How Do You Cut Corned Beef?

St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching, so why not enjoy the traditional Irish-American dish of corned beef and cabbage? If you’re making corned beef for the first time or a seasoned cook curious about how others make it, take a look at the list of five mistakes to avoid and what to do instead to ensure corned beef perfection.


  • 1 Cook the corned beef before cutting it. Make sure the brisket’s internal temperature is around 165 °F (74 °C), which is hot enough to dissolve the meat’s tough collagen. Corned beef loses its juices if it is cut too soon, so leave the brisket whole and with all the fat on it. Before cutting, cook the beef to a minimum of 145 °F (63 °C). The beef is safe to eat at that temperature, but it tastes better when cooked slowly to a higher temperature.
  • 2 Rest the meat for 10 to 15 minutes in aluminum foil. As soon as the corned beef is finished cooking, transfer it to a cutting board. To keep it warm while it rests, cover it loosely with foil. Waiting enables the meat to reabsorb its internal moisture, resulting in a more juicy brisket and a cleaner cutting board. [1] To avoid overcooking the beef, remove it from heat sources, including hot liquids. The ideal time to complete preparing any vegetables or other ingredients you intend to serve with the corned beef is during this resting period. Advertisement .
  • 3 Select a razor-sharp knife to make quick work of the beef. Get a knife that is as long as the corned beef is wide if you can. In this manner, you can cut the meat into whole slices rather than irregular chunks. The best tool to have is a long meat carving knife, especially for large briskets. Sharpen your knife to prevent it from tearing the beef as it cuts through it. [2] Hold the beef in place with a meat fork while slicing it.
  • {“smallUrl”:”https://www. wikihow. com/s/thumb/d/da/Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-4-Version-2. jpg/v4-460px-Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-4-Version-2. jpg”,”bigUrl”:”/s/thumb/d/da/Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-4-Version-2. jpg/aid3311808-v4-728px-Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-4-Version-2. If you cooked a whole brisket, cut through the fat to separate the cuts. jpg”,”smallWidth”:460,”smallHeight”:345,”bigWidth”:728,”bigHeight”:546,”licensing”:”License: Creative Commons/a> /p> /p>/div>” A whole brisket actually consists of 2 parts. A connective layer of fat separates these parts. To separate the cuts, slide your knife horizontally between the brisket after using a meat fork to gently pry the beef apart to reveal the fat in the center. [3] The bigger portion is called the flat. It’s leaner and has an even thickness. The point, which is the fattier portion, is smaller and rests on top of the flat portion. You don’t necessarily need to purchase a whole brisket to enjoy good corned beef because flat and point portions are frequently packaged and sold separately.
  • {“smallUrl”:”https://www. wikihow. com/s/thumb/3/37/Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-5-Version-2. jpg/v4-460px-Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-5-Version-2. jpg”,”bigUrl”:”/s/thumb/3/37/Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-5-Version-2. jpg/aid3311808-v4-728px-Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-5-Version-2. 5 Trim the corned beef’s fat cap. jpg”,”smallWidth”:460,”smallHeight”:345,”bigWidth”:728,”bigHeight”:546,”licensing”:”License: Creative Commons/a> /p> /p>/div>” The puffy, white fat should be facing up as you place the beef flat on the cutting board. Although slightly browned from cooking, it is still simple to identify. Using a meat fork, secure the beef in place while you slide the knife under the fat layer. To separate the beef from the fat, slice it horizontally. [4] Leaving some fat, about 1 in (2. 5 cm) or less, is fine. The fat adds flavor. Although it is possible to remove the fat before cooking the beef, the fat helps the meat retain moisture and flavor.
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Slicing the Beef

  • 1 Flip the beef over and find its grain pattern. If you left any fat on the corned beef’s exterior, place it fat side down. Observe the orientation of the muscle fibers in the beef by paying close attention. They look like parallel lines along its entire length. [5] Because the grain patterns of the flat and point portions differ, always cut them separately. The grain is not the same as grill marks. If you grilled the beef, ignore the grill marks and search for the lines created by the internal muscle fibers instead.
  • 2 Rotate the meat so you can cut against the grain. Your knife should not run parallel to the grain but rather perpendicular to it. By doing so, you shorten the muscle fibers and greatly increase the tenderness of the corned beef. Long muscle fibers are strong and hard to chew. [6] Because they originate from a weight-bearing area of the cow, briskets have long, tough muscle fibers. Not cutting against the grain potentially ruins good corned beef.
  • 3 Snip from the corner of the meat’s leaner end. The smaller, leaner portion is easier to cut. Use a meat fork to hold the corned beef in place while you cut into it with your carving knife. Move your knife back and forth, almost like you’re using a saw, to cut through things cleanly. By doing this, you alternately touch the meat with the knife’s tip and other end. [7] Gently shave the meat into slices as you cut through it with the knife pointing downward. Cut a large piece of beef in half to make it more manageable. It’s safe to reduce the size of the object before slicing it as long as you do so vertically and against the grain.
  • 4 Cut the remaining brisket as thinly as you can, going against the grain. Slice the corned beef about 1⁄8 in (0. 32 cm) thick, if possible. The beef will be easier to chew if you can cut it into thinner slices. Up until you reach its other end, keep slicing the beef against the grain, roughly dividing it into equal portions. [8] Although thicker cuts require more chewing, they can still be used. Some people even prefer their beef that way. Additionally, thicker cuts work well in dishes like corned beef hash.
  • {“smallUrl”:”https://www. wikihow. com/s/thumb/7/71/Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-10-Version-2. jpg/v4-460px-Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-10-Version-2. jpg”,”bigUrl”:”/s/thumb/7/71/Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-10-Version-2. jpg/aid3311808-v4-728px-Cut-Corned-Beef-Step-10-Version-2. 5 Keep leftover beef in the fridge for up to 4 days. jpg”,”smallWidth”:460,”smallHeight”:345,”bigWidth”:728,”bigHeight”:546,”licensing”:”License: Creative Commons/a> /p> /p>/div>” Within two hours of cooking the beef, place it in the refrigerator to keep it safe to consume. Put it in containers or resealable plastic bags and label them as necessary. Alternatively, tightly wrap the beef in foil or plastic wrap so that you can eat the leftovers within a few days. To freeze beef, put it in a labeled, freezer-safe container. It can be frozen and retain its quality for up to three months. Corned beef that has been spoiled appears slimy and smells foul. If you think the beef has gone bad, throw it away without tasting it.
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Community Q&ASearch

  • What should I do to save my accidentally cut corned beef after an hour of cooking? Community Answer Re-cook it in the same water, if you can.
  • Brett Gilbert Top Answerer When asked if the grain runs the length of the brisket, he responded that it does, making it fairly obvious. Cutting against the grain is necessary to shorten those fibers for the same reason.
  • Question How do I reduce the saltiness in the corned beef? Brett Gilbert Top Answerer Put it in a pot, bring the water to a boil, and then thoroughly rinse the beef. Do it twice to eliminate more salt. It also helps to soak the meat in milk or cold water for up to 24 hours. Alternatively, add other ingredients. For example, sugar, cream, or alternative spices mask the salt. You can also add more vegetables.
  • When used in deli-style sandwiches, corned beef is usually sliced paper thin. When served with vegetables or in other dishes, thicker cuts are preferable. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0 .
  • After slicing the beef, cut it into cubes for dishes like corned beef hash. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0 .
  • Fat on the beef is edible. Depending on your preferences, it may be beneficial to keep some of the fat cap on the beef to add flavor to the meat. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0 .
  • Corned beef becomes drier and more difficult to chew when it is improperly cut. To make the meat as tender as possible, always let the meat rest before cutting against the grain. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1 .
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Things You’ll Need

  • Corned beef brisket
  • Aluminum foil
  • Carving knife
  • Meat fork
  • Cutting board

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To make corned beef more juicy when cut, cook it and let it rest under aluminum foil for 10 to 15 minutes. If you cooked a whole brisket, separate the meat into 2 cuts by using a knife to cut through the fat. Next, trim the meat’s thick layer of fat from the side and flip it over to determine which way the grain runs. Lastly, slice the corned beef thinly, going against the meat’s grain. To learn how to store leftover corned beef, scroll down!.

Reader Success Stories

  • “I didn’t know to leave the fat cap on until after cooking, and to put the fat side up when cooking,” says Angela Martin. ” .

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“I didn’t know to leave the fat cap on until after cooking, and to put the fat side up when cooking,” says Angela Martin. “.

“I love the tips on corned beef, my favorite! The fat and the slicing always bothered me, but now that I’ve seen them,

Linda P. “I’m making corned beef for the first time ever for St. Patrick’s Day in 2021.” Instructions were perfect!”.

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Cutting Corned Beef


Do you slice corned beef with or against the grain?

Instead: Treat corned beef just like steak. The “grain” of the meat can be found by looking for the lines of clearly visible muscle fibers on the surface. Always cut corned beef across the grain rather than with it. Each piece is easier to chew after the muscle fibers are cut, which also shortens them.

How do you know which way the grain runs in meat?

Cut against the grain. To obtain tender beef slices, cut the meat against the grain using a carving knife. Slices made by cutting against the grain, or in the same direction as the muscle fibers, will have a stringy and tough texture. Traditionally, a quarter-inch thick slice of corned beef is used as an entree.

How do you cut a slice of corned beef?

Similar to slicing a piece of steak, you should thinly slice corned beef against the grain. Your corned beef will have parallel lines visible on the surface that are going in one direction. Using a chef’s knife or slicing knife that is sharp, cut perpendicular to those lines.

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