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Looking to make the Quintessential St. Patrick's Day Meal?

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We all know Sarasotan's love their St. Patrick's Day Celebrations, not to mention the food that comes along with it. If you're considering making your own Irish feast, then you better educate yourself on the real-deal preservative-free gray corned beef! It may not look as attractive as its pink counterpart, but it's definitely the way to go this St Patty's day.

If you've ever been in the New England area for St. Patty's Day, you know it doesn't get it more traditional than having Gray Corned Beef to accompany your potatoes and cabbage on the Irish holiday. Gray Corned Beef is the preservative-free counterpart of its pink and more common cousin. Most people outside New England have never tasted, much less heard of, gray corned beef. But in New England---and now also in Sarasota (at Karl Ehmer's Meats on Tamiami Trail near the Landings)---butchers are working nonstop to prepare the Irish delicacy. But you better hurry ... the tenderly delicious beef specialty takes 10 days to cure, so reserverations for the made-to-order recipe must be secured by March 6.

According to Mark Rebhan, proprietor at Karl Ehmers in Sarasota (, the difference between the two styles is in the brine. Gray Corned Beef is prepared in a brine consisting of water, sea salt and raw sugar under controlled temperatures that cannot exceed 40 degrees. Typical (pink) corned beef uses potassium nitrate (aka saltpeter), sodium nitrate and other nitrites to give the beef its rosy hue.

Karl Ehmers will accept orders for gray corned beef thru 3/6 ($3.99/pound) as well as pink corned beef ($3.49/pound). Alpine Steakhouse will celebrate St. Patrick's Day on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17 with lunch and dinner specials of either style corned beef, cabbage, Irish potatoes, carrots and soda bread for $14.95 and braised lamb shank meals at $14.95. Green beer and Irish music will be featured both days.

Mark reminds everyone that the requisite part of any traditional boiled dinner is making red flannel hash from the leftovers (free recipes available for all customers)!

“Red flannel hash is basically corned beef, cabbage, carrots, turnips, potatoes, beets,” Rebhan explains. “Beets? Irish? Hey, the Irish never had corned beef in Ireland. Corned beef isn’t really Irish. It’s an American tradition anyway---not Irish.” Never mind the origins---don't miss the REAL DEAL at Karl Ehmers and Alpine Steakhouse this St. Patty's Day


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