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Corned Beef for St. Patrick's Day

First, I know lots of folks say corned-beef and cabbage is not technically Irish. That's ok. I still enjoy making it for the holiday.

Now my questions:
- where do I get a good corned-beef brisket in this town? Robert's on Bryant? Whole Foods? Any other options?

- should I try doing it myself? I'm terribly nervous about that given I have a tiny refrigerator and I'm doing this for a party. It would be a huge failure if it didn't work out.

Thanks all for your expertise!

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  1. Highly recommend Roberts! Been going there on St Pat's for years, and at my sweetheart's request have started going again in September or so in order to have that meal more than once a year.

    1. Robert's is good and better than the supermarket brands. I've also had very good brisket from Guerra's on Taraval: "Every April, Uncle Bobby comes out of retirement to supervise our guys, who use small pumps — and take their time — to infuse every ounce with our family-recipe brine." But the very best brisket I've had was from Niman when they used to sell at the farmer's market and now Marin Sun Farms (grassfed) or Cafe Rouge, for twice the price. A couple of years ago, we did a side by side tasting of cornfed vs. grassfed and while the cornfed was more buttery, the grassfed was tastier. I like the fattier cuts, so I get the point brisket (the meat looks marbled, not just a big chunk of muscle with a layer of fat on the outside). Keys to success: get enough meat to account for shrinkage (almost half? they say 1 lb per person, I think) and allow yourself one more hour than you think you need. Other than that you simply simmer the thing for 3-4 hours (there will be little resistance when you poke it with a fork). Add a few dried chili peppers and pickling spices to the liquid to enhance taste. I also apply a wet coat of mustard/brown sugar after and blast it in the oven at the end for a delicious coating. Toss in small potatoes for 20 mins and quartered green cabbage for 5 mins into the same liquid for a complete, easy meal.

      1. I get mine at Robert's. Honestly I've done it myself and Robert's taste better to me but that could just be cause it tastes more like the prepared kind I am used to. It's easy enough to do it yourself but I prefer the taste of Robert's already brined.

        1. I have not liked the corned beefs I have gotten at Whole Foods, more expensive but not better taste or texture than at Robert's.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tjinsf

            Thanks a ton for your help. I knew Chow would solve this problem! I plan on going to Robert's.

          2. I picked up a 6 lb. point cut corned beef (spicy) at Roberts Corned Meats this morning. $4 per pound. The crush will start in earnest next week but today there was only one other customer. The counter went in the back and brought out the hunk of meat on a hook to show me, twirling it around. I liked the looks of the fatty layers, nodded my acceptance, and then he sealed it with some brine for me. He said it would easily hold for two to three weeks in the refrigerator.

            No credit cards or debit cards and Roberts closes for lunch.

            Happy 100th!

            March Corned Beef Madness


            Roberts Corned Meats
            1030 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94103

            1. I realize I'm being low-end here. But I get corned beef brisket to cook @ Costco. Haven't gotten this year's yet. But in years past, it's been cheap and good.

              3 Replies
              1. re: sundeck sue

                Really cheap Murphy's at Lucky, point cut $1.69.

                1. re: wolfe

                  That's where I'm going to look. It is corned brisket and I'm sure I can tell the difference between good and great or whatever. Not everything needs to be uber primo artisan goods made by hipsters with that glazed over look.

                  1. re: ML8000

                    Oh and green cabbage is 19 cents a pound. It's not as well trimmed as usual with a few shaggy outer leaves. A head and a carrot for 71 cents and 1/2 boiled and the other 1/2 cole slaw.

              2. The other day I noticed pre-packed Roberts brisket flats at Baron's in Alameda, so there's an East Bay option for anyone still seeking corned beef.

                Baron's Meat & Poultry
                1650 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                2 Replies
                  1. re: Pius Avocado III

                    According to the sign I saw, Andronico's sells Roberts corned beefs. They may repackage but I think that is all they sell. A 4.5 pounder was $31.

                  2. I cooked a Marin Sun Farms point cut, it was tasty but lean. Some friends cooked a Roberts, I liked it better since it had some fat.

                    I don't know who Verbrugge gets theirs from, but they were offering free cabbage.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      I tried a flat cut of Kobe corned beef from Costco. Simmered it in Guinness for three hours. Turned out real nice!

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I agree that the mouthfeel is different. I might call the cornfed beef "buttery". But in a side by side tasting (Guerra vs. MSF), we could really tell a difference in flavor. Once we got beyond the mouthfeel, the taste of the cornfed was mostly one-dimensional. The grassfed tasted like real beef. I think Cafe Rouge may offer a variation of grassfed but corn finished.

                      2. For St. Patrick's Day 2014, I bought a point cut brisket corned beef from Guerra.

                        Then a friend brought me a Snake River American Kobe corned beef from Costco. It's made with round.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          From Costco? Can't wait til next month when they open here!

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Hi Melanie,

                            Did you try the Snake River corned beef round? If so, how was it? I saw it at Costco but purchased the Shenson instead as it was a bit cheaper. I have to say the Shenson was very tender and surprisingly, not too salty. My whole family loved it.

                            1. re: goodeatsgal

                              Sorry, no, got too busy. Dating extends into April, so it's tucked away in the fridge for now. There might be reports in one of the Costco threads on the Chains board.