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Anyone still using chipped beef?

dave_c Jun 15, 2012 12:03 PM

I've been wanting to make "authentic" SOS using chipped beef. The problem is I just can't get myself to buy it. I'll have the jar in hand, but when I look at the stuff and what's next to it on the shelf (usually pickled pig's feet), I end up putting the jar back and backing away.

In my mind that stuff is just over salted beef jerky/shoe leather.

Am I wrong?
What dishes do you use the dried beef in?


PS... I know there are recipes for SOS calling for ground beef, but I'm trying to get the courage to try the chipped beef version. :-)

  1. d
    DreamaGumdrop Jan 27, 2014 09:40 AM

    My mother always made gravy from chipped beef. It was really good.

    1. d
      DebinIndiana Dec 27, 2013 07:21 AM

      My mom used to make this, served with biscuits and home fries, and we all loved it. She saved the jars for juice glasses.

      I liked to steal a few pieces and set them out to dry for a few days, to eat like a potato chip. Talk about salty!

      1. t
        Teague Dec 23, 2013 09:23 PM

        I love creamed chipped beef, probably because mother made it often at the end of the month. Comfort food I guess.

        But as an adult, I do add some things that Mom didn't. I got the idea from Joy of Cooking, there's a recipe for it in "brunch, lunch and supper" chapter of my old edition which calls for: minced onion, minced green pepper, chopped chives or parsley (whoohoo, I add both!), a little sherry, and chopped capers (or dill pickles).

        It's really good this way, just add a couple tablespoons of everything except capers, which are pretty powerfully salty and you only need a little, a teaspoon or so. If using cucumber dill pickles, maybe a tablespoon. This recipe is for 8 oz of dry beef, I use much less, generally only four ounces to about 2 1/2 c white sauce made with milk and unsalted butter. Improved in my opinion by plenty of black pepper. On toast, or biscuit (don't add much salt to the biscuit).

        I usually don't rinse the beef and usually use the Armour product, as that's what they sell hereabouts. I do crisp it up in the butter before I add the onions, green pepper and parsley to saute a little pre-sauce.

        1. k
          Kandyman22 Jan 2, 2013 12:33 PM

          I just made it last night with it. It is great...always enjoyed it when I came in from hunting with dad and grandpa. Now my son is enjoying my memories with me. When using the jar of Homel make sure to wash each piece of beef slice real well under running cold water, it is VERY salty. When gravy is done just shred up the chipped beef. Better then burger or sausage.

          1. Terrie H. Nov 13, 2012 03:56 PM

            I love creamed chipped beef, but save it as a treat when I can get to the PA Dutch market where the butcher does his own air-dried beef that is superior to the commercially available versions. It is much drier and has a richer flavor, and it looks like actual shaved meat.

            Even with the good meat, I make mine a little spiffed up for my taste, adding a small amount of sauteed onion or shallot, plus dashes of worcestershire sauce, sherry and hot sauce to the cream sauce. Not "authentic" but it's what I like. When I've made it with the packaged chipped beef, I sizzle the beef in the butter until the edges start to look slightly crispy which makes the texture better for my tastes.

            As for other uses, my mother made a dish using chipped beef when we were growing up: chicken breasts with chipped beef slices underneath and the whole thing wrapped in bacon, then topped with cream of mushroom soup with white wine and sour cream poured over and baked. I've never gone that route, myself. I also remember cream cheese speads with chipped beef back in the 60s and 70s, though I haven't seen them since. Guess chipped beef isn't the sexy ingredient of the moment.

            1. m
              miss_msry Nov 13, 2012 02:49 PM

              I made SOS last week, but it had been years and I forgot to rinse the beef first to take away most of the salt. My Mom and I used to order it for breakfast whenever we stayed at the Regency Hotel in NYC. Talk about guilty pleasures.

              1. s
                sandylc Jun 20, 2012 09:51 AM

                My mother made SOS with both the Buddig and the jarred stuff when I was growing up. My dad and sister gobbled it, but as with most of these types of things, I refused to touch it. I just wasn't interested! (Still not, actually)

                Fast forward to now, and my mother and sister are the pickiest eaters that I've ever seen! And I eat more things than they will even look at....funny how things change! My taste buds just didn't love that sixties and seventies food, I guess....

                1. twodales Jun 19, 2012 11:58 AM

                  SOS is one of my fav comfort foods. I tend to make it for lunch or when the hubby is out of town...this and tuna noodle casserole with potato chips on top. Occasionally I buy the Stouffers version which is not at all bad.

                  Darn, it's 95 here and you've got me craving this now! (It usually is a Winter craving.)

                  BTW, I use the Buddigs package and not the jarred type. Would that make a difference?

                  I probably eat this 3 or 4 times a year so I figure it isn't too bad if I indulge myself on occasion.

                  1. k
                    kseiverd Jun 19, 2012 07:10 AM

                    Have a feeling those little bags of dried beef hang around for a LONG time. Because of the nature of dried beef... they're "good" for a LONG time. A lot of people balk at the $12+/lb on the stuff at the deli counter, but I think it's far superior to bagged stuff. First, it's fresher... and the deli person can slice/chip it up for ya. I have a thing about having any deli meat (and cheese) sliced REALLY thin. Might be my imagination (but don't think so) but think it tastes better thin?!?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: kseiverd
                      paulj Jun 20, 2012 09:26 AM

                      Where do you find chipped (or just dried) beef at the deli counter? I did get some Italian style Bresaola from a butcher once, but that's not the same thing.

                      1. re: paulj
                        jjjrfoodie Jun 20, 2012 01:19 PM

                        The local Kroger's around here keeps the bagged style not at the meat counter itself but on the hang pegs in the refridgerted meat section next to the pre-packaged deli meats and next to the bacon, ham hocks and salt pork.

                        I noticed that the dried beef came in the poofie bag a few years back while looking for it for doing some odd recipe and parusing the specialty bacon as well.

                        I have to go to Kroger's tomorrrow. I'll confirm what brand it is, it';s location and bag size and post here with the info paulj.

                        I abhore the Armor beef in teh jar in the canned tuna aisle on teh top shelf LOL, and was elated when i found a local alternative.

                    2. o
                      ockitchenqueen Jun 18, 2012 02:29 PM

                      I use it in a dip:
                      1 package/jar Dried Beef
                      1 bunch Scallions
                      1 lb. Cream Cheese
                      Chop beef into very small dice (or use food processor) and slice scallions and fold into cream cheese. Form into ball or log and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Great with celery, crackers, or spread on a bagel.
                      People will never guess what it is!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ockitchenqueen
                        peppergal Jun 18, 2012 08:13 PM

                        Thanks, kitchenqueen. I'll have to try.

                        1. re: ockitchenqueen
                          twodales Jun 19, 2012 11:54 AM

                          I haven't made this for some time but it was always a hit at parties.

                        2. p
                          peppergal Jun 18, 2012 01:03 PM

                          Omigosh, this takes me back! We used to have it sometimes -- from a jar -- in a bechamel over rice, and Mother once served it at a hoity-toity brunch, gussied up with chopped red peppers and I-don't-remember-what-else, over her flaky homemade biscuits, and the women in their fancy dresses and pearls loved it! Must've been 40 years ago, and I still remember how good that was.

                          Thanks for the memories....

                          1. zuklaak Jun 17, 2012 07:30 PM

                            Mom used to make this, loved it, she saved the jars for small drinking glasses.

                            1. f
                              foiegras Jun 17, 2012 04:24 PM

                              Yes, I buy it for "Grandmother's chicken" occasionally ... it's the chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, covered in sour cream + cream of mushroom ... and can only be properly made by lining the casserole with dried beef.

                              1. d
                                debbiel Jun 16, 2012 07:49 PM

                                Oh, happy SOS memories from childhood! We always made it with the buddig package. I never knew you could get chipped beef in a jar.

                                For one of our annual family gatherings, I try to include one of our childhood dishes. Lash year I made SOS appetizer--Small toasts with a bowl of the chipped beef in white sauce to put on the toasts. Tasty small bites.

                                1. Berheenia Jun 16, 2012 03:46 PM

                                  Back in the day my mother would put a block of cream cheese in a small covered casserole, cover the cheese with a package of chopped chipped beef and a large dollop of horseradish. This would be brought to a cocktail party, heated in the oven and stirred. Served with crackers it was the best warm appetizer.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Berheenia
                                    mamachef Jun 16, 2012 04:01 PM

                                    I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but in the Midwest our table ( and all others, too ) were treated to a ramekin of dip very much like the one you describe, served up with a combination of breads and crackers. It was freakishly delicious and reminded me somewhat of the better Midwestern steak houses that used to serve chopped livah in the bar to waiting tables, and again when you're seated.

                                    1. re: mamachef
                                      zzDan Jun 16, 2012 07:34 PM

                                      "and reminded me somewhat of the better Midwestern steak houses that used to serve chopped livah in the bar to waiting tables, and again when you're seated."

                                      That must have been a few ice ages ago. Steak houses are popular these days but even the dedicated red meat eaters are paranoid about clogged arteries and taking statins so will pass on the chopped liver appetizers of yore

                                      What is foie gras but fancy schmancy chopped liver? My sister was telling me about a French restaurant she likes. She thought foie gras was made from a duck. I had to tell her it is duck or goose livers

                                      1. re: zzDan
                                        mamachef Jun 16, 2012 10:20 PM

                                        Yeah, I'm definitely ancient enough to remember that well. It's an outmoded tradition that isn't entirely gone, though. There's a local Meat Temple that still serves thick bacon pieces and meatballs to customers waiting for a table.
                                        Technically speaking, foie gras IS made from a duck....just not the meat proper. And chopped livah is so far removed from it.......the only similarity is that they're both made from poultry liver, but the similarity ends there.

                                    2. re: Berheenia
                                      Splendid Spatula Jun 18, 2012 11:27 AM

                                      man, that sounds good.

                                    3. h
                                      happybaker Jun 15, 2012 08:56 PM

                                      I don't eat red meat anymore, but if I did?

                                      Oh MAN, I'd eat SOS every week!

                                      My mom did make it from scratch, and it was awesome. But busy days it was banquet in the boil in bag - and it was still yummy.

                                      And Dave C, sure I was a teenager but still, I'd take those strips of dried beef from the jar, spread them with cream cheese, roll them up, eat them - and be in heaven.

                                      So do not mock the dried beef. It is your friend.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: happybaker
                                        dave_c Jun 18, 2012 08:29 AM

                                        "So do not mock the dried beef. It is your friend."

                                        No mocking, just a little fear. lol :-)

                                      2. q
                                        Querencia Jun 15, 2012 06:11 PM

                                        This is delicious: Butter a baking dish. Line it with an entire package of dried chipped beef. On top of this lay boneless skinless chicken breasts. On top of the chicken lay strips of bacon. Mix a can of Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken Soup with 1/2 pint of sour cream and pour this over the top. Bake at 275 for about an hour and a half or until slo-oo-owly done. For the last half-hour put some sliced almonds on the top. I've also seen a variant recipe in which the chicken is wrapped in the chipped beef and I once was served this dish when it had been going all day in the crock pot--- we went home for dinner with the hostess who was a co-worker. So you have a wide margin to fool around but the combination is surprisingly good.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Querencia
                                          fleck Jun 16, 2012 08:41 AM

                                          I was introduced to this back in the 70's at one of my dinner group's meals. You're right, it's surprisingly good. That chipped beef makes a yummy sauce served over rice. I find it helps to soak the dried beef briefly to remove some of the saltiness.

                                          1. re: fleck
                                            foiegras Jun 17, 2012 04:28 PM

                                            What I do is rinse it under running water as I line the casserole. Btw, butter isn't necessary ...

                                          2. re: Querencia
                                            mamachef Jun 16, 2012 01:53 PM

                                            Oooooh! Many thanks!!

                                          3. c
                                            Christina D Jun 15, 2012 05:09 PM

                                            We buy the Oscar Meyer brand, not in a jar, but in a sealed bag sold with the packaged deli meats. Actually, I should say that my mom buys it...I can't have it in the house or I'd have creamed chipped beef on toast 3 meals a day, every day.

                                            FWIW, I've never seen the stuff in a jar.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Christina D
                                              Querencia Jun 15, 2012 06:14 PM

                                              Christina, years ago it was sold in a jar. BTW if you really like Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast, try the Stouffer's frozen. My husband was probably the only surviving World War II veteran who liked CCB on T and did not call it by its rude name and he delighted in the Stouffer's.

                                            2. mamachef Jun 15, 2012 04:58 PM

                                              dave_c, every (very rare) now and again, I'll get the urge for SOS made with chipped beef as sold in the Hormel container. I understand why you are daunted, because it looks like a version of Budd's pressed meats, only all dry, and chip-like. Right?
                                              Okay, so consider this. You have the drive to work with it, so work with it respectfully. Use stock and real cream to rehydrate the strips of beef. Work slow; lightly brown up slew of onions, diced, and lend their flavors to the meat along with some salt and pepper. Be easy with the salt, as it will leach out of the meat even further during the cooking process. Add a drop or two of hot sauce; not enough to taste, but enough to sparkle the dish,make it flavorsome. Bake fresh biscuits, and ladle the SOS over. Don't be scared; take a bite. Ahhh. Stips of salty beef in creamy beefy gravy over flaky buttered biscuit.....wow. Nothing about this is wrong.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: mamachef
                                                paulj Jun 15, 2012 08:41 PM

                                                but at what point does that extra care turn the dish into something quite different? :)

                                                1. re: paulj
                                                  mamachef Jun 16, 2012 01:52 PM

                                                  I don't believe that it does, paulj. It's chipped beef in cream sauce, so it qualifies as SOS, but it's a refined version. Now, if I were to substitute strips of tenderloin for the chipped beef, I'd have to agree with you, but my version is nummy and it's definitely SOS. :)

                                                  1. re: mamachef
                                                    paulj Jun 16, 2012 08:41 PM

                                                    tenderloin? SOS as served to a Russian count? :) Add some mushrooms and a touch of sour cream ...

                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                      mamachef Jun 16, 2012 10:14 PM

                                                      Right? It instantly made me think of "Poor Man's Stroganoff."

                                                2. re: mamachef
                                                  dave_c Jun 18, 2012 08:22 AM

                                                  Daunting indeed. I don't know what to make of the rounds of meat in a jar.

                                                  Your advice sounds very nice and delicious! Also, your recipe sounds very straightforward that a monkey could make it. (TC quote from Hung ).

                                                3. t
                                                  thimes Jun 15, 2012 04:01 PM

                                                  mmmmm now I have a craving for SOS, it has been years. Growing up we had it with both chipped beef - and sometimes leftover turkey, both very tasty. Like bacardi posted above I remember it with hard boiled eggs but also with peas. mmmmmmm yum

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: thimes
                                                    Bacardi1 Jun 15, 2012 04:28 PM

                                                    Yeah, when I was just a little sprout, my dad used to get his paycheck every 3 weeks, & we always knew when the end of the month was coming, because we'd be enjoying (& I really do mean enjoying - mom was a terrific cook, regardless of what she had to work with) "SOS", "Curried Hard-Boiled Eggs", "Beef Stew", & other more economical dishes than her usual experimental & more upscale fare.

                                                  2. j
                                                    jjjrfoodie Jun 15, 2012 03:09 PM


                                                    I buy it on occasion to may homemade SOS. Yum!!!!

                                                    The Armour brand in the clear jar is OK, but I much prefer the dried/chipped beef that is similar but kept chilled back in the hang peg cooler section of my local stores back with the packaged lunch meats. My stores have it in a non vac'd bag but sealed and protected just like the rest.

                                                    It's a little softer and tends to have a nicer and less "jerky-like" texture after cooking but it is indeed still dried beef, just packaged differently and prolly of a lesser vintage, so to say...LOL...

                                                    I;ve also used the Carl Buddig brand beef in the package as well as it is close. If too soft, I often take it out of the package and chop up and then spread out on a cookie sheet in the refridge overnignt or as long as it takes for it to dry out to your preferred texture. Since it's processed, little heath harm but gets you where you need to be for any SOS recipe.

                                                    I'll be honest and the Armour is only my last line of choice as it does tend to be a bit too leathery for my tastes.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: jjjrfoodie
                                                      johnnyb510 Jun 15, 2012 03:27 PM

                                                      Carston air dried beef is very good for SOS. Stouffer's (frozen) in boil in bag is pre made and also good. Add a dash of worschestershire sauce, pour over English muffin....great.

                                                      1. re: johnnyb510
                                                        paulj Jun 15, 2012 03:53 PM

                                                        It's good to know that Stouffer's is a good alternative. I've balked at buying the Armour jar at $15/lb, even knowing it is a dried product. I haven't seen the smaller pouches in a sometime.

                                                        1. re: johnnyb510
                                                          dave_c Jun 15, 2012 04:02 PM

                                                          Sounds like the frozen version might be good enough for me to get an "authentic" taste SOS without having to buy the jarred stuff. If I like frozen stuff, I may give the jarred stuff a try.

                                                          1. re: dave_c
                                                            PotatoHouse Jun 17, 2012 03:45 PM

                                                            Stouffer's has a pretty good frozen version.

                                                            1. re: PotatoHouse
                                                              Janet from Richmond Jun 17, 2012 04:21 PM

                                                              +1 for Stouffers.

                                                              1. re: Janet from Richmond
                                                                Berheenia Jun 18, 2012 01:08 PM

                                                                +2 for Stouffers- always keep a package on hand. On white toast with tiny peas on top.

                                                        2. re: jjjrfoodie
                                                          paulj Jun 15, 2012 03:51 PM

                                                          Texture is a big part of the difference between SOS made with ground beef and chipped beef. I can see where a person could have preferences, not too dry and leathery, but not too soft, like a deli meat.

                                                          Chipped beef lean, so does not contribute a lot of flavor to the gravy, except for saltiness. So it has more of a beef in cream sauce character, as opposed to beef in its own gravy.

                                                        3. paulj Jun 15, 2012 12:16 PM

                                                          Why do you want the authentic version? fond memories from your service days, or curiosity? The whole purpose to serving it in a cream sauce is to moisten and 'dilute' the salty dried beef. The modern jarred stuff is a refined version of an old way of preserving meat without refrigeration or canning. Like other salt dried items (e.g. salt cod) it can be soaked in water before further use.

                                                          There's nothing to keep you from serving left over roast beef in a cream sauce. Usually people use the beef drippings or stock to make the gravy, but it could just as well be milk. Or you could try another old fashioned idea, and fry up some salt pork, and serve that in a milk gravy.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                            dave_c Jun 15, 2012 12:27 PM

                                                            Curiosity is my motive.

                                                            1. re: dave_c
                                                              Bacardi1 Jun 15, 2012 03:13 PM

                                                              Actually, "authentic" creamed chipped beef (aka "Sh*t On a Shingle" if you were ever in the military) really isn't all that bad. In fact, my mom used to serve it to us over toast, sometimes with one or two quartered hard-boiled eggs added as well. And she bought the stuff in the jar. Don't recall her doing any soaking or anything - just chopping it up & adding it to a quantity of plain white (aka Bechamel) sauce. It can't be all that bad, as it sometimes turns up on breakfast/brunch menus - someone must be enjoying it.

                                                              The worst that can happen is that you won't care for it & thus won't bother making it again. No big deal. But it is kind of a fun "blast from the past" for a lot of folk.

                                                              1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                tinnywatty Jun 16, 2012 08:38 PM

                                                                I agree that it's not bad at all- and I am the type that turns up my nose at most processed prepacked meats. My grandfather used to serve it now and then, I suppose for memory's sake, and I remember really enjoying it. I believe his came from some type of bag, like the way bacon is packed for supermarkets- but if I were ever to make it again, I'd make my own cream sauce.

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