Canned corn beef on a plate
What Canned Corned Beef Is Really Made Of
Packed into a mushy, pink clump coated with a translucent film of fat, canned corn beef is made from lean beef cuts like round or brisket and cured with salt, nitrate, and nitrite.
The beef first goes through either dry or wet curing, and the pink color comes from the reaction of sodium nitrite with it's pigment, fading when exposed to oxygen and light.
The meat is tenderized through pressure steaming and flavored with pepper, sugar, and sodium glutamate.
Beef tallow, broth, or water are added for moisture before canning and sterilizing. It's safe to eat raw from the can, but sautéing can improve the texture.