Sous vide corned beef with Irish fried cabbage is a delicious and stress-free twist on a classic St. Patrick’s Day dish. The sous vide cooking method guarantees a juicy, flavorful, and melt-in-your-mouth corned beef every time with minimal effort. Add fried Irish cabbage, perfectly caramelized in a single skillet, for a delicious and impressive meal.
What is Sous Vide?
Sous vide, pronounced “sue-veed” translates from French to “under vacuum.”
It is a cooking technique whereby food is vacuum-sealed and slow-cooked in a water bath to a precise level of doneness. Because the focus is on precise temperature control, sous vide produces perfectly cooked food without fail.
Why Use Sous Vide
Upscale restaurants have used the sous vide technique for some time to produce perfectly cooked meals in what may appear to be a fraction of the time normally required. Why? Because the items can be cooked to the precise temperature utilizing sous vide and quickly seared to produce the flavorful Maillard reaction.
Everything that I’ve cooked utilizing the Sous Vide technique has turned out amazingly good.
My absolute favorite is Sous Vide Crème Caramel, with this Sous Vide Corned Beef coming in a close second. Both the Master Taster and I were totally blown away by the amazing transformation of the crème caramel from the traditional way of cooking it in a water bath to the Sous Vide method.
If you have a relatively tough piece of meat, like corned beef or a cheap cut of beef, you can use Sous Vide to break down the meat’s tough muscle structure.
The result is tenderized meat that can rival expensive cuts of meat. Chicken and pork also benefit from the Sous Vide technique.
What Equipment Do You Need?
The most important piece of equipment that is needed is an immersion circulator.
An immersion circulator is a piece of electrical equipment immersed in a water container. It circulates and heats the water to a precise, consistently maintained temperature.
I use the Anova immersion circulator. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued. However, if you Google the immersion circulator or search for it on Amazon, you will find a number of products that will work well.
You also need a large container that is deep enough to hold the water and keep what you are cooking immersed. I use the Cambro 12-quart polycarbonate square container. Rubbermaid also makes a comparable container. If you have a deep stockpot, you could use that as well.
Over the years, I learned that it helps to have a cover for the vessel to minimize water evaporation. I started using a piece of aluminum foil but ultimately got a silicone cover for the Cambro container.
For the Sous Vide, the food needs to be packaged in an air-free container so that it doesn’t float. For this, I vacuum seal the food. However, you could also use a Ziploc bag with as much of the air removed as possible.
Sous Vide Corned Beef
I rinsed and patted dry a 3-½ pound piece of corned beef brisket. I didn’t want to use any of the corned beef liquid because it was pretty gross.
Then, I vacuum-sealed the corned beef. I didn’t include the spices that came with the corned beef because I didn’t think that they were necessary.
Following Serious Eats’ advice, I placed the vacuum-sealed corned beef in a water bath at precisely 180° F for 10 hours.
After 10 hours, I removed the vacuum-sealed bag from the water bath. It was way past dinner time, so I put it in the refrigerator for another day.
When the moment of truth arrived, I removed the corned beef from the vacuum-sealed bag, rinsed it well, and gave it a taste. Oh my – it was fork-tender and full of flavor!
I patted the corned beef dry and cut the layer of fat off the top. Then, I wrapped the corned beef in aluminum foil and heated it in a 375°F oven for about 20 minutes. For serving, I cut the corned beef into pieces.
Irish Fried Cabbage
I had parted with tradition in how corned beef is normally cooked. Therefore, I thought I would part with tradition in how I cooked the cabbage. Rather than boil the cabbage, I decided to fry it with onions and top it with crispy bacon.
- First, I cut some thick sliced bacon into ½-inch pieces and cooked it over medium heat until it was crispy brown. This took about 10 minutes.
- Then, I drained the bacon on paper towels and poured the fat from the skillet.
- I returned about a tablespoon of the bacon fat to the skillet and sautéed some chopped onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes until they began to soften.
- Next, I added the chopped cabbage, some salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- I continued cooking the mixture over medium heat for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until the cabbage was nicely softened.
- Finally, I sprinkled on the cooked bacon.
Finishing the Meal
I served the Sous Vide Corned Beef with Irish Cabbage, steamed creamer potatoes and carrots, Irish Guinness Brown Soda Bread, and creamy horseradish sauce on the side.
The Sous Vide Corned Beef was moist, flavorful, and fork-tenderand the Irish Fried Cabbage was absolutely delicious and was a complement to a perfect St. Patrick’s Day meal. Yum!
Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
Corned beef is generally a piece of beef brisket that has been cured in a brine solution made of salt, sugar, and spices. The brine solution gives the beef a salty, slightly sweet flavor and a distinctive pink color.
I never soak the corned beef before cooking it. However, you can soak it to help reduce the saltiness. To soak corned beef, place it in a bowl of cold water and refrigerate it for several hours, changing the water every few hours. Soaking time can vary from 1 to 24 hours.
Corned beef is often served with boiled or roasted potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and other vegetables. It can also be sliced and used as a sandwich filling.
Once cooked, the corned beef can be frozen. To freeze corned beef, place it in an airtight container or freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to three months.
Corned beef can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days if it has been properly cooked and stored in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Don’t be tempted to Sous Vide the corned beef in its packaging from the grocery store. The packaging isn’t designed to withstand the heat from the cooking. I like to discard the liquid in the package and the packet of spices.
- The best cut of corned beef is the flat cut. It’s long and thin with a thick layer of fat on top that keeps the meat moist when cooked. The flat cut is the most likely cut you will find at the grocery store and is best for slicing.
- Before cooking, I don’t remove any of the fat from the corned beef. Once the corned beef has cooked, scraping the fat off the top is easy.
- You can also use regular bacon for the fried cabbage if you don’t have thick-cut bacon.
- Oftentimes, I refrigerate the Sous Vide corned beef once it comes out of the water bath. When I’m ready to serve it, I remove it from the vacuum-sealed bag, rinse and pat it dry, wrap it in aluminum foil, and heat it in a 375°F oven for about 20 minutes to take the chill off.
- For a special treat, serve the corned beef with creamy horseradish sauce (½ cup low-fat sour cream, 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar, ⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt, and pinch of freshly ground black pepper).
- The leftover Sous Vide Corned Beef is just as good, and it makes amazing sandwiches and other corned beef dishes!
What to do with Leftover Corned Beef
Sous Vide Corned Beef is amazing. Equally amazing are some of my favorite recipes using leftover corned beef.
I first posted this amazing recipe in March of 2017, and updated it in February of 2023. This repost contains all new pictures and updated text, but with the same great recipe.
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Sous Vide Corned Beef With Irish Fried Cabbage
- Immersion Circulator
- Large container to hold the water and the corned beef.
Sous Vide Corned Beef
- 3 to 4 pounds corned beef brisket, rinsed and patted dry (See Tips 1, 2, and 3)
Irish Fried Cabbage
- 4 slices thick bacon, about 5 ounces cut into ½-inch pieces (See Tip 4)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- ½ small head of cabbage, chopped (about 4 cups)
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sous Vide Corned Beef
- Vacuum seal corned beef brisket. Submerge in a temperature-controlled water bath at 180°F. Cook for 10 hours. Remove from the water bath. Either refrigerate for another day or remove from the vacuum seal package. Rinse well and pat dry. Remove the fat layer, slice, and serve. (See Tips 5, 6, and 7)
Irish Fried Cabbage
- Cook bacon over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet until crispy brown, about 10 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels; set aside. Pour fat from skillet
- Return 1 tablespoon of fat to skillet. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cabbage begins to soften, about 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle cooked bacon on top of cabbage and serve.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
- Don’t be tempted to Sous Vide the corned beef in its packaging from the grocery store. The packaging isn’t designed to withstand the heat from the cooking. I like to discard the liquid in the package as well as the packet of spices.
- The best cut of corned beef is the flat cut. It’s long and thin with a thick layer of fat on top that keeps the meat moist when cooked. The flat cut is the most likely cut that you will find at the grocery store and is best for slicing.
- I don’t remove any of the fat from the corned beef before cooking it. Once the corned beef has cooked, it is easy to scrape the fat off the top.
- You can also use regular bacon if you don’t have thick cut bacon.
- Oftentimes, I refrigerate the Sous Vide corned beef once it comes out of the water bath. When I’m ready to serve it, I remove it from the vacuum sealed bag, rinse and pat it dry, wrap it in aluminum foil and heat it in a 375°F oven for about 20 minutes to take the chill off it.
- For a special treat, serve the corned beef with creamy horseradish sauce (½ cup low fat sour cream, 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar, ⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt and pinch of freshly ground black pepper).
- The leftovers are just as good, and make amazing sandwiches!