Whole Story

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St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef

By Theo Weening, March 7, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Theo Weening

St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th and we’re ready with a traditional holiday favorite - corned beef!

Corned beef is made from brisket that has been cured or pickled in brine. It's name comes from the brining process.

The grains of salt used to make the brine were once referred to as “corns of salt,” hence the name “corned beef.” All our stores will offer a great prepackaged corned beef brisket made exclusively for our customers by Wellshire Farms, using beef that has been raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones. Wellshire brines the briskets with a slow-cooked recipe that has been passed down for generations, consisting of simple ingredients like water, sea salt, raw sugar, beet powder, spices and garlic.

The outside is coated with a flavorful blend of chopped and crushed bay leaves, mustard seed and allspice. They also use beet powder to add a natural sweet flavor as well as a pinkish color to the outside.

When you thinly slice Wellshire corned beef, you can see the pure, authentic brown color of the beef. In addition to the Wellshire corned beef brisket, some of our meat teams have been working for weeks to brine our own in-house corned beef. These are made from beef brisket or round cuts that are corned in-house with our own unique salt-based brine.

Since we don’t add any sodium nitrates or nitrites, the beef develops a grayish hue through the brining process and is often referred to as a “gray corned beef.” The result of this in-house brining technique yields a deliciously authentic corned beef that is fork tender when prepared.

Be sure to ask your local store if they are brining their own briskets this year. Whether it’s an in-house corned beef or Wellshire corned beef that finds its way to your table, you can be assured of a succulent and tasty treat with every bite. Here’s a simple recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage or try this one for Corned Beef and Cabbage Rolls.

You can also check out this easy five-step recipe for delicious corned beef brisket in this video from Wellshire.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! How will you be celebrating?

Category: Meat




Simon Bao says ...
Mr. Weening, I concede that your real purpose is to promote the purchase of corned beef. But you might have leavened that with a bit of scholarship, and done some research, and reminded folks that Corned Beef and Cabbage is not an Irish tradition. It has become a tradition for many Irish Americans - but for Irish Americans only. Corned Beef and Cabbage is not an Irish dish, nor is it any kind of Irish tradition.
03/07/2012 10:56:31 AM CST
David E says ...
I have always been a huge fan of corned beef. It is definitely my favorite cold cut and I had no idea that certain Whole Foods stores brined their own briskets. After reading this, I will definitely be stopping by Whole Foods for some corned beef. It’s also nice to know that Whole Foods doesn’t add many of the nitrates and sodium chemicals that most delis and restaurants add. Chemicals like those always cause me to feel uneasy and unhealthy about eating certain foods. I’m glad that I’ll be able to enjoy a healthy corned beef sandwich after I stop by Whole Foods Market for St Patty’s day. That is, if I make it after all the drinking.
03/07/2012 10:34:22 PM CST
yu na says ...
I definitely will be going to WF to ask about this "in-house" beef! I love the taste and eat it throughout the year.
03/08/2012 5:41:22 PM CST
Jeff says ...
Simon Bao- He in no way said it is an "Irish" dish, if you know how to read it simply says that it is a st.patricks day favorite. I for one love making a corned beef and cabbage on st. patty's and will definitely be getting mine at whole foods this year!
03/10/2012 3:25:11 PM CST
Denise O'REilly says ...
I have to agree with Simon. I'm 100% pure Irish but have been living and working in DC for 7 years. I'm still fascinated why Americans think we eat corned beef and cabbage in Ireland - I've NEVER had corned beef and cabbage as a meal. The only time I ever even got corned beef was as a cold cut for sandwiches when i was a kid - we never ate it hot. I also with the USA would stop calling it St. Patty's day - that drives us nuts!
03/10/2012 4:42:23 PM CST
Greybeard says ...
Hmm. We bought one of these last year, and loved it; we just cooked one tonight, and it's incredibly salty. Since Wellshire Farms has pulled all mention of the product from their site (although Google finds references, the links are dead), and http://www.lousnaturals.com/healthy-food-recipes/Corned-Beef-and-Cabbage-or-New-England-Boiled-Dinner (the same company) suggests starting with a "Garrett Valley Uncured Corned Beef Briskey" (yeah, typo for "Brisket"), I suspect that Wellshire is having the product made for them this year -- and it's nowhere near as good. We had bought a second one (to cook in a few weeks), which we'll be returning.
03/10/2012 7:33:46 PM CST
Caroline says ...
I am a 100% Irish and I had this on a weekly basis. More common is Bacon & Cabbage, It's a shoulder of pork that is usually cured, boil it with the cabbage, delicious!! It was thought that way back the corned beef was only for the wealthy and the bacon was for the poorer person. Very surprise to hear that an Irish person never had this meal, other pretty common dishes are Irish Stew, Shepherds Pie.........yummy!!!
03/12/2012 9:10:35 AM CDT
paig292 says ...
@Greybeard Sorry you didn't have a good experience! We checked with our meat team and here's their reply: "We've confirmed that we have not had any facility changes in the production of the corned beef. We apologize for the quality issues and please return the corned beef that you still have to the store where you purchased it and in the event that you still have your receipt, you can get a full refund on the one that you have already prepared. We will continue to monitor comments about our corned beef and hopefully this was an isolated issue. Again we apologize for the inconvenience and the poor eating experience."
03/12/2012 3:28:30 PM CDT
Robert Doe says ...
If the corned beef is pink, sodium nitrate/nitrite has been used to preserve the color, or, they used dye to keep the natural pink tone. When a meat has been brined, it loses the pink color and becomes grey.
03/12/2012 4:28:05 PM CDT
Ashley says ...
Yum, sounds delicious!
03/12/2012 6:37:28 PM CDT
bill says ...
Why not corn your own?I've got one brining in the fridge now. It's very easy to do, just google it and it tastes better than anything you can buy.
03/13/2012 9:18:47 AM CDT
janejohnson says ...
@Robert I reached out to our Meat Department Experts. Here is their response: "Thank you for your inquiry, hopefully this will answer your question. Wellshire does add beet powder to the brine mixture for color. As described in the blog they “also use beet powder to add a natural sweet flavor as well as a pinkish color.” There is also sea salt in the brine which can contain naturally derived nitrites. The brine we use for the in store also contains sea salt, but will have a more grayish hue. We tried to explain the gray color you are referring to in the blog as well, “since we don’t add any sodium nitrates or nitrites, the beef develops a grayish hue through the brining process and is often referred to as a “gray corned beef.”
03/13/2012 9:26:44 AM CDT
Jeanne says ...
It was the Irish immigrants in the early 1900's that used Corned Beef to pot with cabbage, because there was no similar cut of Bacon that they had at home. That is how it became an Irish-American dish. Also my husband and many friends are Irish born and all call it St. Paddy's Day.
03/13/2012 9:31:29 AM CDT
ANNIE says ...
03/14/2012 6:49:05 PM CDT
Laura says ...
Thanks for the demo! I have to admit, I hardly ever cook since a Whole Foods opened two blocks from our home in Ft Collins, CO, but I'm going to make this! You made it look so easy.
03/14/2012 7:37:03 PM CDT
Kelly says ...
Anyone know if either preparation is suitable for gluten free diet?
03/14/2012 9:38:49 PM CDT
caroline says ...
Grew up in new york where we had great corned beef. Glad whole foods has sodium nitrite free corned beef. i just hope the beet powder comes from non genetically modified beets. I recommend getting the brisket and not the round, which is a tougher and less tasty cut.
03/15/2012 1:38:09 AM CDT
Kelly says ...
Corned Beef and Cabbage is associated with Irish Americans. The brisket was an inexpensive cut of meat. Most Irish American immigrants ( mine included), were able to purchase this cut of meat along with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes to feed their family. A cheap meal that gave them the best bang for their buck.:)
03/15/2012 9:47:02 AM CDT
Morgan says ...
Years ago our Company's IT Systems team worked with a remote programming unit at Shannon, Ireland. They always laughed about Americans eating corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's day. They called it "Starvation food" - Something they'd eat if there was famine. They preferred a nice roast lamb or beef. However, they were jealous about the American knack for drinking green beer and partying. In Ireland, they said, St. Patricks day was a more solemn religious holiday, with the morning spent at church, and the afternoon/evening spent at home with family and a big dinner. They laughed and said they'd love to come to America to celebrate, and would do the corned beef and cabbage if only to also get the green beer and fun! :) ;)
03/15/2012 11:45:40 AM CDT
marylou deruby says ...
this was very good
10/07/2012 11:57:21 AM CDT
Elaine Copeland says ...
Hope we can get some corned beef brisket for 99 cents a lb, like we used to in AZ.
03/01/2013 4:10:07 PM CST
Katherine says ...
Hi. Will your Brooklyn store carry corned beef that one can cook or will it be cooked. Thanks
02/28/2014 5:04:53 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KATHERINE - Our exact options will differ between stores. You can call the Brooklyn store directly at 718-907-3622 to see if they have this in stock!
02/28/2014 6:30:41 PM CST
Nancy says ...
I would love to know how much sodiu,m Ineed very little sodium. 2000 mg a day diet. Please let me know asap. or where to get this thanks in advance.
02/27/2015 4:03:21 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@NANCY - Since dishes might differ between stores, check with your local store to see if they have nutritional info.
02/27/2015 4:34:45 PM CST