I agree with someone (I'm not scrolling up right now to find out who!) about tradition. Mine may not be traditional Irish, but it is my family's tradition, and it is so good, why tamper with it? I boil it (well, I bring it to a boil, then simmer) with whole potatoes (peeled), whole carrots, cabbage (not whole, but quartered! lol), whole onions, and the spice pack that comes with it. It is served with lots of real butter. When I first moved to South Carolina I had a terrible time finding a store that even sold corned beef. Most of them looked at me like I was nuts, and one pointed me to the deli counter, where they sliced it for sandwiches. I moved about 60 miles north-west and now have no problem finding it.