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Mar 3, 2010 12:25 PM
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Corned Beef at Traders Joes - questions

Reading CH I got the impression that TJs has great no-preservative Corned Beef. Ignoring the weirdness of no preservative Corned Beef (why was beef originally corned??) I went to my local TJs - there was a sign outside "Coming Soon- Corned Beef $7.99/lb"

With St Paddy's day approaching I was looking for a corned brisket that I would simmer until tender, add carrots, cabbage, etc - and Expect to pay about $2 - $3 per pound.

Please help me understand what is going on here.

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  1. TJ's prices on packaged meats are in many cases just stupid high, is what's happening. Those steakburgers they used to sell, their bone-in pork chops, rack of lamb and whole chickens are (or were) all well-priced... and then they want silly money for a flatiron steak. Or corned beef. Granted, it's a good cut, but you can do much better at a mainstream chain grocery. $2 - $3 might be a bit low, unless you don't mind point cut, but shop around. If you have a Costco handy, they always have decent ones for reasonable.

    1. The corned beef that is 7.99 a pound is already cooked. All you have to do is heat and eat. The uncooked corned beef is selling for 4.99 a pound.

      1. Trader Joe's corned beef is uncurred and nitrate/nitrite free and a very good price for the item. Check comparable item at a store like whole foods an you will pay double. You can not buy no nitrate/nitrite corned beef at the regular grocery store

        2 Replies
        1. re: smantuna

          I'm confused. Is there a difference between uncured corned beef and a plain, ordinary piece of raw brisket? Corning is defined in the dictionary as a form of curing.

          The only corned briskets I've cooked have been a brand called Freirich (sp?). Even with multiple water changes over the course of a full day, I found the result too salty for my taste. I'd love to find a less-salty, affordable alternative.

          1. re: greygarious

            No it's just the commonly used term for cured products without sodium nitrate added like "uncured bacon"

        2. I had a little corned beef sample at Trader Joe's in Studio City yesterday. It was pretty good. I'd like to try it on rye bread with side of potato salad and a pickle!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kate is always hungry

            They sell two different versions - fresh and fully cooked. I bought both, but have only tried the fully cooked which I had for lunch and really enjoyed it.

          2. I just cooked the uncured corn beef, not the pre-cooked one, for 4 hours. About the worst corned beef I ever tasted. The meat, cabbage, and potatoes all tasted like cloves. The meat had a great texture and did not shrink. It's sad to ruin a decent cut of meat with the spices.
            K H Chapman

            7 Replies
            1. re: KathyHillChapman

              I agree, last year it was very clove-heavy

              1. re: KathyHillChapman

                I bought one awhile back and plan to cook it tomorrow. I know most corned beef recipes say to rinse the meat before cooking, but TJ's directions did not say that. In light of the clove-heavy comments, do you think rinsing it first help with that? Or did you rinse yours and it was still clove-heavy?

                I know their ham spice packet has a lot of clove also, so per others' suggestions, I used only a fraction of the packet and the ham was great. hoping to make some sort of similar adjustment for the corned beef.

                1. re: Scirocco

                  Unless the nutrition label lists a very low amount of sodium, you should be soaking your corned beef in several changes of water over a span of at least 24 hours. Last year I soaked a 4.5# point cut (not TJ brand) in 3 changes of water over 24 hours before simmering it in yet another change of plain water.
                  Then glazed and baked it. It was too salty. This year's flat cut (Grobbel brand, not their reduced salt one) was half the size. I soaked it in 5 changes of water over 30 hours before finishing it the same way as last year. Much better, with just the right amount of salt.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    thank you!! I will definitely do the 24 hr soak (with water changes). My hesitation was that I know the soaking is mainly for salt, but the TJ's ones are supposed to be much less salty. But it sounds like I'd better do the soak anyway. I will check the nutrition label though too. You have me curious re: sodium content.

                    A friend of mine, coincidently, just emailed me that she had the same over the top clove experience with her TJ corned beef (she didn't mention any saltiness). she did not rinse. She said it was nearly inedible. I plan to cook it tomorrow prior to having it on Sunday (we are celebrating Easter early). At least if it's terrible, I have time to run out and get a ham!!! LOL

                    1. re: Scirocco

                      Most corned briskets seem to be in the vicinity of 1000mg of sodium per 4oz. That's the range of the ones I've cooked. That makes a 6oz portion more than half the RDA and presumably those weights are before cooking, so without soaking, a small portion of cooked corned beef could contain a whole day's worth of salt.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        checked TJ's label and it's 1680mg sodium/4oz. "No nitrates or nitrites added" though other than naturally occurring in the sea salt in the spice mixture.

                        1. re: Scirocco

                          Good news! the rinsing and soaking worked! After rinsing, I soaked for about 18 hrs (all the time I had) with 3 changes of water. cooked in the crockpot with just water (no veg or seasoning at all) 6 hrs on high. moist and tender with only mild flavor of the spices. And not even remotely salty. I will reheat tomorrow and do the veggies separately. Technically not a boiled dinner, but that's ok. thank you so much for the warnings and advice - you saved our Easter!