How to Cut Corned Beef?

Corned beef, a staple in many cuisines, is a flavorful and hearty dish perfect for various occasions. Whether you’re preparing a classic corned beef and cabbage meal or crafting mouthwatering sandwiches, knowing how to properly cut corned beef is essential for achieving the best results. In this guide, we’ll explore the process of cutting corned beef step by step, along with tips and tricks to ensure your slices are perfect every time.

Introduction to Corned Beef

Corned beef is a beef brisket cured in a brine solution, typically containing salt, sugar, and spices. This curing process not only flavors the meat but also helps tenderize it, resulting in succulent and savory slices.

how to cut corned beef
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Understanding Corned Beef Cuts

Before diving into the cutting process, it’s essential to understand the different cuts of corned beef available. The two main cuts are the point cut and the flat cut.

  • Point Cut: This cut is fattier and contains more marbling, resulting in a juicier texture. It’s often preferred for slow cooking methods like braising.
  • Flat Cut: Also known as the “first cut,” this leaner option is ideal for slicing against the grain and is commonly used for sandwiches and platters.

Preparing Corned Beef

Ingredients Needed

  • Corned beef brisket
  • Water
  • Spices (included with the corned beef or additional seasoning of choice)

Equipment Required

  • Sharp carving knife
  • Cutting board
  • Tongs or fork

Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting Corned Beef

Preparing the Corned Beef

  1. Remove the corned beef brisket from its packaging and rinse it under cold water to remove excess brine.
  2. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels to ensure a better grip during slicing.

Identifying the Grain

  1. Examine the surface of the brisket to determine the direction of the muscle fibers, also known as the grain.
  2. The grain typically runs in one direction along the length of the brisket.

Slicing Techniques

  1. Place the brisket on the cutting board with the grain running parallel to the edge of the board.
  2. Using a sharp carving knife, slice the brisket against the grain into thin, even pieces. Cutting against the grain helps break up the muscle fibers, resulting in tender slices.

Tips for Perfectly Cut Corned Beef

  • Use a Sharp Knife: A sharp knife ensures clean cuts and prevents shredding or tearing of the meat.
  • Chill the Brisket: For easier slicing, consider chilling the cooked brisket in the refrigerator for a few hours before cutting.
  • Slice Thinly: Thin slices of corned beef are more tender and enjoyable to eat.

Serving Suggestions

Once you’ve mastered the art of cutting corned beef, there are numerous ways to enjoy this delectable dish. Serve it alongside cabbage, potatoes, and carrots for a traditional Irish meal, or pile it high on rye bread with mustard for a classic deli sandwich.


Learning how to cut corned beef properly is a valuable skill that enhances both the presentation and taste of this beloved dish. By following the steps outlined in this guide and incorporating helpful tips, you can slice corned beef like a pro and elevate your culinary creations.


1. Can I freeze leftover corned beef?

Yes, leftover corned beef can be frozen for future use. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag.

2. How long will corned beef last in the refrigerator?

Corned beef can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days if properly stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

3. Can I use corned beef for other recipes besides sandwiches and stews?

Absolutely! Corned beef can be used in various recipes, including salads, casseroles, and hash.

4. Is it necessary to soak corned beef before cooking?

Soaking corned beef in water before cooking can help reduce its saltiness. However, if you prefer a more intense flavor, you can skip this step.

5. What should I do with the leftover cooking liquid from the corned beef?

The leftover cooking liquid, or broth, can be used as a flavorful base for soups, stews, or sauces.

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