what makes it corned beef

Corned beef is meat that has been cured in a salt solution. Before refrigeration, meat was salted and cured to be preserved. Historically, any type of meat could be put through the curing process that makes what we know as corned beef today. In the U.S., corned beef is made from beef brisket.

What Is Corned Beef?

Corned beef typically is made by salt-curing beef. Usually, brisket is used, as it is a tough cut of meat thats made tender by a long, salt-filled cooking process. The brine used to cook the brisket down into corned beef is not unlike a pickling liquid. In fact, The Spruce Eats went so far as to call corned beef “essentially pickled beef.” (The actual term “corned beef” was reportedly coined in the 17th century by the English.)

Once done with the brining process, corned beef is super tender and easily sliceable, hence why you see frequently it in sandwiches (a classic Jewish preparation) and cut up in long slices next to cabbage (an Irish tradition).

History edit

Although the exact origin of corned beef is unknown, it most likely came about when people began preserving meat through salt-curing. Evidence of its legacy is apparent in numerous cultures, including ancient Europe and the Middle East.[6] The word corn derives from Old English and is used to describe any small, hard particles or grains.[7] In the case of corned beef, the word may refer to the coarse, granular salts used to cure the beef.[6] The word “corned” may also refer to the corns of potassium nitrate, also known as saltpeter, which were formerly used to preserve the meat.[8][9][10]

Pre-20th century edit A 1898 illustration of tin of corned beef produced by

Ireland produced a significant portion of corned beef consumed in the British Empire during the early modern period, using cattle reared locally and salt imported from the Iberian Peninsula and southern France.[12] Irish port cities, such as Dublin, Belfast and Cork, became home to large-scale beef curing and packing industries, with Cork alone producing half of Irelands annual beef exports in 1668.[13] Although the consumption of corned beef carried no significant negative connotations in Europe, in European colonies in the Americas it was frequently looked upon with disdain due to being primarily consumed by poor Whites and Black slaves.[12] American social theorist Jeremy Rifkin noted the sociopolitical effect of corned beef in the British Isles during the early modern period in his 1992 book Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture:

Despite being a major producer of corned beef, the majority of the Irish population during this period, Catholic tenant farmers, consumed relatively little meat in their diets. This was due to a variety of factors, including the high costs of buying meat in Ireland and the ownership of the majority of Irish farmsby Protestant landlords, who marked most of the corned beef produced using their cattle for export. The level of meat, including corned beef, present in the Irish diet of the period decreased in areas away from major centres for corned beef production, such as Northern Ireland, while increasing in areas such as County Cork. The majority of meat consumed by working-class Irish Catholics consisted of cheap products such as salt pork, with bacon and cabbage quickly becoming one of the most common meals in Irish cuisine.[13]

Corned beef is meat that has been cured in a salt solution. Before refrigeration, meat was salted and cured to be preserved. Historically, any type of meat could be put through the curing process that makes what we know as corned beef today. In the U.S., corned beef is made from beef brisket.

FAQ

What makes corned beef different from regular beef?

Fresh beef brisket is like a big roast. Corned beef starts out as beef brisket and is brine-cured first. The brine-cure is what makes it corned beef and that curing process is where it gets its color from. At stores, beef brisket will be labeled beef brisket and have a good amount of fat on it.

Why is it called corned beef?

Corned beef, or salt beef in some Commonwealth countries, is salt-cured brisket of beef. The term comes from the treatment of the meat with large-grained rock salt, also called “corns” of salt. Sometimes, sugar and spices are added to corned beef recipes. Corned beef is featured as an ingredient in many cuisines.

What is actually in corned beef?

Corned beef is most often made from beef brisket (a relatively inexpensive, tough cut of beef) that’s been cured in a salt brine with a mix of spices, like bay leaf, peppercorns, mustard seed, juniper berries, coriander seed, and whole cloves.

What is corned beef and why is it red?

Today’s corned beef is now brined or cured using a salt water or sodium nitrite mixture, which fixes the pigment in the meat and causes it to be pink in color. That’s why corned beef remains pink after cooking, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.

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