooker, I figured, "What can I lose?"

I added carrots, potatoes, celery and some of the cooking liquid to the pressure cooker. My 2 kg beef (shrunk after brining and slow cooker covered in liquid) sat on top. I set my pressure cooker to 2 bars (top pressure) and cooked for 24 minutes at that heat. I enjoyed smelling the corned beef spices whilst praying that this would work.

After 24 minutes, I quickly let the pressure out, and let the meat rest for an hour. I just opened the pressure cooker, to find EXCELLENT, TENDER CORNED BEEF that will be perfect in Reubens or in a cooked dinner!

I cannot thank you enough for your helpfulness. A perfect corned beef with none of the FAT! Thank goodness for pressure cookers and avid cooking virtual friends.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Glad to see advice from a few years ago is still paying off. :) 


Founder of
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
Chef Jim Berman did a series awhile back called "Discovering the Deli" and he posted a great piece on Corn Beef.
[article="27297"]Discovering The Deli How To Make Corned Beef  [/article][article="6570"]How To Make Corn Beef Hash  [/article]
Joined Apr 3, 2010
This has been here before. I believe you used the wrong cut of meat plus  you should never really boil a brisket.

      Many markets sell you a bottom round which becomes shoeleather.

   Most supermarket delis use  already cooked cb s  and are bottom round, but are pretreated to be tender .

  A brisket is the best cut whether you pickle it or store bought is the best.  With the one you have I would make corned beef hash.
Joined Oct 29, 2008
Depending on your definition of "tough", it could just be that what you had was flat cut of brisket, not point cut. I've found that flat cut cannot be made tender however you cook it, due to the lack of marbling and of sinew. Not inedible, but definitely not tender as in "fall off the bone tender". I'd say go with the point cut. With all its marbling, it behaves more like short ribs when braised. 

Here's a clip I found: 
Joined Sep 25, 2014
I prefer to do low-slow braises and boils like that in the oven. I just don't trust a ring of fire to keep a proper temperature.
Boiling water is what it is, cannot exceed 210f unless you're applying a hell of a lot of pressure.. regardless of how hot the flame riding underneath the pot is...! So putting it in the oven is really no better, to my mind.
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