Corned Beef and Cabbage

Our annual St. Patrick's Day party is one of my favorite childhood memories. Every year my parents would throw a party to celebrate this fun holiday that has absolutely nothing to do with our heritage - just a fun excuse to get people together and eat great food!

This recipe has been in my family for years - I'm not even sure how long! Definitely 30+ ...and now it's yours! :)

Anytime I make this meal for St. Patrick's Day I am taken back to so many rich memories of dinner parties with my parents friends....running around and playing with the other kids, eating corned beef sandwiches the next day, and accidentally gulping down beer that I thought was water! I think I was about 6 years old and I started freaking out! Haha!

Just smelling the meat cooking makes me think of my dad...the spices and everything combined smell of him, to me, and bring me such comfort. Isn't it so strange how food - tastes and smells - can bring back so many vivid memories? I think music is the same way...I love that! 

We're keeping this tradition alive and having a party of our own this year! We're inviting friends and making it an early dinner party so family's can feel free to bring their kiddos and hang out for a bit without feeling like their kids are missing bedtimes. We are providing the corned beef, cabbage and potatoes and asking friends to bring a side or drink to share! I've listed some possible add on's after the recipe if you want to do the same. Since we want this to be kid-friendly, I'm going to put out a little craft for the kiddos to participate in. 



Serves approx. 10              Cook time: 5 hours

  • 1 (6-7 pound) vacuum packed corned beef * 
  • 3 tablespoons pickling spices
  • 2 cans of beer
  • 5-6 Yukon gold potatoes 
  • 1 medium head of cabbage

Optional Add-on's to this meal:

  • Seedless rye bread with butter
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sliced pickles or sauerkraut 

* Notes: Select a piece of brisket corned beef that is fairly even all the way around with a layer of fat on one side. Do not buy if it is not a whole piece - separated or broken meat will not cook the same way. 


  1. Open the package of meat, rinse under cold water and place fat side up in a large stock pot. Fill the pot about half way with water. Empty the package of spices that are packed with the meat into the water along with the additional pickling spices. 
  2. Add the beer to the water.
  3. Bring everything to a boil and then lower the heat until it starts to simmer. Cover the pot and simmer meat for about 4 hours or until tender enough for a fork to run through it.
  4. Remember to check the heat at least every hour to make sure the water maintains a slight rolling simmer. 
  5. When the meat is cooked, carefully lift it out of the water (so it does not break) and place on aluminum foil and wrap it up. Let the meat "rest" while you cook the potatoes and cabbage.
  6. Pour off about 1/2 of the liquid and place the potatoes with the skins on in to the water. Make sure the water is not fully covering the potatoes.
  7. Cover the pot again and cook potatoes for about 15 minutes. 
  8. Cut cabbage into quarters or eighths and gently lay on top of the cooking potatoes. Cover the pot and cook and additional 15 minutes. 
  9. By the time the potatoes are cooked the cabbage should be steamed. You want the cabbage to have a bright green color. Not raw but yet not fully cooked. Overcooked cabbage will not smell or taste great! The potatoes should be fork tender and have slight cracking. 
  10. To slice the meat, remove from foil and place on your cutting board, fat side up.  Slice against the grain, about 1/8th of an inch for each slice. If possible use an electric knife, but if you don't have one, a serrated knife will be fine. 

Do you celebrate this fun holiday in anyway? I'd love to hear your ideas!