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Jun 15, 2012 12:03 PM

Anyone still using chipped beef?

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. :-)

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  1. 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: dave_c

        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

          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.

    1. Yep.

      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.

      12 Replies
      1. re: jjjrfoodie

        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

          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

            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

              Stouffer's has a pretty good frozen version.

                1. re: Janet from Richmond

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

                  1. re: Berheenia

                    Stouffers or homemade, put it over a baked potato for a super dinner!

              1. re: dave_c

                I love the Stouffer's frozen Creamed Chipped Beef. My father keeps telling me I can make it myself. I could, but the Stouffer's is so tasty and usually sells for $2.50 per package. Add to that the ease and time saved, it makes it a win - win in my book~!

            2. re: jjjrfoodie

              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.

              1. re: paulj

                if you use the pork fat in the original Navy recipie or what my grandfather used to use when he was in Korea (yes he was a cook). You just get that good old leather boot and boil it for a while and cut it into strips. drain the water add the fat and that boot becomes food :-p

                1. re: tzarius

                  Wow ... My grandfather was a cook in the Army in Korea. My mother gave me his cookbook from his days in the Army. I will have to dig it out and see what I can find~!

            3. 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

                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. 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 Nothing about this is wrong.

                6 Replies
                1. re: mamachef

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

                  1. re: paulj

                    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

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

                      1. re: paulj

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

                  2. re: mamachef

                    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 ).

                    1. re: mamachef

                      you DO know you can use deli hard salami for SOS as well don't you? Just strip and fry it a little bit before adding it to the cream sauce.

                    2. 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

                        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.