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How to Choose the Best Cut of Corned Beef

Updated on July 2, 2013

Corned Beef

Although corned beef is known as a delicious St. Patrick's day meat, it can be eaten any time of the year or on any holiday. It is best known as "corned beef and cabbage," and pairs nicely with other vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Choosing a corned beef at the supermarket for the first time can be exasperating if you do not understand the different cuts.

Cut against the grain.
Cut against the grain.

Choose the Right Cut

At the supermarket, three different cuts of corned beef can almost always be found. Around St. Patrick's Day, there is usually a good supply of corned beef including: Point Cut, Flat Cut (also known as Thin Cut) and Round Cut. Corned beef might be in short supply at other times of the year and sometimes there is only one cut to choose from. Decide which cut to purchase by using these guidelines:

Point Cut is the least expensive, fattiest and has the highest calorie count. Some say this is the tastiest because of the high fat content.

Flat Cut (aka Thin Cut) is the most popular and used to be my personal favorite (until I found and tried gray). It is a little pricier than point cut, and has less fat and calories. Flat cut is 230 calories per serving (4 ounces of uncooked) .

Round Cut is more expensive and even less fat and calories than Flat Cut. Due to the lack of fat, the flavor is not as good as either the Flat or the Point Cut. Round is 120 calories per serving (4 ounces uncooked). If you are looking to lower calories, this would be a good choice.

Gray does not have any artificial color or added nitrates. Once I found this at the supermarket and tried it, it became my personal favorite.

Many people only cook corned beef once or twice a year. If you are one of those, a good way to determine which cut is your favorite is to purchase a different cut/brand each time until you've tried them all. Because of seasonings that are used, different brands of the same cut can vary in taste. Note which brands/cut are good or bad. I keep my notes in my recipe book so they are always handy. Notes in a smartphone are a good idea, because most of us carry them with us into the supermarket.


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