In Anglo-Saxon times, people used to preserve their meat for the winter. Meat is packed in barrels with pellets of salt on it that were the size of corn kernels, which was also called as "corns" of salt. Thus, the name "corned" was attributed to meat.
Irish beef was exporter to many areas, but due to its expensive source, the majority cannot afford it. Some tend to raise cows on their own for dairy products, of which they can get cheese and cream from them. When cows can no longer produce milk, they are being slaughtered.
For people with low economic status, they raised sheep for wool, and hogs and pigs as their only livestock for their own consumption. Therefore, pork and bacon are the common meats being preserved and eaten by Irish.
Many Irish migrated to the shores of America during the mid-19th century; it was after the Irish potato blight or Great Famine. The new Irish immigrants living in ethnic neighborhoods have learned to substitute salted bacon as their corned beef because this is more affordable than the original beef that was corned in Ireland. Americans began to like it, especially with green cabbage, making this food more popular.
After several years following the Irish immigration, St. Patrick's Day was celebrated with traditional Irish cuisine, and corned beef is one of the most popular dishes being prepared. The serving of this food during St. Patrick's Day symbolizes a form of new found "wealth", and became a ritual for Irish Americans.
Due to the popularity of this food, it became very affordable in America; even the peasants can afford it for their meals.
Now, this food is distributed all over the world. It is commonly made of thick cuts of beef, usually from the roast cuts from the hindquarter, known as brisket. The beef will then be cured or corned for several weeks using salt. This food is often purchased in most grocery stores as precooked in the deli section. There are also canned beef that is more popular now in some countries.
A lot of recipes have been created that use corned beef as the main ingredient. This food is sometimes combined with brown sugar, spices, and curing salt. Other ingredients, such as peppercorns, juniper berries, and mustard seed can be added. This will be marinated for about 20 days to attain a pink and cured beef in the brine.