I'm Eating What?! Jamaican Country Style Corned Beef in a Can From Brazil

Categories: Ethical Eating
Riki Altman
Let's start this one off with the label's conundrum. First we've got corned beef "with juices" from a brand called Jamaican Country Style. Do Jamaican country folk eat this stuff? Anyone? Bueller? And it's labeled "Product of Brazil." Hmmm. Do Jamaican country folk living in Brazil eat this stuff? Any Brazilian-Jamaicans willing to answer? 

Let's dig in while we await an answer. Uh, wait -- why is the pull-tab on the bottom? Hmmm. Well, since the little can was part of a "try this if you dare" gesture from my editor, it's anyone's guess as to whether the other little oblong cans of corned beef on the shelf where this gem came from also had this peculiarity. 

Also peculiar was this product's texture and color. 

It's not composed of little square chunks, dotted with bits of potato, like hash. Nope, it's little masticated-looking flecks of pink meat with a great degree of fatty bits keeping the lot together. Not the most beautiful presentation in the culinary world, but at least there were no bones, scales, or eyeballs to contend with. No juices either. It just tastes kinda salty and very, very fatty. Even leaves a thick film in the mouth. 

The label's serving suggestion is to slice the can's contents up and serve it on a bed of lettuce with some veggie accompaniments. Probably wouldn't have made a savory presentation on any typical American dinner table, but what the heck else does one do with the stuff then? Smash it between two loaves of rye and slap some deli mustard on it? Crumble it up with some diced spuds and try to pass it off as hash? 

There's an issue to be dealt with another time, once the Brazilian-Jamaicans chime in with suggestions.

Otherwise, who should eat this? Someone who likes their meat pre-chewed and feels Spam isn't overrated.

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The first injustice with that can of corned beef would be the fatty bits.  I don't like brands that have a lot of that... too rubbery and takes the enjoyment away.  If what you meant was a layer of solidified fat mostly at the top or bottom of the can, then that fat melts when cooked.  Usually I skip oil ingredients in cook-up recipes, because this fat is usually enough to make it just right

   Another injustice is the suggestion on what to do with it.  They should have had a recipe on how to cook it up, with onions tomatoes, spices, etc.  Believe me, it's better than ground beef when cooked up.  You'd have it with white rice, and maybe some fried plantains and sliced avocados on the side.

   I actually found your post while looking up how to make finger sandwiches with it.  Haven't had them since I was a kid, and wanna make sure I'm not missing any ingredients.  If you've already cooked it up, you can make regular sandwiches with the leftovers, preferably with a heavy breadm like what Jamaicans call Hardough bread, but if regular sliced is what you have, no problem.  You layer it with fresh tomatoes slices, lettuce and maybe even avocado.  You don't have to precook it to make sandwiches though.  Just mash it with a fork, and mix it up with finely chopped onion bits, a little mayonnaise and black pepper, all to your liking. then layer with the veggies.

   So, you've been done wrong.  Look up recipes for Jamaican corned beef (aka bully beef), and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the taste.

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