Thanks, Guts and Champagne.
C: ''MsMarm, what cut did you buy and how big was it?"
M: The shape was rectangular and (from memory) @ 3lb which fit my 5qt (5 1/2?) LC from side to side. It was in a cryovacked package.
C: "I'm probably telling you things you already know. Like you, I cook my corned beef (I buy the flat cuts) in my Le Creuset pots on top of the stove. You have to keep the heat really low which means checking fairly often. As you know, the heat conduction in LC is extremely good. I find I have to be careful since even a low heat with LC can be a little too high if I'm not careful. I monitor the simmering and try to turn the meat every half hour or so in the liquid."
M: I did, in fact, turn it twice. Since when covered with water, it floated, so I used a cast iron bacon flattener as a weight to keep it under the water. I started with cold water covering, brought it up to bubbles barely happening, and kept it there. The wooden handle on the bacon flattener prevented the lid to seal, so there was about 1/4" opening, but still maintaining consistent heat. Was partially covering the LC a problem? Was weighting down the slab of beef wrong?
C: "My guess is you're either cooking it with too high of a simmer or not cooking it long enough (which is why I'm curious about the size you cooked)."
M: All tolled, the cooking time was about 2 1/2 hours. And yes, we DID cut across the grain after giving it a 10 minute rest - the meat was pretty dense.
We're also in the habit of using an electric knife to cut slices as thin as possible, but it never comes out as thin as the professional rotary slicers (meat, cheese) in a deli. About the only other meat we use an electric knife for is tri-tip. Well, that's not true - we also use an electric knife for clean cuts of meatloaf.
Not long ago Melinda spoke about tenderness of cuts of meat being variable and not predictable - luck of the draw: some are just gonna be tough and others tender - could this idea apply to cuts like those for corned beef?
Champagne, your recipe looks delicious. From your mise en place, how long in the kitchen until the dish is done?