How to Cook Corned Beef in a Crock-Pot So It's Tender

Corned beef is high in sodium, fat and saturated fat, so aim to eat it occasionally and in moderation.
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About 31 percent of Americans plan to make a special meal on St. Patrick's Day, according to a March 2017 survey by the National Retail Federation. And by far the most popular holiday choice — although it isn't authentically Irish — is corned beef.

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Traditional corned beef recipes call for boiling the meat in a large stockpot along with vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and cabbage. The editors at America's Test Kitchen, though, tell us that cooking the meat and vegetables separately allows you to better control the finished texture of each ingredient. Corned beef prepared in a slow cooker yields firmer slices than boiled corned beef.

Here's everything you need to know to make corned beef in a Crock-Pot.

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Things You'll Need

  • 6-quart slow cooker

  • Packaged 2 to 2.5-pound corned beef with seasoning

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • Sharp knife

  • Cutting board

  • Fork

  • Aluminum foil

1. Coat the Slow Cooker

Spray the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray so that the entire bottom and sides are oiled.

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2. Prep the Corned Beef

Remove the corned beef from the packaging, reserving any accumulated juices and the enclosed seasoning packet. Use a sharp knife to remove any visible fat from the surface of the meat.

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If you want to keep the fat on, note that you should make sure the corned beef is fat side up if you're cooking it in liquid.

3. Season the Meat

Place the corned beef inside the slow cooker. Pour the reserved liquid over the meat. Sprinkle the contents of the seasoning packet on the surface of the beef.

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To cook the corned beef along with potatoes, carrots and cabbage, cut the vegetables into chunks or wedges and place them around the meat in the slow cooker before cooking. For additional flavor, you can add water, broth or beer.

4. Slow-Cook on Low

Allow the corned beef to cook on the low setting for 8 to 10 hours, or until the meat is easily pierced with a fork. Check the tenderness after about 8 hours.

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5. Let the Beef Rest

Remove the corned beef from the slow cooker and place it on a clean cutting board. Tent the beef with aluminum foil and let it sit, undisturbed, for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Letting the meat rest helps the juices settle, ensuring a more tender cut of beef.

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