corned beef & cabbage st pattys day

Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipe | A Gift from My Dad!

Of all my childhood memories, some of the best are cooking with my dad. Since as long as I can remember I’ve been his sous-chef. Chopping, stirring, tasting. It’s one of our favorite activities! Most of the time we find some old grandma’s recipe (because that’s how you know it’s good) and work from there. Occasionally, however, my dad puts all his expertise to work and makes his own recipe. So when I was talking to him this weekend and heard he was making his own recipe for Corned Beef & Cabbage, I knew I had to share it with you!

Why do we eat Corned Beef & Cabbage on St. Patty’s Day?

corned beef & Cabbage

Our family is mostly German, but we do have a little bit of green running through our blood. Plus, like I said, we like to eat good food. But as I was putting this recipe together for you, I became curious. Why is Corned Beef & Cabbage the traditional Irish meal?

Turns out it isn’t.

Irish people in Ireland typically eat bacon or lamb on their patron saint’s feast day. In fact, they didn’t even eat beef almost at all in the homeland. Cows were too expensive and needed for their strength in the fields. Apparently the tradition started once the Irish started arriving in the U.S. They settled in the same neighborhoods as a lot of Jewish people, and since they were close, started shopping almost exclusively at kosher butchers. As a celebratory splurge, they grabbed some corned beef and discovered that it tasted amazing with cabbage, potatoes,and carrots!

That is a very cliff-notes version of the story, but you can read a more lengthy article from the Smithsonian magazine if you’re interested by clicking this link.

The Recipe

If you’ve never made corned beef & cabbage at home, now is the time! This recipe is straightforward, delicious, and sure to be a hit with the whole family.

The recipe itself is quite simple. Boil your brisket and chop your veggies. After that you simmer some more, and eat! But before you start chopping and boiling, make sure you look through the ingredients list. There are some Irish surprises in there!

Dad’s Corned Beef & Cabbage

Serving Size:
4 hours


  • 4 lb flat cut brisket (pre brained)
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2 lbs carrots
  • 2 lbs fingerling potatoes
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 bottle Guinness Stout (cheers!)
  • Water
  • Spice Blend
    • 2 tsp black peppercorns
    • 2 tsp mustard seed
    • 2 tsp coriander
    • 1 tsp Anise seed
    • 1 tsp whole cloves
    • 1 tsp red pepper flake
    • 2 Bay leaves


  1. Remove brisket from package and rinse the pickling solution off well with cold water.
  2. Place the brisket in a large pot or Dutch oven fat side down (will trim any remaining fat after cooking). Add bottle of Guinness and enough water to just cover the brisket. Simmering corned beef and onions
  3. Bring water to a boil. Then turn to low heat (simmer). Foam and scum will rise to the top. Skim off. Add two onions (quartered with root tip still attached to hold onions together) around the brisket. Add three whole cloves of garlic. Sprinkle spice blend across brisket, cover and simmer on low heat for two hours.
  4. Peel carrots and cut in 3-4 inch lengths. Cut cabbage into quarters, retaining stem to hold pieces together. chopped veggies for corned beef & cabbage
  5. After cooking two hours, add fingerling potatoes and carrots. Cook another 30 minutes.
  6. Add Cabbage. Cook another 30 minutes or until cabbage is tender.
  7. Remove brisket from liquid, cover with foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Slice pieces across the grain, or just shred, to your liking.
  8. With a slotted spoon remove vegetables (avoid garlic cloves if they haven’t melted) to bowl or serving dish. Add some cooking liquid with a large spoon avoiding large spice pieces. Nobody wants to bite into a peppercorn…
  9. Serve.

Taitneamh a bhaint as do chuid béile! (that means “Enjoy your meal!”)

How are you celebrating your St. Patricks’ Day? Tag me in any photos you post on Instagram or Facebook @sweetgumspot, and follow me while you’re there! I look forward to sharing our journey toward handmade, homegrown, and from scratch living together!