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Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage is the quintessential meal to serve on St. Patrick’s Day, but only if you are in America – more about that later! Once a year, these two unlikely characters combine to make a meal fit for a Saint.

This year, why not change things up a bit? Consider making my recipe for Corned Beef using a Sous Vide cooker. Don’t worry if you don’t own a Sous Vide Cooker, I have included how to accomplish this recipe without one.

Also, instead of grabbing a pot, throwing some water and chopped cabbage into it, try something a little different. Try slow cooking thick slices of Cabbage along with some magical ingredients that will give it a tangy smokiness! This can be done by following my recipe for Slow Cooker Cabbage.

Background of Corned Beef and Cabbage

Did the Irish First Discover it in New York?

Corned Beef and Cabbage is not from Ireland. I repeat NOT from Ireland. It is in fact an Irish American creation. However bacon and Cabbage is an Irish dish. Some historians state the when Irish immigrants arrived in America in the late 19th century, they found bacon to be too expensive and so substituted it with Corned Beef. The Corned Beef the Irish immigrants were eating was a Jewish style of beef brisket.

Or Was it First Produced in Ireland?

Other historians state in the mid 17th century, most of the beef was exported to England. The amount left was unaffordable to the Irish. The introduction of the Irish Cattle Bill in the autumn of 1666, was to help the English landowners produce their own beef. As a result, the exportation of Irish beef to England could no longer take place. Irish beef remained on Irish soil. This drove down cattle prices in Ireland and made the meat more abundant and affordable for everyone. So now the Irish had low cost beef on their hands and quite a bit of it too, they had to learn how to preserve it. The corning of beef therefore became popular.

Believe it or not, the city of Cork, in southern Ireland, became the center of the corned beef trade . Manufacturing plants in Cork were responsible for corning the beef and therefore preserving it for shipment to the British Empire. This had an effect of repeating history, as over half of the beef in the country, was once again being exported as far away as the West Indies, New York and Philadelphia. Back in Ireland, the price for beef spiked, making if once again unaffordable for the Irish. As a result, they found a new meat to like – pork.

So looking back through history, it is clear that Corned Beef had its time in Ireland, but it was not eaten by the Irish, as they would have eaten fresh beef.

Now that we’ve cleared up that Corned Beef and Cabbage is not Irish, other myths to dispel include leprechauns, faeries and Finn MacCool not being real! You’ll have to do your own research on that last one!


  • Corned Beef: fresh, available at supermarkets in a vacuum sealed plastic pouch.
  • Pickling spice: save the packet that comes with the Corned Beef.
  • Cabbage: fresh, green, preferably organic.
  • Balsamic vinegar.
  • Liquid smoke.
  • Salt.
  • Garlic powder.
  • Carrots: 12oz fresh carrots preferably organic.
  • Potatoes: 1 lb small red.
  • Olive oil: 1 tbsp.


Corned Beef Preparation

The most difficult part of this meal, is the co-ordination of all the foods being served hot at the same time. Below is a table showing the logistical timing for all the ingredients to be ready for a 6 pm meal time.

Follow the recipe for Sous Vide Corned Beef. The preparation of the Corned Beef can be done the day before. Alternatively, the preparation and cooking of the Corned Beef can be completed a day ahead and reheated the day of consumption. There’s more about that in the recipe.

Vacuumed seal bag containing Corned Beef in a water bath with a Sous Vide cooker.
Vacuumed seal bag containing Corned Beef in a water bath with a Sous Vide cooker.

Slow Cooker Cabbage

The next step is to prepare the Slow Cooker Cabbage. Prepare the Cabbage according to the recipe and decide whether you want to slow cook the Cabbage for 4 or 8 hours.

Slices of raw green cabbage being placed into the slow cooker with water and other ingredients in it.
Slices of raw green cabbage being placed into the slow cooker.

Carrots and Potatoes

Peel the carrots and cut into chunks or leave whole as I did. Wash the red potatoes.

The final 45 minutes of slow cooking the Cabbage (on high temperature), throw in half the potatoes and all of the carrots. If you are slow cooking the Cabbage on low, then the potatoes and carrots need to be added in 90 minutes before the time is done.

With the remaining red potatoes, use the recipe for Air Fryer Red Potatoes to roast them. Feel free to add or delete the dried herbs. In this recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage, I prepared the potatoes without herbs.

Bowl of finished Air Fryer Potatoes
Bowl of finished Air Fryer Potatoes

This table should help with the timing logistics for Corned Beef and Cabbage to be served at 6 pm:

Corned Beef in the water bath with the Sous Vide cooker8:00 am
Cabbage in the Slow Cooker on low10:00 am
Cabbage in the Slow Cooker on high2:00 pm
Add all the carrots and half the red potatoes to the Slow Cooker on low4:30 pm
Add all the carrots and half the red potatoes to the Slow Cooker on high5:15 pm
Air fry the rest of the red potatoes 5:40 pm

Serving the Corned Beef and Cabbage

Serve the meal on a platter or individually on plates, with sliced Soda Bread and Irish butter. The quantities given will yield 4 generous portions.

For dessert consider Irish Apple Cake and a lovely cup tea!


4 Replies to “Corned Beef and Cabbage”

  • Pat
    March 16, 2023
    This is a great recipe post, Gillian! I know it was delicious <3
    1. Gillian
      March 16, 2023
      It was, thank you!
  • Ron and Jennifer Seamon
    March 17, 2023
    We really like the timeline! also the history is amusing. Thanks!
    1. Gillian
      March 17, 2023
      Thanks for the comment! Hope you enjoy this wonderful 'Irish American' feast!

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