The Pioneer Woman's Corned Beef Rule You Should Never Break

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, so it's time to think about the traditional corned beef dinner you're planning for the occasion. Wait, hold that thought: St. Patrick's Day is almost here, and there's no time to cure your own corned beef. That process takes a week to 10 days (via The Pioneer Woman), and our calendar tells us March 17 is coming sooner than that.

That's too bad because Alton Brown has an "easy" corned beef recipe that earned a consensus (almost) five-star review from his fans. Brown's recipe on the Food Network website gives a preparation time of 10 days, three hours, 20 minutes. J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats said home-cured corned beef is better than store-bought, but his take on this St. Patrick's Day staple reads like a lecture in an upper-level college science class. As for Gordon Ramsay, he apparently doesn't even bother with corned beef because it's not an authentic St. Patrick's Day dish – not in Ireland, anyway, according to Gordon Ramsay Recipes.

There's still hope for you, however, if you're in charge of the traditional Irish-American St. Paddy's Day corned beef this year. And you even get a seal of approval from yet another celebrity chef in Ree Drummond. (Or food blogger – whether The Pioneer Woman is a chef is up for debate.)

The Pioneer Woman's rule for corned beef: Use store-bought

The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond runs a vast food empire. She has a TV show on the Food Network, a line of cookware (via the Walmart website), multiple cookbooks, and of course, the blog that started it all. The Pioneer Woman blog is alive and well still, and earlier this month Drummond posted her take on St. Patrick's Day corned beef. It's pretty clear Drummond doesn't care what a fancy-pants, big-city chef such as López-Alt says about curing your own beef at home. Follow her tips, and you don't have to start preparing your St. Patrick's Day dinner five days ago.

Drummond has a couple of important rules for making corned beef, but the biggest rule is this: Buy your corned beef already cured and packaged from the store. "No one in their right mind would ever take the time to salt-cure their own corned beef because that process takes a week to 10 days, and whole nations have been built in that time," she writes.

The other corned beef rule Drummond emphasizes: Don't take it out of the oven too early. Test it by poking it with a fork. It's done when the fork meets no resistance at all from the meat. Otherwise, she writes, your corned beef will be "tough and tragic."

We still have four more corned-beef shopping days until St. Patrick's Day, so relax. You've got time. And tell them The Pioneer Woman sent you.