March is the time of year when many Americans try to sift through their family trees, trying to find even the smallest twig of Irish heritage. My family affectionately jokes that my paternal heritage is that of a British mutt – full of ancestors from all corners of the British Isles. Recently, I discovered that about 1/16th of my lineage comes from that of Irish blood – so we might as well embrace the cuisine, right?Jump to Recipe
Evidently knowing your heritage is a great motivator; before this year, I had never attempted to make my own corned beef. When our family craved this Irish treat in years past (usually for Reuben casserole), I bemoaned the price and purchased a pound from the deli section of our local grocery. This year, our grocery held a St. Patrick’s Day sale on the brined, raw version of the beef, so I decided to try my hand at cooking it. I had never before realized that corned beef is simply a specific cut of brisket that has been marinated in a particularly spiced brine. AllRecipes (especially their comments section) was a great resource, and let me say – we will absolutely be making this meat again. Possibly many times a year.
This recipe is delightfully simple. All you need is your pre-brined corned beef, its spice packet, an onion, some water, and (optionally) a bit of additional garlic. For additional flavor, I recommend using a bottle of Guinness to supplement the water; the alcohol will cook out but a subtle, malty richness will remain.
Bonus fun fact: corned beef is associated with Ireland because the Irish produced it – but not because it was a common food eaten in that country. This Smithsonian article offers a fascinating history of the dish, and it may upend some of your presuppositions about Irish cuisine.
Start by roughly chopping an onion and placing it in the bottom of your Instant Pot. Place your Instant Pot trivet on top of the onion and cover it with your corned beef, fat side up. The placement is important – by placing the fat on the top of your beef, you‘ll take advantage of our dear friend gravity as the juices from the fat soak into the meat.
Sprinkle the spice packet and garlic atop your beef and gently rub it in, encouraging the granules to stick to the beef. Pour the Guinness and water around the meat and close the lid of your Instant Pot. Set your Instant Pot to “high” and get ready to do some simple math. You’re going to want to cook this beef on high pressure for (roughly) 20 minutes per pound. My corned beef weighed 2.88 pounds, and 2.88 times 20 minutes equals 57.6 minutes – so I cooked mine for 60 minutes. A couple of extra minutes will not make or break your steak.
Once the time is up, allow the Instant Pot to natural release for 15 minutes before manually venting. Carefully remove the beef from your Instant Pot and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
This corned beef is juicy and tender when served hot. Pair it with some potatoes or cabbage and you have a great St. Patrick’s Day meal. If you prefer it as a sandwich meat – or perhaps for Reuben casserole – place it in the refrigerator and wait until it is completely chilled to cut it into deli-style slices. If you choose the latter, get ready to eat the best Reuben of your life.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I could hardly believe how easy it was to make, and what a difference homemade corned beef made in our Reuben casserole and sandwiches. If you make it at home, feel free to tag @WhiskAverseBaking, or leave a message in the comments below.
Instant Pot Corned Beef
- Pressure cooker
- 2-3 pounds raw corned beef with spice packet
- 1 onion roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 twelve-ounce bottle Guinness stout beer
- 2 cups water
- Place onions in bottom of Instant Pot and cover with trivet. Place meat atop trivet and sprinkle with contents of spice packet. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic. Top with water and beer.
- Cook for 20 minutes per pound of meat and then allow to natural release for 15-20 minutes before manually venting.
- If serving hot, allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. If using for deli-style corned beef, place in refrigerator and cut into thin slices once cold.