Slow Cooker Corned Beef in Beer

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With St Patrick’s Day around the corner, I started to think about Irish themed dinners for the occasion.  I read somewhere a while back Corned Beef on St Patrick’s Day is not an Irish tradition, instead an American re-invention of tradition.  Like so many things we think of as “old world,” times changes, people change, and tastes change.  Certainly Corned Beef would have been considered a luxury item in our great grandparent’s day.  It is almost a luxury item today as a recent trip to the grocery store proved to me!
I do not have any significant Irish bloodlines in my family.  My father’s family is Scottish, but as far as I can tell, calling themselves American since our founding fathers were signing the Declaration. My maternal grandmother was a 1st generation Scottish immigrant who came over when she was just a little girl. I am operating under the old saying “Everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day!”   I plan to do my best to make the Irish proud with a decidedly American take on Corned Beef dinner.

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So now I have a 3.5lb Corned Beef Brisket in my possession with dreams of a big Irish themed dinner and enough  leftovers for a Reuben or two.  The idea for incorporating locally made beer came from Emily. “Why don’t you make a stew with Geaghan’s beer in it?”  It was a glorious idea – but she was still holding out hope for a beef stew, not a Corned Beef dinner.  My planned turned to using a Slow Cooker to cook the Beef in beer all day and enjoy a minimally labor-intensive feast that night.  With the holiday falling on a Tuesday this year, it made perfect sense.
When cooking with wine you often hear experts repeating, “Cook with what you would drink.” Applying that logic to my Corned Beef and beer idea made the choice of which beer easy: Geaghan’s Refueler.  An American Wheat beer might not be everyone’s first choice but being our favorite beer, made locally, by friends who are Irishman is enough for me!
Emily left to run errands, and I politely asked her to pickup two growlers of The Refueler.  In the name of research, we would have to extensively sample the ingredient we planned on using.  Once satisfied, I was ready to start cooking.
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I start with chopping 5-6 carrots, one large onion, and two whole garlic cloves and placing into slow cooker.  From my stash of garden dried herbs I put in rosemary, thyme, celery leaf, and a bay leaf.  Next in goes a sprinkling of black pepper.
Before the Corned Beef goes in the slow cooker, I rinse it off under cold water.  The beef is salt cured and I have found not rinsing it will make the sauce and veggies too salty.  You can always add salt later, but you can’t take it back out.
With the beef in the slow cooker, it is time to pour in The Refueler.corned beef-7
For me, it took about 4 cups of beer to almost cover the beef and fill the slow cooker.  I set the temperature to low and let it cook all day.  Once home from work, 9 hours had past and the beef was done.  I removed meat and veggies to a platter to rest and scooped out 4 cups of the beer broth and transferred to a pot on the stove to make a gravy.
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In the pot was the 4 cups of the beer sauce.  I turned the burner to medium high, mixed 2 tablespoons flour with a 1/4 cup water, and poured it into pot whiles whisking.  I let gravy cook and boil for 7-8 minutes (stirring every minute or so) then removed from heat to allow to cool and thicken.  You will want to taste at this point to see if it needs salt but mine didn’t.
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Nothing left to do now but slice up our Corned Beef dinner and enjoy our Irish themed feast.
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I will serve the Corned Beef and veggies with mashed potatoes on the side as another avenue to enjoy the gravy.  Mashed potatoes are required for any large meal like this or else I risk a child and wife dinner mutiny!
We wish everyone a great St. Patrick’s day dinner too!
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Slow Cooker Corned Beef in Beer
Recipe Type: Dinner
Author: Blogging with Apples
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 9 hours
Total time: 9 hours 20 mins
Serves: 6
A easy slow cooker Irish themed feast!
Ingredients
  • 1 3.5 lb Corned Beef Brisket, rinsed
  • 5 carrots, washed and cut into chunks
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried celery leaf (or sub 1 rib diced celery)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4-5 cups of favorite beer to cover beef
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup water
Instructions
  1. In a Slow cooker place carrots, onion, garlic cloves and lay Corned Beef on top.
  2. Sprinkle in celery leaf, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper.
  3. Pour in beer to cover.
  4. Cover with lid and set to low.
  5. Cook for 8-9 hours until beef is almost fall apart tender then remove beef and veggies to cool.
  6. Scoop out 4 cups of the beer sauce and transfer to pot on stove.
  7. On medium heat bring sauce to a boil.
  8. Mix 2 tablespoon flour with 1/4 cup water until smooth and pour into boiling sauce while whisking.
  9. Continue cooking while whisking 6-8 minutes until sauce thickens, remove from heat and transfer to gravy bowl.
  10. Slice Corned Beef against the grain and serve with gravy.
  11. Enjoy!
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Jeff McIntosh

About Jeff McIntosh

Jeff's family lives in his childhood home on a 1/4 acre in town lot. Despite the small space to work with, they have challenged ourselves to produce as much of our own food as possible — and cook it! They document their journey at Blogging with Apples.