How Did Corned Beef Become The Staple Food Of St. Patrick's Day Anyway?
As this year's St. Patrick's Day approaches, you'll undoubtedly see hundreds of photos of festive corned beef dishes flooding your feeds. But do you know what the dish is and why it's eaten around this time every year? If not, don't you worry. You're about to find out.
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 that's 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).
Why Do People Eat Corned Beef On St. Patrick's Day?
Great question! Irish Central thoroughly explained the reason. The tradition of eating corned beef for St. Patty's Day is a pretty American one, the publication noted.
When beef was considered a luxury in Ireland in the 19th century, the Irish turned to ham or bacon as their St. Patrick's Day proteins, "but when these Irish got off the boats in America, it was the opposite. Corned beef was the meat that they could easily and more cheaply get their hands on, and so, this became the meal of choice for generations of Irish Americans to come."
As far as why we see corned beef paired so often with cabbage? The Kitchn reports it was "simply one of the cheapest vegetables available to Irish immigrants [at the time], so it was a side dish that stuck."
Corned Beef Recipes
Whether you're looking to make classic corned beef and cabbage or are in search of creative ways to use leftover corned beef, we've got you covered with these recipes.
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