Spring just isn’t complete without a healthy serving of corned beef. It’s too hard to resist!
But what happens if you want to stock up on corned beef or you have leftovers.
Can you store it in the freezer, or do you have to gorge yourself on leftover corned beef within a few days?
What Is Corned Beef?
Contrary to popular belief, corned beef has nothing to do with corn. It refers to the salt grains size.
In short, corned beef is beef brisket that’s been cured by rubbing it with corns of salt and then brined in a solution.
Like bacon, sodium nitrate is what gives corned beef its characteristic color. Not only does sodium nitrate inhibit bacterial growth, but it’s also a common ingredient in hotdogs and ham.
Pickling spices such as peppercorns, garlic, sugar, or bay leaves may also be added to the brine to add additional flavor.
Like brisket, corned beef is best when it’s cooked low and slow.
You will end up with the most stunning cut of beef with a beautiful pink hue that is filled with delicious briny flavor.
Carrots, cabbage, or potatoes almost always accompany corned beef; however, you can also use it to make sandwiches.
Can You Freeze Corned Beef
Now let’s get to the pressing question at hand: can you freeze corned beef? In short, yes, you can freeze corned beef.
Nevertheless, seasoned culinary veterans advise against freezing corned beef.
These experts assert that freezing corned beef may impact its texture and flavor.
The salt used to cure the corned beef can alter the texture of the brisket, and freezing the corned beef could cause more textural changes.
I, however, believe that you can freeze corned beef with minimal taste and textural changes.
Whether it is raw or cooked corned beef, I think it freezes well.
Nonetheless, corned beef lasts in the fridge for several days, so you do not have to use it if you are going to cook it within a few days.
Can You Freeze Corned Beef Slices?
In the same way, you can freeze a whole slab or corned beef; you can also freeze sliced corned beef.
However, I must mention that corned beef slices are more likely to break apart since they are more fragile than canned corned beef.
This is why I recommend carving only as much corned beef as you need.
You will be able to freeze the whole portion of corned beef and keep it intact instead of ending up with broken slices of meat.
Nevertheless, this is not a significant issue as it does not impact the flavor of the corned beef, and you can pile it onto a burger roll.
Can You Freeze Tinned Corned Beef?
Of course, you freeze tinned corned beef. But the only caveat is that the can of corned beef must be open.
Metals can oxidize and rust in moist environments such as the freezer and cause a potential food hazard.
That’s why it’s best to store commercially canned foods such as corned beef should in cool, dry places like a cupboard or pantry.
Once you open the canned corned beef, you can store it in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for a long-term storage option.
Can You Freeze Packet Corned Beef?
Packet or deli-style corned beef is freezable.
Packet corned beef is almost always found in grocery stores or delis and usually comes in large servings, so it’s not surprising you’d want to freeze it.
It’s similar to sliced homemade corned beef in that it can also break up, but it will still be safe to consume.
How to Freeze Corned Beef?
Freezing corned beef is simple and easy. If you are working with whole corned beef, it should be encased in a double layer of plastic wrap.
The double-layer will make sure the corned beef is not exposed to air which can cause freezer burn.
Next, place the corned beef into a large freezer bag and press the excess air out of the bag.
Seal the freezer bag and write today’s date on the corned beef, so you will know when it was frozen.
Place the corned beef into the coldest part of the freezer.
The middle section of the freezer near the back is usually the coldest section of the freezer.
Do not place anything heavy like brisket, pork butt, or rack of ribs on top of the corned beef.
These items will smush the corned beef down.
In contrast, if you are working with sliced corned beef, you will want to cut slices of parchment paper to place in between each piece of corned beef.
The parchment paper will prevent the corned beef slices from sticking together.
In addition to this, it also makes it easier to remove the amount of corned beef you need so you do not have to that the entire thing.
Arrange the parchment paper in between each slice of corned beef and form small stacks of meat.
Wrap each pile of meat with a double layer of corned beef, then place them into a freezer-safe bag or a freezer-safe plastic container.
Seal the corned beef and label it with today’s date before setting it in the freezer.
How to Thaw Corned Beef?
Before you reheat or cook your corned beef, you must thaw it. The best way to defrost corned beef is in the freezer overnight.
Use the corned beef within two days after it was thawed in the fridge, and do not refreeze corned beef that has already been frozen.
I do not recommend thawing corned beef in the microwave.
If you are working with raw corned beef, it will start to cook parts of the meat while others remain ice cold.
In contrast, if you are reheating leftover corned beef, it could dry out the corned beef.
Unfortunately, some people do not believe in freezing corned beef.
However, you can freeze corned beef with little to no damage.
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I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.