Is Corned Beef Irish or Jewish?









St. Patrick’s Day is almost here, and we love it! We have shipped over one million pounds of corned beef in the past 3 weeks, as restaurants and consumers alike gear up for the traditional St. Paddy Day dish.

But . . . wait a minute! Isn’t corned beef a Jewish delicacy? After all, our personal roots are in the Jewish deli business, and it is sold every day at Jewish or Jewish-style delis across the country.

The truth is, most historians agree that corned beef is not a purely Irish dish. It was adopted by Irish-American immigrants as a cheap alternative to bacon. In Europe, the American fervor for corned beef on St. Pat’s Day is almost unknown.

The same is true for corned beef in Jewish culture – it was largely adopted by Jewish immigrants to America in the late part of the 19th century. It is theorized that the close proximity of Irish and Jewish immigrants in New York City is largely the reason that corned beef seems to be a mainstay of the descendants of both groups.

There is a flavor difference, though, between different manufacturers of corned beef. Some makers use a decidedly Irish flavor in the brine; a more aromatic flavor dependent on spices like bay leaf or clove. UMD counts itself among the meat processors whose corned beef has a distinctly Jewish flavor – a more sweet, garlicky brine. (Our recipe is a secret so we can’t tell you more! :-))

Whichever flavor you prefer, we hope you enjoy a great St. Patrick’s Day with some corned beef as a highlight!

4 thoughts on “Is Corned Beef Irish or Jewish?

  1. If we were that clever we would have thought of it ourselves and trademarked it. Thanks for reading. :)

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