Gray Corned Beef Is a Thing and Apparently Better for You, Too
St. Paddy's Day 2022 is upon us, which means grocery stores are pumping out corned beef left and right.
Well, here's an unpopular opinion for you: corned beef is just OK. I'm sorry, I know it's a staple menu item every March 17, but there's something about corned beef and cabbage that really turns me off.
However, for those of you who do enjoy the Irish delicacy, did you know that there's a type of cured meat called gray corned beef (as opposed to red)? I'm just hoping I'm not alone on this one, because I was today years old when I found out gray corned beef exists.
While scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I came across an educational video from Lees Market in Westport. It featured Dave Cote, meat department expert, who took me to church with a 30-second video explaining what this gray, unsatisfying-looking meat was all about:
Apparently, it's a New England specialty and is only found around these parts of the world. Technically, it's the same type of beef brisket, just cured and prepared differently.
To be honest, since Cote put it that way, why would anyone enjoy the red over the gray? Perhaps it's a personal preference. Either way, hold the nitrates, please.
I made a few phone calls around the SouthCoast to see who carries corned beef, but in particular, this gray beef:
- Market Basket in New Bedford- Yes
- Shaws in Dartmouth: No (Having trouble getting it, but has definitely carried it in the past)
- Stop N’ Shop in Dartmouth: No
- Lee’s Market in Westport: Yes
- Market Basket in Fall River: Yes
- Trucchi’s in New Bedford: Yes (in a case in the middle of the frozen food aisle)
- Amaral’s Market in New Bedford: No
- The Butcher Shop in New Bedford: No, just the red.
- Westport Meats: No
- Stop N’ Shop in Fall River (Rodman Street): No
- Chaves Market: No
- Farm & Coast Market South Dartmouth: No, just the red
- Gray Gables in Bourne: No
- Shaws in Fall River: No
However you celebrate St. Patrick's Day, whether you're Irish or not, know the difference between your red and grey corned beef.
When I asked the butchers in the various meat departments across the SouthCoast, they all had the same answer: The grey is much saltier than the red and is, in fact, somewhat better for you without all the nitrates.