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Will we ever see pressed corned beef again?

When I brown bagged my school lunches back in the 60's, my ultimate lunch sandwich was pressed corned beef on Wonder Bread.

Obviously, since that time its disappeared from deli meat counters throughout the U.S. Guess it was part of the Argentinean Beef Import ban imposed by the federal government around 2001.

Any 'hounds know if the import ban is still in effect. Or if both governments are working toward a resolution?

Sure would like to begin buying the product again.

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  1. Forgive my ignorance, but here in the UK all we have ever really known is tinned corned beef, sometimes known as pemmican. Is that what you are referring to? I love it!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robin Joy

      Yes, the beef was delivered tinned to deli counters back in the day. Meat cutters removed the product from the can, wrapped it in celophane and sold it from the lunchmeat counters.

    2. I remember Pressed Ham from those days...sort of in an oval shape but not Pressed Corned Beef. And I don't see it anymore either.....but I didn't like it back then, my brothers did -- which is why my Mom would buy it. She knew better than to put it in my lunch.

      Today, most of the "Corned Beef" that you can buy in supermarket deli departments (just like the "Turkey" or "Roast Beef") is pressed or pre-formed meat product. Safeway Primo Taglio or Hormel come to mind. They aren't described as pressed but that's what they are.

      Genuine, real corned beef is irregularly shaped and typically has fat running through it....the best stuff is sold hot and is more expensive than the deli dept. stuff.

      1. I never really liked pressed or formed corned beef as much as the 'real' stuff my mom made or as I get in a NY deli. It's ok, but not my favorite. You can get it 'tinned' or 'canned' at the local stores usually. The stuff in packages in the packaged deli section is close, IMHO.

        1. Tinned corned beef is still available, I think. Just not so much call for it from deli counters now, as the regular cooked stuff and pastrami have crowded it out, along with all the other sausages and meats that we didn't have before. It's a shelf room issue, for one thing, and it's sort of fallen off the deli customers' radar. But that was one of my favorite sandwich meats, too.

          1. A while back I asked the owner of the butcher shop where I buy our meats, why he didn't stock the product. He told me that there were no domestic (meaning USA) suppliers. That all the product was imported from Argentina, thus subject to the import ban.

            True, or not, I have no idea.

            2 Replies
            1. re: RedTop

              Since when were Argentine beef imports banned? They've been a major supplier of canned beef for ages. Did some embargo happen when I wasn't looking?

              1. re: Will Owen

                Among other sources out there, is this very short explaination of what caused the original import ban in the US.


                Wikipedia has several references to the ban also, but I don't use it for attribution.

            2. Now I'm curious. What is pressed corned beef? I know there is the formed stuff that you find behind most deli counters and then there is the true corned beef which is beef brisket that has been brined and steamed and is served in places like Katz. What is pressed corned beef like?

              1. Are you talking about this kind of stuff?

                It comes out of a trapazoidal can like this

                I remember as a kid myself, I'd see a LARGE tin (maybe 5lbs) in the deli counter and sure enough the guy would slice it up for customers.
                I never understood exactly why as you can purchase (and we did) the smaller tins for home use.
                My dad used to call it "bully beef"(as a kid and even today, the supplied key to open the tin fascinated me


                Its widely available in Canada, and I think pretty much in the US, just not at the deli counter, but in the tinned meat section. For whatever reason, production is usually in south america - I usually see "Product of Brazil" on the tins, although I've seen Argentina (as you mention), Australia, Malaysia, and India.

                I like it sliced and eaten just like that, or in a sandwich with mustard. Its also very good fried up with cubed, boiled potatoes and onions - corned beef hash.
                Although corned beef hash (or even pastrami hash) made from "real" corned beef (or pastrami) is very good, the canned version has its own merits.

                10 Replies
                1. re: porker

                  Yes to your first photo, Porker. Thats the product I used to see and purchase at the butcher shop deli counter.

                  I'll have to search it out in the grocery section of the market we shop. But, I'm sure if it was stocked there, it would have jumped out at me :)

                  1. re: RedTop

                    Yes, in the US it is found in the canned meat section. Look for Libby's or Armour brand. Runs about $5 a can in my area.

                    1. re: RedTop

                      Tinned corned beef is widely available. In New York, I can find Libby's next to the Spam and Vienna sausages at my local grocery store, but I prefer the Palm brand I can buy from Asian markets. Halal markets also regularly stock corned beef.

                      1. re: JungMann

                        Also very popular (various brands) in Caribbean shops.

                        RedTop, image-google "tinned corned beef" and you'll see quite a few brands represented. A few of which you'll find in the grocery.

                        1. re: porker

                          Thanks for that tip Porker. We always have a can of Mary Kitchen hash in the pantry. Wouldn't try to put that in a sandwich :)

                          But I will look for the Libby's Corned beef in the trapezoidal can. Think I could release, slice thin, and refrigerate the product for the sandwiches.

                          1. re: RedTop

                            The Libby's product that is sold in the small cans is nowhere close to the product you are referring to Redtop. Not even in the same stratosphere- sub par to the type sliced at a deli counter.

                            1. re: dlamp3300

                              I think there is a bit of confusion here.

                              The OP is looking for a product that comes out of a can like the first picture. Its rare to see it today, sliced at the deli.

                              Corned beef sliced at the deli *today* will likely be a pastrami-type meat like the second picture.

                              They are definitely different (not even in the same stratosphere), but depending on what you want, not necessarily "sub-par" (like comparing a weiner to a steak).

                              If you're looking for the first version, the Libby's (or Hereford, or Hormel, or Grace, etc etc
                              https://www.google.com/search?lr=&amp...) will be close to this.

                      1. re: sandylc

                        Its Spam-like, but different in taste.

                        1. re: porker

                          But it doesn't have the congealed texture of Spam. Once you cook it in a hot pan, it crumbles into a perfectly acceptable hash.

                    2. In the deli at my Giant, they sell Carnegie Deli (NY)
                      corned beef, pastrami and pot roast in microwavable
                      packages. Much better then the pressed, sliced-at-the-
                      counter stuff, IMO, and maybe even a bit cheaper.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ferventfoodie

                        SEAFOOD CITY in California carries it.

                        Australian or New Zealand product, in tins.

                        1. re: ferventfoodie

                          I dont know why but some people prefer the canned corned beef for sandwiches. it's what they grew up with. i know people who eat it straight from the can. but it should be available at a grocery near the OP.

                        2. Tinned corned beef is available in BC grocery stores. From Australia and New Zealand.

                          1. Pressed corned beef, like many inexpensive products have disappeared from deli counters. Stores want you to buy the expensive stuff. They don't want to slice and weigh 2.99-3.99 product when they can get you to buy 999 lb goods. The labor and packaging cost for the store is the same.

                            I recently had this argument with Stop and Shop. My mother's health aide asks for liverwurst for lunch each week. Until 2 weeks ago I could buy her Deutschmacher or Hummel for $3.99 lb or Mother Goose for $4.29. Now ONLY Boars Head is being stocked for $6.29 lb. I'll buy the aide's liverwurst elsewhere.

                            I see the canned pressed corned beef in the Spanish foods section of area supermarket (near the Goya products).

                            Two weeks ago I saw it available for slicing by the pound in the Deli of Food Bazaar Supermarket in Bridgeport, CT. This small chain caters to immingrants from Latin America, Easten Europe, UK/Ireland and the Far East. Many items I can't find in whitebread American Supermarkets are still sold there.

                            Look for supermarkets that serve the immigrant and poor community and you may find this product.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: bagelman01

                              Thanks for that suggestion, bagelman. There are latin and asian grocery stores a short drive away for me.

                            2. Where do you live that you don't see canned corned beef on grocery shelves?

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: JayL

                                I think RedTop was looking for it in the deli section (where it all but disappeared) and perhaps did not think of looking on the shelves...

                                1. re: porker

                                  What was sold in deli section was the size and shape of Boiled ham---a long rectangular formed piece. Years ago the hams used to come in a can like sardines and were opened with a key. Now the delis get them shrink wrapped.

                                  The deli size is made for sandwiches, the small cans on the grocery shelves are not large enough for nice sandwich slices

                                2. Learned a recipe in Trinidad while there. Open can of Corned Beef and cube it along with a medium to large onion into 1/4 inch pieces. Heat large frying pan or wok and add 2 tbsp canola or olive oil first add cubed onions and lightly caramelize constantly stirring. Add layer of cubed CB and cover for 30-60 seconds or until the CB softens then stir altogether until thoroughly mixed then serve. Spread 1-2 heaping tbsp on warmed pita or tortilla and top with slawed lettuce and or raw veggie of choice. Can also be added to boiled diced potatoes. No spices or sauces needed IMO but pepper goes nice. Enjoy!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Tilbrons

                                    I've not heard of what you describe, but a Trini Corned Beef & Cabbage is unequalled.

                                    1. re: Tilbrons

                                      Haven't been to Trinidad, but I make hash in a smilar fashion.
                                      You start with resin, ahhh, wait no...
                                      I dice potatoes in small cubes and cook a bit in microwave until slightly soft. Dice some onion and toss in an oiled pan, add potatoes, wilt onions a bit, add corned beef, mix.
                                      Continue cooking until everything comes together.
                                      I eat it straight up, sometimes topped with an over-easy egg.

                                      In a tortilla with hot sauce sounds great.

                                      1. re: Tilbrons

                                        My Trini wife is wondering what part of Trinidad this recipe comes from. Not only does the recipe sound suspect, but the pita & tortilla part is as well.

                                        When eating corned beef they tend to use roti, hops, or fry bake...not to mention, I've never seen or heard of a Trini cooking something so bland (CB & onions with nothing else?).

                                        We in no way are saying what you experienced isn't the case...she is just wondering where you were when eating this?


                                        1. re: JayL

                                          Hi Jay, yes I learned it in south Trinidad using Sada roti which I rarely make and have experimented with assorted breads and topping as it suits. thx!