Why Is My Corned Beef Tough?

In this article, we’ll look at the potential causes of tough corned beef, how to prevent future instances of it, and how to salvage your meat so that you can still enjoy it.

Cooking Over a High Temperature

When cooked on high for too long, corned beef is likely to turn out tough and chewy rather than soft and tender. Instead: Regardless of the cooking method, corned beef is best cooked over low heat.

How To Fix Tough Corned Beef After Cooking

The extended simmering method must be the simplest method for preparing tough corned beef. So let’s see what steps it entails.

Many people think that the longer corned beef is cooked, the more tender it becomes. That’s not entirely true. The meat’s initial toughness is a result of overcooking.

However, by prolonging the simmering time, you can fix the corned beef. The process is pretty straightforward.

You will first need a diced onion and a half a head of cabbage or some carrots. It’s not a mandatory ingredient. But, these make the meat tender more efficiently. So, if you want the best result, I advise using them.

  • Use a stockpot, pressure cooker, or slow cooker to complete the process.
  • Place the vegetables first, then the meat on top, and then add enough water to completely submerge the meat.
  • Use a pressure cooker on the stovetop or electric, set it to two bars, and cook it for about thirty minutes.
  • If you’re using a slow cooker, cook it on the low temperature setting for 60 to 120 minutes and on the high temperature setting for 35 to 60 minutes.
  • For the stockpot, simmer the corned beef for approximately 30 minutes with the lid on.
  • Once the time is over, check for the internal temperature.
  • If it matches the ideal temperature, you’re done.
  • If not, simmer it for a bit longer.

How To Fix Tough Corned Beef Before Cooking

There’s no reason the beef should be tough if you follow the right procedures and take care while cooking it. In order to fix corned beef before cooking, there are three steps in total. As they all say, prevention is always preferable to treatment.


Rinsing is essential to remove excess salt from corned beef. Start by giving the beef two or three cold water rinses. Then, drain the beef off the water.

If you want to skip the rinsing step, you can also soak the beef in cold water and store it in the fridge overnight. Both techniques work well to remove too much salt from the meat.


If you’ve cooked tough beef before, you know what it’s like. So, I won’t get into the recipe. I’ll emphasize, though, that you pay close attention to the areas where things could go wrong.

Remember not to boil corned beef. Instead, simmer the meat and slow cook it. Use water or any other liquid your recipe demands, but make sure the beef is entirely under the water.

Monitor the process. If you notice the liquid drying, add more.


Letting the corned beef rest can benefit you both ways. Allowing the beef to rest can restore its tenderness even after it has been overcooked.

Regarding the method of cooking in general, letting the beef rest in a cooler allows the moisture to absorb into the meat, making it juicy and tender.

Many people don’t understand the importance of resting the meat. I must stress this step because it also functions as additional cooking.

Even after you remove the meat from the heat source, the quality of the meat continues to improve. However, the duration isn’t too long. Resting it for about 15 minutes should be enough.

Why Is My Corned Beef Tough – The Reason

Your corned beef may be tough for a number of reasons. The beef can become tough if you don’t follow specific instructions when cooking it.

Cooking the beef for longer won’t necessarily make it tender. Beef is dense and tends to get tough when overcooked.

Therefore, if you cook the meat for longer than necessary, it may end up chewy and tough. Corned beef can also be made tougher by boiling it over high heat.

The quantity of water may be another factor you are overlooking. The meat loses its tenderness and becomes chewy if you use less water than is recommended.

Due to the heat, the water level may drop, so you should keep an eye out for this. Add more water if you notice something like that.

Other errors are significant but also affect the texture of the meat. So, to be safe, I advise adhering to the advice and avoiding the mistakes I’ve listed further.

These are some probable causes of tough corned beef. Therefore, fixing them will significantly alter how tender the meat is.

How To Make Tender Corned Beef

Let’s summarize what we’ve learned, scattered through the article. These suggestions will help you prepare corned beef to your specifications and remove the toughness from the meat.

  • Rinse the beef with cold water to remove excess salt. Alternately, soak it and put it in the refrigerator the night before. Don’t boil, simmer.
  • To make the meat tasty, tender, and juicy, add vegetables like potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and onions.
  • Slow cook the meat instead of rushing the procedure.
  • Use enough liquid to submerge the beef.
  • If you notice the water drying out while performing the procedure, add some more to keep everything functioning as it should.
  • Allow the beef to warm up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit inside.
  • Let the meat rest for about 15 minutes before eating.
  • Go against the grain and prepare the dish as directed, using the specified ingredients and timing.

Mistakes To Avoid When Making Corned Beef

It’s time to talk about what we should stay away from if we want our corned beef to be tender. Let’s look at some common mistakes even experienced cooks make.

Not Rinsing The Meat Before Start Cooking It

You can tell that corned beef has been preserved when you purchase it in a store-bought package. You can spot it by observing how slimy corned beef is. This excessive salt messes up with the taste and texture.

Because of this, thoroughly rinse the meat before beginning to cook it. When you feel compelled to start cooking as soon as you unpack the meat, keep in mind that the effort will be in vain if the dish is overly salty.

Keep the meat soaked in water if you want to skip the rinsing step. Take a container and soak the meat. Place the container in the refrigerator overnight.

Drain the water the following day and begin preparing your beef. If you’ve ever cooked meat straight from the package, you know how much more flavorful it is after being washed of the salt.

Not Resting The Meat After Cooking

Meat that has been rested can continue to cook even in the absence of a heat source. The meat slowly absorbs all the moisture as it cooks with its own heat.

Even if you’ve slightly overcooked your corned beef, letting it rest will make the meat more tender.

However, because the beef has been cooking for so long, people skip over this step and immediately begin eating. So if you want it to be worth the time, I would advise you to wait a little longer.

Using The Wrong Cut

If you don’t care about the cut, you might get a chewy, tough piece of meat if you don’t know how to slice the meat after it’s been cooked. So yes, it is essential to cut the beef properly.

You should always slice the meat against the grains. The direction of the meat’s muscle fibers is indicated by the term “grains.” So avoid cutting it with the grains. Instead, cut against.

Not Using Enough Liquid

Using the right amount makes a significant difference regardless of the liquid you’re using in accordance with your recipe. There is a chance that the meat will be unevenly cooked if it is not completely submerged in the liquid.

You’ll consequently have tough, chewy meat. So, use enough liquid. Mix water or use plain water if necessary.

Not Letting The Meat Simmer Long Enough

Simmering the beef long enough is essential. Brisket can become chewy if you use high heat and rush the process to get it on the plate a little bit early. Also, you shouldn’t boil the meat. Instead, simmer it using the right directions from your recipe.

Use any of the high-quality digital meat thermometers to check the beef’s internal temperature. Although the meat is safe to eat once it reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, if you want it to be tender, aim for 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Adjust the cooking time depending on the internal temperature. But keep in mind that no recipe can provide you with precise instructions on how long to cook a dish for.

To determine whether the meat is done or not, it is therefore always preferable to use the internal temperature as a standard.

How Do You Make Sure My Corned Beef Comes Out Tender With My Slow Cooker

Using a slow cooker to prepare corn beef is almost identical to other methods. However, there’s a slight deviation in the temperature.

Place the veggies first. You can use potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onion, etc. , depending on the recipe you’re following. These vegetables are ideal for keeping the meat tender and moist. Because of this, the majority of recipes call for these when cooking corned beef.

Now, it’s time to bring your meat on top. Before adding the beef on top, add a few cups of water if you’re using a different cooking liquid than water.

  • Add spices. Sprinkle your recipe’s spices on top of the meat. If you want to make an inventive dish, you can also customize your own spice ix. But be careful not to use too many spices because that will ruin the flavor.
  • After that, add water or any other liquid required by your recipe to the meat. Make sure it submerges under the water completely.
  • Set the cooker on high. Let it cook for eight hours. You cannot cook the beef at a high temperature on a stovetop. But you can set the slow cooker’s temperature to high.
  • Make sure not to shorten the cooking time or the brisket won’t be cooked through.
  • Stir everything together before serving the corned beef. Now, simmer it for another one hour.
  • To make the beef a little bit more tender, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cut the meat against the meat before serving, as I’ve said before.

Should You Cover Corned Beef When Cooking?

If you cook your corned beef covered over low heat, you can have deliciously tender meat. But rushing it at a high temperature and boiling it rather than simmering it can have the exact opposite effect of what you want.

Why Is My Corned Beef Slimy?

If the corned beef is packaged, it may have undergone a brining process. Brining means preserving the meat using salty water. To get rid of the extra salt, I advised washing the beef before cooking. Also, brining can make corned beef slimy.


I sincerely hope you were able to resolve the issue of how to fix tough corned beef. I always advise other foodies not to give up hope when things go wrong. There is usually a way out, especially if it involves meat. Do your research and look for additional sources to confirm the data you have gathered if you are unsure about one source. Next time, try to follow the preventive measures to avoid toughening the corned beef in the first place if you still are unable to fix the beef as you had anticipated.

Why Is My Corned Beef Tough?

Erica B. Roby is a competition pitmaster who has a passion for barbecue, grilling, and cooking of all kinds. She has always loved the culinary arts and inherited this talent from her family. Erica is always excited about the goodness of food, both in terms of nutrients and flavor. Erica B. Roby wants to demonstrate to people that anyone can make delicious food, whether she’s smoking meat on a pit, lighting up the grill, or simply sharing her delectable recipes in the kitchen.

Why is my slow cooker corned beef tough?


How do you fix tough corned beef?

because brisket, a tough meat cut, is the source of corned beef For the results to be tender, you need the connective tissue to dissolve. Some people prefer to cook their corned beef in an all-water broth while others add beer to the mixture to further tenderize the meat.

How do you make corned beef more tender?

Cooking over a high temperature. Cooking corned beef in the slow cooker or on the stovetop at a low, gentle simmer will consistently produce soft, tender slices.

Is corned beef tough if overcooked?

Corned beef typically becomes tough when it is overcooked or cooked at an excessively high temperature. Cooking the meat at a lower temperature (roughly 325°F or 163°C) and covering the pan with a tight-fitting lid will prevent this.

Does cooking corned beef longer make it more tender?

One of several less tender beef cuts, such as the brisket, rump, or round, is used to make corned beef. Therefore, it requires long, moist cooking. With a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F and a three-minute rest period, corned beef is safe; however, cooking it longer will result in fork-tenderness.

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