Save The Leftover Corned Beef, Make A Reuben

It wouldn’t be St. Patty’s Day without corned beef and cabbage, but you might already be wondering what to do with all your leftovers. This year, I realized that my favorite thing about the holiday is actually the day after. For lots of folks, the day after involves a wee bit of a headache from green beer, but for me it’s all about transforming my leftover corned beef into an amazing Reuben sandwich.

Legend has it that this delicious sandwich was dreamed up in 1925 by an Omaha grocer to feed late night poker players. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Reuben – it’s one of my dad’s favorites – and it was one of the first things I learned to cook when I transitioned from dishwasher to cook during my first gig in the restaurant industry.

We changed up the traditional corned beef a little this year and brined beef tongues as well as the traditional brisket. The beef sat in brine for nine days and then was slowly cooked for almost three hours. Both the brisket and tongues were tender and delicious, but the tongue turned out to be the kitchen’s favorite. We’ve used Alton Brown’s brine recipe, which has become my go-to.

Our version includes: toasted rye bread, homemade Thousand Island dressing, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thinly sliced corned beef tongue.  This Reuben is extraordinary when paired with our Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Riesling.

How to Make Corned Beef Tongue Reuben Sandwiches

Serve with Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Riesling
If you prefer, corned beef brisket may be used instead of beef tongue. This recipe assumes you have already brined your corned beef.

Makes 8 sandwiches.


  • 2 (2 to 2½ lb.) cooked beef tongues, peeled and trimmed after cooking
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 16 slices of rye bread
  • 8 – 16 slices Swiss cheese (depending on how much cheese you like)
  • 2 cups sauerkraut
  • 1 pint of Thousand Island dressing (recipe below)


  1. Spread butter onto each slice of rye bread.  In a sauté pan, arrange bread in a single layer, buttered side down.  Place 1 to 2 slices of Swiss cheese on half of the rye bread slices.  Cook over medium-low heat until bread is golden brown and the cheese is slightly melted.  Remove bread from pan and keep warm.
  2. In a separate sauté pan, melt remaining butter and add 2 pounds of thinly sliced corned beef tongue.  Reheat over medium heat for 5 minutes or until beef is warmed through.  Remove beef from pan and add sauerkraut.  Cook for 2 minutes or until warm.

To assemble sandwiches:

  1. Place 4 ounces of thinly sliced corned beef tongue on the cheese side of the bread.  Top with 2 ounces of sauerkraut.  Spread 2 tablespoons of Thousand Island dressing on the remaining slices of toasted bread and place on top of each sandwich.

For the Thousand Island dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (some people like chili sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp. Wickles pickle relish (our favorite)
  • 1 Tbsp. red onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt

Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate until needed or up to 1 week.