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The optimal cooking time for corned beef in a slow cooker depends on the size of the corned beef brisket and whether you want the meat to be fall-apart tender or sliceable. Here's a breakdown:

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The optimal cooking time for corned beef in a slow cooker depends on the size of the corned beef brisket and whether you want the meat to be fall-apart tender or sliceable. Here's a breakdown:

Cooking Time:

  • For a 3-4 pound corned beef brisket:
    • Fall-apart tender: 8-10 hours on low.
    • Sliceable: 6-8 hours on low.
  • For a 5-7 pound corned beef brisket:
    • Fall-apart tender: 10-12 hours on low.
    • Sliceable: 8-10 hours on low.

Considerations:

  • Starting temperature: If you start with a cold corned beef, it might take an additional 30-60 minutes to reach the desired doneness.
  • Desired internal temperature: The safest internal temperature for cooked corned beef is 160°F (71°C). You can use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat.
  • Recipe variations: Different recipes might have slightly varying recommendations for cooking times. It's always recommended to consult the specific recipe you're following for any adjustments.

Here's the general process for cooking corned beef in a slow cooker:

  1. Place the corned beef brisket in the slow cooker.
  2. Add the seasoning packet that typically comes with the corned beef. You can also add additional vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and onions to the slow cooker for a complete meal (optional).
  3. Pour in enough water or beef broth to cover the corned beef halfway.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for the recommended time based on the size and desired doneness.
  5. Once cooked, check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. If it reaches 160°F (71°C), it's safe to consume.
  6. Let the corned beef rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting or shredding. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in more flavorful and tender meat.

Additional tips:

  • You can sear the corned beef briefly in a pan over medium-high heat before placing it in the slow cooker for added flavor (optional).
  • You can also cook corned beef on high for half the recommended time on low. However, using the low setting is generally recommended as it results in more even cooking and better flavor development.
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