Cut of the Month- Corned Beef

Have you ever wondered where the term corned beef came from? After some checking and discovered that it comes from salting, a preservation technique that dates back centuries. Often rock salt was used and since a kernel of rock salt looked like a corn kernel it became known as a corn of salt and the salted beef was referred to as corned beef.
Did you know that in Ireland the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal is lamb or bacon? So why do we pile our plates with corned beef on St. Patrick’s day? According to Smithsonian.com, the Brits made beef a commodity in Ireland in the 17th to mid-19th century, exporting it all over the world. At that time Irish corned beef was the best on the market. But this corned beef was much different than what we know as corned beef today.
What we call corned beef originated with early Jewish-American Corned-Beef-and-Cabbageimmigrants. They corned brisket, transforming this normally tough cut of meat into the extremely tender, flavorful corned beef we enjoy today. Irish-American immigrants substituted it for bacon, adding it to their popular Sunday dish – bacon and cabbage. A similar dish is the New England boiled dinner, consisting of corned beef, cabbage, and root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and potatoes.
Corned beef is a versatile cut of beef. Diced with potatoes and served with eggs it becomes corned beef hash. It’s a tasty addition to soups and cabbage rolls. Sliced thin, it is the key ingredient in the Reuben sandwich. Smoked it becomes one of my favorites, pastrami. However you prepare it, be sure to enjoy some corned beef this month!