Corned beef is
beef that is first pickled in brine and then
cooked by boiling. Usually, cuts of meat are
used that feature long muscle grain, such as
The name corned beef is due to a coarse salt
used in the pickling process. Corn
originally meant grain, as in a small
particle of something, and referred to the
corns of salt. Corned beef does not actually
contain corn, as is sometimes believed.
In the United States
In the United States, corned beef is often
purchased at delicatessens. Perhaps the most
famous sandwich made with it is the Reuben
sandwich, consisting of corned beef, Swiss
cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on
rye bread and served hot.
Reuben would not use Swiss Cheese.
It is also associated with Saint Patrick's
Day when Irish Americans eat a traditional
meal of corned beef and cabbage. According
to the History Channel, while cabbage has
long been a traditional food item for the
Irish, corned beef serving as a substitute
for Irish bacon, first became traditional in
the late 1800s. Irish immigrants living in
New York City's Lower East Side learned
about this cheaper alternative to bacon from
their Jewish neighbors.
Corned beef hash is commonly served as a
breakfast food with eggs.
New York style corned beef is called
pastrami, which is highly spiced.
Montreal style corned beef is called smoked
meat, or less commonly, smoked beef.
In other countries
In the United Kingdom corned beef is
normally bought in canned form, and usually
regarded as a 'cheap' foodstuff. Most of it
is sourced from Brazil and Argentina. It is
common in the United States in this form, as
well. It is known in UK military circles as
In Denmark corned beef is alternatively
known as either saltked (lit. "cured meat")
or sprængt oksebryst (lit. "lightly salted
beef brisket"). Traditional uses of the two
are distinctive. Saltkød is used as a cold
cut (pålæg), and figures prominently in the
famous Danish open sandwich, smørrebrød,
called Dyrlægens natmad (lit,
"Veterinarian's midnight snack")— On a piece
of dark rye bread, a layer of liver paté (leverpostej)
is topped with a slice of corned beef (salt
kød) and a slice of meat aspic (sky). This
is all decorated with raw onion rings and
cress. Sprængt oksebryst, on the other hand,
is often served warm, as well as cold. It is
traditionally served warm with boiled
potatoes, horseradish sauce and pickles, a
mixture of chopped, pickled vegetables
(cauliflower, carrots, onion) in a yellow
19th century corned beef recipe
Fifty pounds (23 kg) of beef
Three pounds of coarse salt
One ounce of saltpeter
Three-quarters of a pound of sugar
Two gallons of water
Mix the above ingredients together and pour
over the meat. Cover the tub closely.
Corned beef is sometimes used as a euphemism
for the slang term cock block, particularly
in the midwestern United States.