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best corned beef to buy?

Wondering if there is a "premier" brand of corned beef out there. Also, I'm considering using a slow cooker for St. Pat's day dinner. Does anyone have experience with this?

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  1. Mosey's used to be the corned beef to buy, but they are not even close to what they used to be qualitywise. These days I go with Hummel's

    2 Replies
    1. re: ctfoodguy

      Me, too, an enthusiastic +1 for Hummel's!

      1. re: ctfoodguy

        I agree. I like Hummel's low sodium flat cut.

        1. I always found the prepackaged stuff to be heavier on the salt than the seasonings. I don't know where in New England you are, but the Hartford, CT area grocery chain called Highland Park corns their own brisket and it is really good and has fantastic flavor.

          I've been corning my own using a Cook's Illustrated recipe for the past couple of years. It's really easy to do and if you have space in your fridge for a brisket to hang out for a week, I highly recommend it!

          1. Hummel Bros made in New Haven CT. They are available at Stop and Shop and Stew Leonard's. The flat cut is better than the point cut. We cook it in the slow cooker. We throw in a little brown sugar to cut the salt. In my opinion you can't cook corned beef too long. We also use real bunch carrots. Those little nub things are horrible.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Builder3

              Agree that Hummel is the best. Have been making it in the crockpot for years. Start it in the am and later in the day I add the small red potatoes, carrots and shredded cabbage

            2. You should consider making it yourself. Its pretty easy, you just need some time, a brisket, pickling spice and room in the fridge. Mine will start corning on Saturday.

              1. Pearl Brand. Made in Mass. both with Nitrates and the old world style just salt and spices. Other than the drab color after its cooked the old world is better if anyone is concerned of nitrates. Plus it has a nice trim espically the flat piece. Hummels IMO is very salty after its cooked.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Frank Terranova

                  Agree with Frank Terranova. I cooked a Hummels corned beef yesterday and was very disappointed in how salty it was. Will not purchase another one.

                  1. re: barb2007

                    Get the Pearl BJ's carries and they carry one of the best meat selections for the retail market.

                    1. re: Frank Terranova

                      Thank you for the recommendation. I do have a BJ's card and will try the Pearl brand.

                      1. re: barb2007

                        Hi Barb,

                        They have 2 types one with the nitrates and one just salt which looks kind of drab but the flavor to me is better. Another thing we did to cun the sodium back is just rinse the piece off in cold water. just cover it barely bring to one quick boil then drain off and start with the spices of your choice and simmer it at around 165-175 degrees. You can jab it but just using a meat thermometer and when it hits 200 degrees its done Thats what we do even when we BBQ brisket the collegan breaks down.

                        Good luck

                2. Hey, has anyone tried Wellshire Farms? They're from Mass. and Whole Foods sells 'em.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    Was at Whole Foods today and wondered the same thing!

                    1. re: Meesch70

                      I found this post from last year and want to try it now!

                      If you try it and beat me to cooking it, please report back. I was also sort of (ever the optimist) hoping it went on sale this week for St. Paddy's. ;)

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        They always go on sale the week AFTER St Pats, that's when I grab one usually. Last year 99cents, let see what happens this year. They have to dump them, can't hold til next March. Meanwhile I make a shepherd's pie while biding my time.

                        1. re: coll

                          Way to watch, coll, thank you! ;) I must say, they looked very nice!

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            If I really wanted it I'd break down and get some, it's only once a year; but with the luck of the Irish, the Shepherds Pie will tide me over. Plus we have a local deli that went BBQ and they do pastrami and corn beef, a lb of that will be perfect no matter what the price. I find more sales at the deli counter if you just want to make a sandwich or two. Then if there's a deal next week (and I seem to remember it not even being advertised) I'll grab one and save it for a few weeks from now. Won't taste any the worse! Guess it depends on if they order right.

                            1. re: coll

                              Agree about saving for a few weeks from now. IIRC, the "use by" date was May, so we've got plenty o'time. :)

                    2. re: kattyeyes

                      I tried and really liked the Wellshire Farms uncured corned beef. Not sure if all corned beef has ginger on the list of ingredients, but it was noticeable (pleasantly so) as it cooked.

                      The meat was very tender, not overly salty. The one odd thing was the final color of the cooked corned beef. Ever notice CB, even when you buy it as deli meat, tends to have a reddish hue? Well, none here. If you looked at the meat on a plate, you might incorrectly guess it was gonna be dry as a bone based on color alone...yet, no, very tender and flavorful.

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        It probably does not have sodium nitrate, which is a good thing

                        1. re: mmalmad

                          They contain vegetable powders that are high in nitrates that convert to nitrites with cooking.

                        2. re: kattyeyes

                          We had the Wellshire Farms uncured corned beef brisket as well. They tried to fix the color with beet juice, but it didn't work. The flavor, though, was terrific.

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            Also got a Wellshire this year, and it was very good. Had hash tonight, and just as good - okay, probably better - the second time around.

                            1. re: harrie

                              I was loving the hash as leftovers, too!

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                It was better looking as hash, as well, I might add!

                                DC Randy, ah, is THAT what the beet juice was about?! Well, now we really know looks aren't everything--as regards corned beef, anyway! ;)

                        3. My go to brand has been Crown. It's listed as kosher style what ever that means to them. The reason I buy this one is that the sodium count is 220mg/ 4 oz. Way below the others and I most often smoke them for pastrami. I still do a 24 hr soak and it's still has plenty of salt when tasted.

                          Unfortunately Publix didn't carry this brand this year.

                          1. Also, I'm considering using a slow cooker for St. Pat's day dinner. Does anyone have experience with this?


                            6 Replies
                            1. re: fourunder

                              Actually slow cookers do a great job on corned beef. but it will take more time. I do it Sous Vide at 68c for 20 hours the meat gets super tender, the collagen doesnt become rubbery it slices well tight grained beef can be super sliced thin which is good for sandwiches

                              1. re: Frank Terranova

                                I would say slow cookers, and or crockpot cooking are not similar to sous vide cooking....

                                1. re: fourunder

                                  I didnt say there were 65 c is about 155 degrees. perfect simmer is at 160-165 crockpots run that low

                                  1. re: Frank Terranova

                                    Actually when I bought my (very simple) Crock Pot brand slow cooker I contacted the company to find out to what temp the low and high setting would go. They replied that both of them are set to go up to 215 deg. F, but at the low setting just takes longer to get there. It's just a case of using one heating coil or two.

                                    1. re: Frank Terranova

                                      Also, Frank, I have to agree with you on the Hummel's. Last Sunday I did one of their low-salt flat cuts in my CP, and while I was thrilled that it was tender with very little shrinkage, it did taste very salty. However I did reluctantly follow their instructions on the label that "the juices in the package are part of the flavoring process and should not be discarded." Normally I would have rinsed the thing off before cooking it.

                                      1. re: junescook

                                        Hi June,

                                        I was taught many years ago before I got into this business was to rinse off the corned beef as we wash all meats before we use them. Then cover with a little water to one quick boil then you would see a scum raise to the top by slowly doing this the grains if the meat wont sieze up so more salt can leech out, then drain off fill witl a can of dark beer with its bitter taste will make it way less salty. Then I just simmer using a probe when it hits 200 degrees internal its done. Plus the liquid left over is great for root vegetables like carrots, turnips, celeriac, parsnips.

                              2. Anyone ever try the one from Wilson's Farm?

                                1. There's a brand sold at the WIndham IGA called 'Reuben' that is very good. It's not salty and hase very good flavor to it. It's a Tyson foods product, so it may not pass the standards of the indie/local foods crowd. I've cooked a couple in the last year and find it to be superior to Hummel. Less salty, more tender and better flavor. Carlos and Son in East Lyme also sells a great corned beef that's unbranded. Very fresh- to the point it looks uncured. It's great but it costs about 2-3 times what the cryovac grocery store brands do.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: wilko

                                    I bought O'Reillys brand in Shoprit on sale for $1.88 flat cut. I don't eat corned beef, but my husband said it was the best he ever had. I did add a can of beer to the slow cooker, don't know if that made the difference.

                                    1. re: razkel

                                      Based on my recent experiences at the same ShopRite stores.....

                                      O'Reilly's, yes.....O'Briens, no

                                      1. re: fourunder

                                        I second the O'Reilly brand at ShopRite for $1.88. I bought two flats, soaked in water for 48 hours and then made pastrami on the smoker. Very lean and tender.

                                        I also bought two Hummel points marked down to $1.40 / lb so will see how they compare.

                                  2. Wondering about the type of corned beef that is "fully cooked", "ready to serve". I've bought a few brands over the years (Pearl, Boston Brisket) and I guess the idea is that it's sort of a ready-to-go deli meat that you can just slice and serve. But I've found this style to be tough and lacking good corned beef flavor. So I ask, is there a good "fully cooked" brand or is it better to get a raw/cured one and finish it yourself (Know about curing your own starting from raw and I've done it, hundreds of pounds of it. It's clearly superior. Just really wondering if you can buy a supposedly finished product and get a decent sandwich out of it.)

                                    1. I made a Nathan's corned beef yesterday. The spice packet seemed small, so I added some whole coriander, mustard seed and black peppercorns. I was terrific.

                                      1. I ended up buying the house-made grey corned beef from Auclair's market in Somerset, MA. I put it in a slow cooker on high for eight hours. It was outstanding...and easy. My only problem was that I put the potatoes in from the start. Carrots, turnip and onion were great, but the spuds were a bit crumbly. Next time, the potatoes join the party after and hour and a half.

                                        1. The best corned beef is Moseys. No matter how bad of a cook someone is, you can't ruined it. It is truly the Best! Unfortunately, it is hard to find. Publix in South Florida used to sell it but you don't see it anymore!!

                                          1. IMO Pearl is one of the best .BUt there isnt anything better than a home cured piece of brisket. It takes only 5 days to cute so the salt content can be controlled. Plus just go to Whole Foods and purchase a nice hunk of Flat Brisket its pricey but nothing tastes better.

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                The Deckle has way too much fat for me plus its the cut always on sale because no one wants it. But the deckle is the best for Burnt Ends when smoking Brisket.