Call me corney, but I love this beef
Corned beef is just like Turkey- most people only make it once a year. Why? No one knows. It’s just the way it is. Is it hard to make? no. Is it delicious? Yes. So why, I ask! Why? I have no idea. And again, just like turkey, the only thing better than dinner itself is making sure you have leftovers.
Okay so, lets talk about the beef itself. What is it, exactly?
The term “corned” basically means it is salted meat. Similar to a cured meat, like prosciutto. However where prosciutto is cured and dried, corned beaf is cured but not dried out and still requires cooking.
As for the cut of beef, it is typically the brisket cut and often comes with the fat cap still attached.
But what about that stuff in the can that is also called corned beef? Ummm… yeah, I don’t eat that stuff. And, you shouldn’t either. It’s loaded with nitrates and super high in sodium and overall, just really gross. Stick with the fresh stuff.
Hold up. “Fresh.” Well, it is and it isn’t. And it is certainly not all created equal. Like many cured meats (bacon, sausage, etc.) most corned beefs are loaded with nitrates which are a known carcinogen. I do my best to avoid them, and you should too. It’s nitrates and their nasty comrades that give some corned beef it’s well known pink color and also expands their shelf life more so than salt itself. This also keeps the price down. When you remove all that stuff, you end up with a less attractive, but more delicious, brown cut of beef. The choice is yours. I always opt for nitrate free when given the option.
Corned beef is really quite easy to make. It’s the fixings that bring it all together. I love a really good, spicy mustard and a side of cabbage. What I love more than that, is a homemade ruben sandwich. Corned beef with smothered with melted Jarlsburg cheese, covered in sauerkraut and mustard on Rye. Something about the combination of salty beef, the sour bite from the sauerkraut and the spicy punch from the mustard come to gather for a very delicious savory sandwich! Ohh… how I love a ruben. Thus, I always make double the amount of corned beef so we have plenty of leftovers!