Why do they call it corned beef?
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There are a few theories out there as to why corned beef is called corned beef. One theory is that the name comes from the process of curing the beef in large kernels of salt, called “corns.” Another theory is that the name corned beef comes from the Irish word for small bits of meat, “corned.” Whatever the origins of the name, corned beef is a delicious and popular dish that has been enjoyed for centuries.
There are several theories of where the name “corned beef” came from. One theory suggests that dried and ground barley (known at times as “corned” barley) was added as filler to round out the weight and make it more economical, and this by association became the name for the meat as well. Another is that the name came from the fact that the meat is prepared with large amounts of salt, and during the process, the salt crystals would stick to the meat and appear as if it were ground corn. Finally, there is the argument that the original Irish name was “boran breac”, which literally translates to “speckled (or spotted) beef”. Whatever the original name, when “corne” was dropped, the new name for the product didn’t really matter anymore, since all of the other name meanings were already associated with the product.
Corned beef is made from a cut of beef known as the brisket. The brisket is a forequarter muscle from the breast or chest of the cow, between the chuck and the foreshank, and is a relatively lean muscle. The brisket muscles are primarily used for slow, steady pulls and are quite tough, which makes them great for slow-cooking methods like braising and corning. The term “corned” comes from the fact that this cut of meat was once packed in a large container called a “corn”, filled with salt and spices to preserve the meat.