The popularity of corned beef peaks over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, although this inexpensive roast made from beef brisket is available year-round. Cutting the corned beef in the proper way yields thin, even slices of the roast for an aesthetically pleasing presentation. Some cooks find that cooking corned beef the day before and slicing it cold helps keep the meat firm, although the time isn’t always available for this extra step.

Things You'll Need

Pull the meat from the roasting pan or slow cooker and let it rest, fat side down, on the cutting board for at least 10 minutes. This resting period allows the internal juices of the meat to redistribute throughout the roast, making it easier to cut, and provides a more tender cut of meat.

Sharpen a slicing or carving knife designed specifically for cutting through roasts. A sharp knife will always cut better than a dull one and allow for smoother, more complete cutting. If a slicing knife is not available, use a chef’s knife.

Look down at the roast and see which direction the muscle fibers are running. This is called the “grain” of the meat.

Put a carving fork into the middle of the meat to hold it in place. Slice the meat “against the grain,” so the cut does not result in a stringy piece of meat that does not hold form. Slice each piece about 1 inch thick or less.

Cut enough slices for the first serving, and place the remainder of the roast on a serving platter, surrounded by cabbage and small white potatoes.


  • When slicing, use gentle strokes that allow the knife to do the work. Corned beef is a very tender cut of meat that should not be forcibly sliced through as if cutting a thick-skinned melon. A gentler approach is warranted here.