The Origins of Corned Beef
Corned Beef appears in the meat aisles of local grocers a few weeks before St. Patrick’s Day each year. Uncommon as this meat is, we scoop it up, bring it home to share with family, dig out our favorite recipe, and relish in the flavor of the meat and the fun of celebrating the Irish.
Two Different Traditions: Old World and New World
Corned Beef is a relatively ‘new’ phenomenon and one that is specific to the Irish emigrants of America. In Ireland, you are much more likely to enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day feast with Bacon as the main meat. During the great famine in Ireland and the mass emigration to America, the Irish found beef more affordable than pork and the tradition of corning beef quickly became an Irish-American tradition.
What is “Corned Beef?”
Corning meat is an age-old method used prior to the availability of refrigeration to preserve precious meats for year round use. Salt and brines were used as a means of curing and preserving meat. The Irish had always corned their meats, though usually Pork.
What is “Corning” and where does the word “Corned” come from?
The term “corning” refers to the actual salting of the meat. The individual grains of salt used would often be as large as the size of single corn kerns – hence the term “corning”.
What are the best ways to cook Corned Beef?
Corned Beef requires long, moist cooking. We suggest stove top with fat side up covered in water/beer 3 inches above the meat. Bring to a boil; then reduce to a simmer, allowing about 1 hour per pound. “Fork-tender” is a good indication of doneness, although you can test for a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Allow your meat to rest a minimum of 20 minutes after removing from the heat; this will allow the juices to settle and make your slicing easier. Also, be sure to cut the meat diagonally across the grain of the meat.