Q. Deli girl here again! My roommate brought home some corned beef from work that she says will go great with the cheese she brought home the other day. We both really like corned beef sandwiches, but the package she brought home contains enough corned beef to last us for a couple of months. I’ve never heard of anyone freezing luncheon meat before, so I’m not sure if it’s a good idea. It’s good quality meat, so I don’t want to ruin it. Can you freeze corned beef?
A. You’re in luck! Corned beef can be safely frozen, whether in a large piece or already sliced. It shouldn’t be frozen for more than 2-3 months in order to keep its taste and texture intact, but otherwise there aren’t any issues with freezing corned beef. If the corned beef is a piece that is packaged in water or brine, first drain off the liquid and then pat the beef dry before continuing with the freezing process.
How to freeze corned beef?
A corned beef brisket (or piece of corned beef) should be wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap, ensuring that no piece of the meat is exposed to the air. Then, place the wrapped corned beef into a freezer bag. Squeeze out the excess air and then seal and date the bag. Place in the bag of the freezer where the temperature is the most consistently cold. Do not place anything heavy on top of the package to avoid squishing the corned beef.
To freeze sliced corned beef, cut pieces of parchment paper to lay between the slices. This prevents the slices from sticking together in the freezer and allows for easier removal of just the right amount for a serving size if not thawing the whole amount. Lay a slice of parchment paper between the corned beef slices, forming small stacks. Wrap each stack in a double layer of plastic wrap, and then place the stack either into a freezer bag or a rigid freezer-safe container. Seal the bag or container, then label and date it. Place in the freezer.
To thaw, remove the desired amount of corned beef from the freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge for several hours or overnight. It is not recommended to thaw in the microwave, as it may dry out the meat. Use within two days of thawing for best results. Never refreeze previously frozen corned beef.