A popular dish in Jamaica, the corned beef recipe is most typically referred to as “Bully Beef.” Made with corned beef from a can, Jamaican style corned beef is a great meal option for people on-the-go or just want to throw something quick together in the kitchen that the whole family will love. It is simple and delicious, so it’s no wonder that this traditional Jamaican dish is gaining popularity in the United States.
In this article, we want to share with you the culture and history behind the dish and then teach you to make it for yourself and your family right at home with our favorite corned beef recipe! We will also suggest the best place where you can eat this meal on your next vacation to Jamaica so that you can partake in this traditional meal where it is so ingrained in the culture.
History of Jamaican Corned Beef
This dish became popular in Jamaica due to its versatility and long shelf-life. Jamaicans are often subjected to harsh island weather such as hurricanes. In situations like these, many residents of Jamaica rely on canned food that isn’t perishable. Tinned corned beef, or “bully beef,” has been a popular option in such situations. This is because it is delicious, filling, and one can prepare it in many different ways. You can even eat it straight from the can during power-outages.
For all of these reasons, cans of corned beef became a staple food for both British and American soldiers. It quickly grew in popularity, and with the rise of Jamaican restaurants in the United States, many Americans are now enjoying this versatile and culturally-rich dish. The corned beef recipe below will allow you to partake in this little bit of history as well.
How to Prepare Jamaican Corned Beef at Home
Jamaican style corned beef, or bully beef, is a quick and easy one pot recipe. Simply begin adding the ingredients to your frying pan, and before you know it you have created a rich, delicious, home-cooked meal that tastes like you’ve spent hours preparing it.
This corned beef recipe can be made alongside whatever you’d like. In Jamaica, it is traditionally served alongside mixed vegetables, cabbage, potatoes, rice, toast, or homemade breads. You can also put it on bread and eat it as a sandwich if you find yourself needing to rush out the door. The popularity of corned beef is largely due to this versatility. Feel free to experiment with different sides to figure out exactly how you and your family like it best.
Below, we have provided a corned beef recipe for preparing the dish in a way that is popular among residents of Jamaica who grew up eating this traditional and delicious meal. In Jamaica, this dish is commonly served as a breakfast option as well as an option for evening meals. However, it is typically served for lunch and dinner at Jamaican restaurants throughout the United States. Feel free to try this meal at whatever time in the day suits you. This is a recipe for one can of corned beef, which typically makes about four servings. Give this corned beef recipe a try yourself!
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 16 oz. tin of minced corned beef.
- 1 large onion, cut into thin slices.
- 1 tbsp freshly minced thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme.
- 2 stalks of green onion, finely chopped.
- 1 habanero chili pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
- 1 large tomato, chopped.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and habanero chili pepper to the frying pan. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the pepper becomes fragrant and the onions become translucent.
- Add the minced thyme to the frying pan and cook for just a few seconds until fragrant.
- Add the corned beef, or bully beef, into the frying pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir everything together and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corned beef heats up all the way through.
- Add the tomato and green onions into the frying pan. Cook for another 5 minutes to let all of the flavors blend together.
- Remove the dish from heat and serve.
Where Can You Try Jamaican Corned Beef in a Restaurant?
If you are looking for delicious and authentic Jamaican corned beef in the United States, stop into Little Ochie’s Jamaican Cuisine the next time you’re in New York City. The small restaurant is popular in the city for their traditional Jamaican meals, and they serve the dish early in the day.
For those of you who travel and want to try traditional bully beef right at the source, we recommend stopping by for breakfast at The Pelican Grill in Montego Bay. The restaurant is open throughout the day. They serve a delicious bully beef dish for breakfast with your choice of side.
Whether trying it out at a restaurant or giving this corned beef recipe a shot at home, we hope you’ll enjoy the meal as much as we do. The above recipe is great for singles on a budget or makes for a wonderful weeknight option for busy parents. The flavors blend together perfectly and the dish’s versatility alone makes it worth trying. Keep it in mind on your next Jamaican vacation to truly experience this traditional dish with deep roots in the culture and history of the country.
What are your favorite sides to eat with this dish? Are you more of a corned beef hash for breakfast or a bully beef with rice for dinner person? You can also kick this recipe up a notch by leaving the pepper seeds in, or you can make it milder and child-friendly by simply eliminating the peppers and adding more vegetables to your dish. Let us know what you love about this corned beef recipe and all of your different tips for preparing it.