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gray corned beef in Boston?

I just moved up here a few months ago from the South, where grey corned beef was basically impossible to find any time of year (and the best place to buy the regular kind was at Costco). I'm guessing that it shows up various places around Boston by oh, say, mid-March--but do I have to wait until the run-up to St. Patrick's Day, or is there anywhere to get it year-round? I'm talking uncooked, just corned without the nasty stuff that keeps it pink, so I can boil it up at home. I'm terrible at planning ahead, so I'd love to find somewhere that carries this without my having to special order it. Any ideas?


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  1. Johnny's Foodmaster usually has its own available much of the year, but even more during the winter like now.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Karl S

      I will have to see if Johnny's also carries the corned spare ribs. My mom used to make them with a "boiled dinner", and I loved them. I think she may have gotten them from the Mplewood Meat Market- I will have to ask her.

      1. re: macca

        Just got some of the corned spare ribs- along with the gray corned beef- at Johnnies in Melrose.Looking forward to dinner tomorrow ( a day late)

    2. McKinnon's in Davis Square seems to have it pretty regularly, and sometimes cuts other than brisket.

      7 Replies
      1. re: itaunas

        What about gray kielbasa? I like that style better than the reddish colored kind. Same places?

        1. re: Joanie

          McKinnon's only carries packaged Kielbasa -- mostly from Hillshire Farms. By gray do you mean fresh, unsmoked kielbasa? Maybe Karl's? I did have a tasty kielbasa from some smaller maker from the Stop & Shop in Arlington which seemed less processed overall (lighter in color, mix of beef and pork, less nitrates). I have been tasting all sorts in preparation for making a batch, so would love to hear other suggestions.

          1. re: itaunas

            Fresh kielbasa is normally available from both Shaw's and S&S at Christmas and Easter. I stock up then. Both are little more finely ground than I'd like, but they have a reasonable texture and balance of flavors.

            1. re: itaunas

              Have you checked out the storefront advertising sausage casings, on Main St. just south of Medford Sq.? Keep meaning to stop in.

            2. re: Joanie

              About the fresh kielbasa (calling it gray sounds so unappetizing!) - there is a little Russian/Eastern European grocery on Washington Street - between the corner with Comm Ave in Brighton and the Whole Foods - near the Brighton/Brookline border - that sells it. And I would wholeheartedly trust them before I trusted anything purchased at Shaw's. I already had one bad raw sausage experience there (some Italian sweet sausage that was gristle-y and far too chewy to be edible.
              So when I make my Polish Easter soup, that will be where I get my fresh Kielbaszy!

              1. re: Joanie

                all the marketbaskets in my area (merrimack valley) carry the fresh (gray) kielbasa.

            3. I'd recommend getting a brisket from John Dewar (good) or Market Basket (cheap) and brining it in the fridge for a week.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Luther

                Yes, I've done that before... but like I said, I usually can't seem to plan that far in advance! I'm lucky when I think of it in time to get something from the market and boil it for a few hours.

              2. Most Roche Bros. Supermarkets carry it, as does the Morrisey Blvd. (Dorchester) Stop & Shop

                1. Thanks for the suggestions! I'm glad to hear it won't be too hard to find. I think McKinnon's is closest to me, so I'll get out there this weekend and let you all know what I find.

                  1. The Meat Spot in Watertown Square has the corned spare ribs. You do have to order them, as they mostly just make them to order, I think. I'll bet they make their own corned beef too. I suspect it's not too difficult, as long as you have space in your frig for a big bucket...

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: silver queen

                      thanks for the heads up on the corned spare ribs. Will have to keep this in mind next time I am craving a boiled dinner. I will call them, for sure, because if they make their own corned beef, it must be good.

                      1. There are also McKinnon Meat Markets on Route 99 in Everett and another in Danvers, if that helps. Try Maplewood Meat Market, also.

                        1. There is a market at the corner of K and 8th Streets in South Boston that carries it all the time and there is the Dorchester Market, sometimes called Gene and Pauls on thye corner of Dorchester Ave and East Cottage St. Both are very good with the edge (imho) going to the Dorchester Market.

                          1. or you could make your own. it's basically either a brine or dry salt rub, with some spices(bay, cloves, cinnimon stick, peppercorn, ect). tho 'nasty stuff' that keeps it pink isn't really that nasty if you do it yourself. it's sodium nitrite, aka DQ curing salt #1, aka pink salt. it's a preservative used in most cured goods, and is essential for preventing botulism causeing bacteria to grow in anything that will be cured for a long period of time. orriginally, when it was kept at room temp, and held for a long time, it was very immportant for corned beef. now, it's not gennerally very immportant, but still good if you treat it right. that being said, i think the commercial stuff has some other chemicals in it as well, which make it not taste as good. corning it at home is pretty easy tho. if you use a brine, it will create kind of a pickle, and you'll have a bit of a sour taste from lactic acid formed by naturaly occouring bacteria(very tasty). if you use a rub, you won't get that so much. not sure where to actually buy it, tho.

                            1. Try or call Maplewood Meat Market in Malden.

                              1. I was at BJ's Wholesale club in Natick this past weekend and they had gray corned beef.

                                1. Stop and Shop sells Pearl brand grey CB right now. How about serving with braised cabbage, champ (chopped scallions & mashed potatoes) and whipped cream with horseradish mixed in....

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: silver queen

                                    that does sound great, but would be sinful to eat on St. Pats, straight boiled dinner only way to go