We all know the dilemma. You’ve found a great special at the supermarket and you’re tempted to stock up.
But when that special is corned beef? Can you cook it and freeze it?
Well, yes you can! But to get the best results you need to do it properly.
Read on and we’ll take you through the process.
What Is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is a piece of brisket that’s cured in a salt brine.
Traditionally, this curing process was to preserve it.
Our refrigeration process has come a long way so it’s no longer necessary.
But corned beef is still a popular cut of meat for meals and sliced as deli meat for sandwiches.
Can’t find corned beef at the supermarket? Here are some substitutes for corned beef that taste similar.
Start Off on the Right Foot
Make sure the sell by date is current.
You can keep the unopened package in the fridge for up to a week, up to the sell by date.
Check the packaging is intact with no damage.
The meat should be a deep pink color, with the brine looking fresh and clear.
What’s the Best Way to Freeze Corned Beef?
Not only does freezing cut down on waste, but you’ll have sliced meat ready to go whenever you need it.
There’s a couple of steps to take to ensure the texture and flavor of the corned beef remains intact.
You can freeze cooked or uncooked corned beef brisket, whole or sliced.
Uncooked Whole Corned Beef
Start by removing the packaging and draining the excess brine solution.
The high salt content in the brine may affect the shelf life of the beef when frozen.
Drain and rinse it. Then pat the raw corned beef dry with paper towels.
Wrap it tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap. Make sure there are no exposed areas as these will lead to freezer burn.
Place the whole thing in a heavy duty freezer bag, or use vacuum sealer.
Make sure all the excess air is out of the packaging.
Seal firmly, then label with the date. Place is a secure space in the freezer.
Cooked Whole Corned Beef
If you’ve cooked up an extra piece of corned beef, you can freeze it too.
Start by draining the cooked beef as much as possible.
Then bring down the internal temperature. Place it in the refrigerator for faster cooling.
Once it’s cooled, wrap it tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap.
Then place it in a plastic zip-lock bag, or use a vacuum-sealed bag, with all the air removed.
Place it in the freezer, making sure not to stack anything heavy on top of it.
Sliced Cooked Corned Beef
Save your leftover corned beef and have beef sandwiches whenever the urge strikes!
The freezing process for corned beef slices is like a whole piece, with a couple of simple steps.
Place a piece of parchment or butcher’s paper between each slice. That will stop the pieces sticking together.
Then stack into portion sized piles. Wrap each stack in a double layer of plastic wrap.
Store in a freezer bag or a secure airtight container. Mark with the date to keep track of it.
Smoked Corned Beef
Have you tried my smoked corned beef recipe and wondering if you can freeze it? You can! It lasts 2-3 months in the freezer.
What’s the Freezer Life of Corned Beef?
You can expect the corned beef to last 2-3 months in the freezer.
Any longer than that and you run the risk of losing texture and taste.
Make sure to always date the packaging when you freeze it, so you can rotate your supplies.
The Best Way to Defrost Frozen Corned Beef
Defrosting the frozen meat is as important as the freezing process, to keep the great beef taste.
There are a couple of options for defrosting.
Place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.
Or place the beef in a baking dish with a little water. Cover and place in an oven set to 275°F until warm.
You can also place the whole beef in a slow cooker, and warm it up gently.
Steer clear of the microwave, as this tends to dry it out.
Never refreeze defrosted meat.
So stock up with confidence, knowing you can safely freeze and store your corned beef!
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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