Corned Beef Compass Points

CornedBeefCompassPoints

BY: Joan Ginsberg

United Meat & Deli is a company with a Detroit head and heart. We are tough and gritty small business survivors in the take-no-prisoners food industry. We hand trim the briskets and navels we use to make corned beef and pastrami, succeeding in a market where large, over-processed, and machine automated food manufacturing is far more common.

Because of this, people often assume that we only sell our stuff locally, and are surprised when we tell them that we ship product all across the continental USA. So we thought it would be fun this St. Patrick’s Day to illustrate this by finding our current “compass points” – those restaurants and retailers that sell our corned beef at the furthest north, south, east and west locations.

 NORTHERNMOST

Restaurant/Food ServicePier 500 in Hudson, WI. (Finding this location actually required a map and some research, because it is in the greater Minneapolis, MN area, where we have many loyal customers, including Ward 6 Food and Drink, Mystic Lake Casino, O’Gara’s, and Crossroads Delicatessen.)

Retail/MarketCostco in Coon Rapids, MN. (Other Costco stores in the greater Minneapolis area stocking our corned beef are in St. Louis Park, Maple Grove, Eden Prarie, Maplewood, and Burnsville.)

 SOUTHERNMOST

Restaurant/Food ServiceThe Bagel Cove in Miami, FL. (Despite the stranglehold NYC has on the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale market, several delis in the area, including The Pastrami Club in Lauderhill, do use our corned beef.)

Retail/MarketCostco in San Antonio or Houston, TX. (There is just a slight difference in latitude between Houston and San Antonio.  If you want to dispute who is more southern, leave us a comment. Many Costco stores in the Dallas area carry our product as well.)

 EASTERNMOST

Restaurant/Food ServiceThe Kibitz Room in Cherry Hill, NJ. (A longtime customer serviced by our New Jersey/Philadelphia-area distributor Foods Galore.)

Retail/Market McCafferys in several New Jersey locations. (We’re not sure if you can buy whole, uncooked pieces at this market or if you must buy it by the pound in the deli. Good either way!)

WESTERNMOST

Restaurant/Food Service Miller’s East Coast Deli in San Francisco, CA. ( They also have a location in San Rafael, but we were too lazy to check which one was actually the furthest west.)

Retail/Market Bristol Farms in several Los Angeles County, CA locations. (This is a by-the-pound market, except at St. Patrick’s Day time when they sell by the piece. Check out their website for a great looking piece of beef!)

If you are looking only for a cook-your-own retail piece, check out our Facebook page (click on “Notes”) for a list of the Costco, Kroger, Detroit and Cleveland area supermarket locations that sell Sy Ginsberg’s Corned Beef.

 

 

 

 

 

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!

5 Tips For Cooking Corned Beef.

Last week a woman emailed us and asked for instructions on how to cook corned beef in her pressure cooker. She specifically asked about where to set the jiggler, and how much time it would take.

We were all stymied by that question because we come from the restaurant/deli end of the cooking operation, where no one had ever used a pressure cooker. We didn’t even have a clue what a jiggler was.

In fact, if you ask Sy Ginsberg how to cook corned beef, he will generally answer “until it’s done”. While that sounds a bit snarky, the truth is that it is very hard to give generalized instructions for cooking corned beef. Corned beef, although a processed item, is still fresh meat. That means that proper cooking depends in large part on the size and cut of the meat. A whole corned beef brisket that weighs 10 pounds is just not going to cook for the same time and in the same way as a 3 pound piece of first-cut (the thinner, smaller “point” of a whole brisket).

But with St. Patrick’s Day looming and people anxious to make a special corned beef dinner, here are 5 tips we can offer.

WATER

Corned beef should always be cooked in water. Whether you use a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or a pot on top of a stove, you need to have a container large enough for the corned beef to fit in. Then you must cover the meat entirely with water, but only enough water to just cover the meat. If you are cooking on the stove top, you will probably need a stock pot.

COOK THE PIECE WHOLE

Don’t try to cheat by slicing the meat if your pot isn’t large enough. Cutting a whole brisket in half to fit inside of a pot is acceptable, but that’s about the only pre-cooking cut that’s safe. Otherwise your beef will fall apart into a shredded mess. The picture at the top of our blog is a corned beef brisket, sliced after cooking whole.

LOW OR SLOW

If you are using a slow cooker, only cook on low. We can’t tell you how long, because it depends on the size of the meat and every slow cooker is different. Plan on 8-10 hours. If you are boiling on the stove top, once your water has reached boiling, turn it down and keep on a s-l-o-w boil or simmer the entire time. It will likely take several hours.

SKIP THE VEGGIES

Hey, we love a boiled dinner, too (corned beef, cabbage, potato, carrots), but we aren’t a big fan of cooking the vegetables in the same pot and at the same time as the meat. It varies the cook time of the meat too much, and they take up precious water resources in the pot. If you like the taste that the cooking meat imparts on the vegetables, cook the corned beef first and then use the cooking water to cook the vegetables.

FORK TENDER

When Sy says “cook until it’s done”, he means that the thickest part of the meat should be easily pierced with a fork, and the fork removed without lifting the meat. So besides a large pot, you need to have a meat fork with long tines to pierce through a thick piece of beef.

The USDA recommends that corned beef be cooked to an internal temperature of 158 degrees as a safeguard against pathogens, but we recommend a higher internal temp – 165-175 degrees.

By the way, we answered the question about the pressure cooker by pointing her toward this blog. It features a picture of our competitor’s product, but it made our customer happy. :)