I know that this is the season for corned beef as we celebrate Irish heritage week.

While the British invented the term “corned beef” due to the size of the salt crystals that resembled corn kernels. The salt was used to cure the beef and preserve it for long journeys.

Because of the salt and The Cattle Acts of 1666, after a long fight between the Brits and Ireland it eventually allowed Ireland to be the hub of corned beef.

Corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots on St Patrick's Day
Photo via fotek

Kelly’s Tavern — The sandwich

Here in New Jersey, we love corned beef, we get tons of corned beef at Kelly’s Tavern in Neptune, and they serve it on their famous Reuben sandwich, more on that later.

Kelly’s is also a destination for good Irish celebrations and just hanging. The food is good, the bartenders are good and it’s a good place to relax.

Kelly's Tavern (Photo via Google Maps)
Kelly's Tavern (Photo via Google Maps)

Kelly’s serves one of the best Reuben sandwiches in the state. They have a choice of a full or a mini; the full will feed two people or a very hungry individual.

People think that the Reuben is an Irish creation, it is not.

The story is that Reuben Kulafkosky, a Lithuanian Jewish grocer from Omaha, Nebraska added sauerkraut to his corned beef sandwich at The Blackstone Hotel around 1920.

Chales Shimmel the Blackstone’s owner’s son added Swiss cheese and Russian dressing and put the whole sandwich on rye bread and dubbed it the Reuben sandwich and entered into a National Sandwich contest and won. In Omaha on March 14t it was declared Reuben Sandwich Day.

Reuben Sandwich
Photo via rebeccafondren

Harold’s Deli

On average, Harold’s Deli in Edison cooks over four tons of corned beef a week. Of course, at Harold's you get a sandwich with close to five pounds of corned beef on it.

With the large amount of corned beef that they dish out you know that the corned beef is fresh because the corned beef turnover is frequent.

How you cook the corned beef will determine the toughness of the meat. While the recipe and procedure are relatively simple it can be tricky to get that cut of corned beef just right and tender.

Homemade Corned Beef and Cabbage with Carrots and Potatoes
Photo via bhofack2

My friend Joe Briody had an iconic Irish bar in Rumson that unfortunately closed its doors on March 17, 2008. During the St. Paddy’s Day celebration, Briody’s would cook over 4,000 pounds of corned beef.

It was great and I enjoyed the bar, my friendship with Joe and the taste of that great corned beef.

Here is how to cook a great corned beef

  • Corned beef brisket, use Mosey’s brand
  • ½ cup pickling spice per 10 lbs
  • ¼ cup of peppercorns (whole)
  • 12 oz. beer (Harp beer) per 10 lbs
  • 2 shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • Water to fill

How to put it together:

Fill pot with water till it covers the beef. Add pickling spice and beer.

After hour one while cooking, add a dash of Jameson in the pot and “one for the cook.” Cook for approximately 2 hours 15 minutes.

Serve warm, do not let it rest too long, it will dry out.

While the corned beef is an Irish tradition, it can be enjoyed year-round in all its glory. Support New Jersey places that make it part of their food fare and enjoy the Irish Season.

Big Joe's favorite Irish pubs in New Jersey

Big Joe Henry picks his favorite Irish pubs for St. Patrick's Day — or any day of the year.

Gallery Credit: Big Joe Jenry

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

Report a correction 👈

More From 94.5 PST