Corned Beef Battle: How to Decide which Corned Beef Brand to Buy

October 2, 2018

If you look at my family’s weekly grocery haul, you might think we’re preparing for a zombie apocalypse. But our major stockpile of canned goods is actually meant for the weekday mornings when we’re too lazy to make breakfast from scratch. And one petty dilemma I always have at the supermarket is choosing which brand of canned corned beef to buy.

There’s a little bit of confusion regarding the origins of corned beef. I’m not sure if it came from America or Ireland, but I do know that corned beef was traditionally served every Easter Sunday during the 17th century. There were no refrigerators back then, so they preserved the beef with kernels or corns of rock salt, hence corned beef’s misleading name.  Also, while old-style corned beef looks more like sliced ham, its more familiar, shredded form became a hit with soldiers since it was easier to ration.

There are just so many local brands available in the market now, with each one claiming to be better than the rest, and our importers have also been bringing in more and more foreign brands. So to spare you the trouble of having to try each one, I got a sample of the brands available at my local grocery, and conducted my own taste test with a corned beef lunch buffet.

2

Argentina Gold Label Corned Beef

3 Argentina

As one of the most popular local brands, Argentina has come up with different variants of their corned beef through the years. To compete with the high-end brands, they’ve developed the Gold Label.

Made with 100% imported beef, this variant has less fat than their Carne Norte alternative. It isn’t as salty as the said variant either. I’d say it tastes like it was made from perfectly-marinated Grade-A beef, and for me, that makes it well worth the Php 44 (per 150 grams) price tag.

Brillo Premium Corned Beef

4 Brillo

Brillo is a fairly new brand that takes its name from the Italian way of slow-cooking corned beef. It uses primo categoria carne (premium grade beef), and allegedly has zero trans-fat. Despite the brand’s Italian references, it’s actually a local product. The price is pretty steep at Php 65 per 210-gram can, so it’s not surprising that they’re starting to sell these in bundles.

Upon opening the can, you might be grossed out by the sight of a giant tendon amidst slivers of meat, but I think you’ll also appreciate that the product doesn’t seem to have too much lard. When cooked, Brillo corned beef looks like a dark and juicy steak, but it was so salty that I had to drink a whole glass of water after just one spoonful.

Delimondo Ranch Style Corned Beef

5 Delimondo

Delimondo is probably one of the most in-demand brands right now, and I think that’s because it’s a straightforward product. Made with top-choice ingredients in the old-fashioned way, one taste of the stuff is enough to convince you that you’re eating real meat.

As compared to other local brands, Delimondo costs more at Php 110 per 260 grams. Nevertheless, a plate of this really good corned beef can make you forget about that minor hole in your wallet.

Highlands Corned Beef

6 Highland

Highlands Corned Beef is CDO’s answer to the many first-rate brands out there. But unlike the other high-end brands, Highlands is more affordable at Php 25 per 100 grams.

It’s supposedly made with Angus beef, but I wouldn’t expect much, given the price. It tastes a little bland, and it doesn’t look as appetizing as the other brands. You’ll also notice that it looks too red, and the color resembles that of tocino‘s.

Truth be told, I just picked up a can of Highlands when it was first introduced because of the big, attractive billboards and bus ads featuring Jake Cuenca’s abs.

Purefoods Corned Beef

7 Purefoods

As a nostalgic favorite, Purefoods has retained its corned beef recipe for many years. It isn’t exactly high-end, but it’s priced a little higher than average, at Php 45 per 150 grams.

Purefoods corned beef is savory, and has a consistency that’s similar to toasted floss. It’s also worth noting that the Purefoods conglomerate has cheaper sub-brands like Chunkee and Star corned beef. These have bigger chunks (hence the name Chunkee), but are not quite as flavorful as their parent company’s corned beef variant.

Swift Black Label Premium Corned Beef

8 Swift

Honestly, when Swift started appealing to budget-conscious shoppers by repacking their corned beef in foil packs, I didn’t even think that they would offer a premium variant.

But to be honest, I can’t find a notable difference between the taste of the previous variants and that of the Black Label. I loved that it had the biggest chunks of meat among all the brands I taste-tested, but I found it too mushy and wet, even after I heated it for 10 minutes. Hence, I think the Php 60 (per 210 grams) price tag is too much, despite its supposed 100%.

Hereford

9 Hereford

Hereford Corned Beef’s boxy packaging is a lot like Spam’s. This imported brand of corned beef looks like meat loaf, but it tastes like one that’s comprised of lean and salty shavings of meat. A 340-gram can (priced at Php 110) can feed at least three hungry monsters. It’s so savory that a few spoonfuls can flavor a huge mound of rice.

Just be prepared to mop up a generous amount of meat juice when you open a can of Hereford, though.

Libby’s

10 Libbys

Some people consider Libby’s Corned Beef as the most unattractive of its kind, as they claim it looks like dog food. Personally, I find it too salty and mushy, but most people I know love it because it’s the perfect accompaniment to fresh, hot pandesal. Or maybe because a 200-gram can of Libby’s contains three days’ worth of cooking oil. How economical.

But I’ll leave it to the Libby’s Corned Beef fans to shell out Php 88 for their salty meat fix.


So, who wins the food fight? My personal choice is Delimondo, but I guess it all really depends on how you like your corned beef. I’ve also found that local corned beef brands are not only very capable of holding their own against foreign brands, but are also more affordable (and thus, offer more value).

Taste-wise, the high-quality brands are quite similar, but if you want to get your money’s worth (and a good meal out of it), I would suggest picking up cans of Argentina and Hereford on your next trip to the grocery.

What about you? Who’s your winner? Did I miss out on a corned beef brand that’s worth trying? How do you like to enjoy your favorite corned beef? Tell us all about it below!


[Thumbnail source: Simply Recipes]

Steph Dy Steph Dy

Steph Dy is a print designer who has a thing for eating, writing, and doodling all at the same time. Once the poster child for healthy eating, she has gone rogue and now eats as many pork rinds as she can. She loves coffee breaks, and uses her free time listening to new music and practice sketching.

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57 comments in this post SHOW

57 responses to “Corned Beef Battle: How to Decide which Corned Beef Brand to Buy”

  1. Nico Goco says:

    I still love purefoods more than delimondo 🙂 also, can Palm corned beef get a special mention? just because everyone needs to buy it whenever they’re at duty free :))

  2. Robster says:

    Yup Palm is a good choice too. 🙂

  3. Purefoods all the way!:D

  4. Delimondo hands down, yo.

  5. If you haven’t tried HOLIDAY corned beef, you should. It blows away most of the corned beef I’ve tried (and I’ve tried all the local ones, and a lot of the imports) Samba is good too, almost like libbys, but softer (which is personally, a downside)

    I haven’t had Delimondo, but when it comes to local brands,
    Purefoods > Holiday > Samba > Highlands (meh) > then all others = crap IMO, specially yung mga “carne norte” variants, they all taste mediciney to me.

  6. hopeforwinter says:

    You should have included Palm Corned Beef 🙂

  7. Argentina’s our regular, go-to beef-in-a-can. For special occasions, though, it has to be Palm – the kind with either onions or black pepper.

  8. Rob says:

    Delimondo is the best!

  9. Tracey @TangledNoodle says:

    Delimondo is my personal fave, but only because I have yet to try the other brands. So, thanks for this primer and commenters’ inputs/recommendations. Consider this post bookmarked! 😎

  10. Hi says:

    DELIMONDO. Toast it well with garlic and onions + lots of white rice. You can thank me later.

    • Stannis says:

      No one has ever mentioned about adding native red bell pepper. You can thank me later 🙂 Purefoods BTW tastes like Delimondo. The former is fattier compared to the latter.

  11. nikki te says:

    PALM!!!!

  12. Argentina Chunky! I have yet to try Delimondo and Hereford, but as far as price is concerned, I’m sticking with Argentina.

  13. kath says:

    Not local, but Ox & Palm is my favorite!

  14. Argentina and Palm! Depends on how I’m going to cook it. 🙂

  15. We usually use Palm corned beef at home. 🙂

  16. megan says:

    Reasons Why We Love Our Ermat No. 421: She introduced us to Delimondo. 🙂

  17. I’m surprised Palm corned beef isn’t included in the list. It’s the best one for me especially the Chili one. Better than delimondo on my book, in fact I don’t even consider trying other brands.

    • TheSmilingBandit says:

      Palm corned beef is good, so is Delimondo, in fact I often mix the two, the flavor resulting from the mix is even better than the individual products.

  18. janellido says:

    I’d say I love Delimondo but I’m wondering why Palm isn’t mentioned in this article. I mean, if you’re looking for the most legit-looking meat strands (and chunks!), nothing beats Palm.

  19. Lana says:

    Try La Filipina! It’s a relatively new brand but it’s reaaally good!

    • hehehe says:

      La Filipina corned pork has an off-smell reminiscent of old stock pork. Might be something with the way the meat was processed.

      • Ann Mutia says:

        the old stock pork off smell your referring maybe the broth. Try to cook it. It has real meat no exender added. So its healthier. You’ll definitely enjoy the product 🙂

  20. hehehe says:

    Virginia corned beef is another local product worth mentioning.

  21. wanderingchew says:

    I go for Palm, Delimondo or Purefoods. Though highlands wasn’t so bad if i remember correctky. I like my corned beef on the dry side, with both slow-sauteed and barely cooked onions. lots of pepper

  22. palm and hamper corned beef! =)

  23. Rhonnagirl says:

    Delimondo tops!

  24. Cow says:

    You missed the best one, Palm. Palm has real meat taste and texture.. the rest tastes like sweetened cardboard.

  25. Geh says:

    Palm definitely. Libby’s and Hereford I prepare as hash, with potatoes and onions.

  26. Brillo says:

    Since taste is subjective, we cant really argue with you picking Delimondo as your top pick. We tried putting a Ranch style flavor which Delimondo has, but it came out more salty without the taste of the ranch flavor.

    We intentionally made our product line to be on the salty side. We realize that if you cook it with lots of tomatoes and onions, the saltiness is not that apparent.

    We did a blind taste test and the top three were, Brillo, Purefoods and Delimondo. Our 420gm sku actually has the same price as the 380gm sku of Purefoods.

    Admittedly, Delimondo is eventually where we will end up, price wise.

    Our latest endorser, Chef Bruce Ricketts of Sensei Restaurant, liked our corned beef. He was voted by Esquire magazine as having Sensei the best new restaurant for 2013.

    Well, like I said, taste is subjective. But given a choice of either being on the bland side or salty side, we picked the salty side:)

    Good luck to your blog

  27. Brillo says:

    I forgot to put in my post, that whoever finds Brillo corned beef too salty, we will refund it to you! Pls call 8214135 and arrange on how you want to get your refund:) I think we are the only company that does this! Well I really like your blog and so many interesting topics here!

  28. I prefer the Libby’s! 🙂

  29. Ching says:

    Where can I buy Palm Corned Beef in the Philippines? How much?

  30. Zer Santos says:

    Disappointed to Highlands corned beef, when i open the can (180g), my wife and i shocked when we saw something like a chicharon inside, and the smell was really too bad. I took a picture of that thing in a can of Highland Corned Beef.

  31. puhiawa says:

    Very informative and well written.

  32. Miguel Ongpin says:

    Palm Corned Beef (and its Gold Label) was not reviewed. I put them slightly ahead of Delimondo which we also buy often and hold in high esteem.

  33. Mimi says:

    PALM cornbeef tops the list here in USA and Canada

  34. Mark says:

    My top three choice will be PALM, OX & PALM and Purefoods. Btw if your really hungry you’ll eat whatever brand available.

  35. cel says:

    Palm and Ox and Palm forever!

  36. Nards Cervantes says:

    no ifs no buts, OX & PALM or if not out of stock in my grocer, i go back for Hereford

  37. Eric Buenaventura says:

    Love these awesome corned beef expensive but worth it 🙂 it has good tastes of small chunks of real beef that I always buy it on https://goods.ph with their good quality service it made possible..

  38. Art says:

    could anyone recommend good corned beef and it should not be a muslim food please…

  39. charlene says:

    Corned Beef Battle: Which reigns supreme? An analysis by Charlene S.
    First, I’d like to thank my mommy for purchasing ox and palm for me.
    Ease of opening: Winner: Ox and Palm. No annoying key means no need for “creative” ways of opening when the key fails you. Which it will.
    First impressions upon opening: Winner: Hereford. Ox and Palm’s “juices” were just a vat of oil.
    Smell: Tie. All processed meats smell similar.
    Ease of cooking: Winner: Hereford. Ox and palm was just too oily and had a ton of those white things that no one knows what they’re called. I spent too much time removing the aformentioned “white things” and the extra oil.
    Taste: Winner: Hereford. Although very similar, Ox and palm was a tad saltier.
    Overall Winner: Hereford. I could not get past the white things and the oil in Ox and Palm. Oh, and Hereford is a product of Argentina, and so is my boo boo bear, Cesar. Although that had no bearing on my judgment. Goodnight.

  40. Chippy says:

    Palm corned beef with potatoes the best combo! No need to add anything except a little bit of water if you want it juicier.

  41. Jason Parker says:

    I loved Argentina Corned Beef when I Lived in Manila for a year, but now the Argentina that I can buy in the US just doesn’t taste the same.. It’s a shame..

  42. Bella says:

    Mine is delimondo and also Palm… but i also tried corned beef from the market which you can buy it per grams or kilos… cheap but it’s ok..In Delimondo you’ll forget the price once you eat it…worth! I will try this House Ranch Corned beef i bought from S & R, the one with the yellow label…

  43. Shirley says:

    I found a brand of corned beef hash at my local Grocery Outlet store for a very reasonable price, the brand is First Cut Corned Beef Hash distributed by Ideal Distributing out of Berkeley, CA. I’m wondering if this might be some sort of import from China, any information greatly appreciated. I’ve searched the web but can find no reference to this brand and the distributing company appears to be closed. I bought a can to try but have not yet cooked it. The can has a label very similar to the WalMart, Libby’s and Nalley Valley brand, I wonder if they are made by the same company but labeled differently.

  44. GERTRUDES says:

    I love Delimondo and Palm. Delimondo is not available here in the US but got a taste of it at my niece’ house.

  45. Nette says:

    I love Delimondo and Palm. Delimondo is not available here in the US but got a taste of it at my niece’ house.

  46. Jop says:

    how about shelf life?

  47. j. escasa says:

    Palm & Delimondo are the best. Cant believe Purefoods & the other local brands are in your list. They taste horrible. Too much fake food coloring, too much fat, less meat. Swifts Premium is swimming in oil. When i washed the dishes there was too much sebo . Even on the sink there was sebo too.

  48. Purdy says:

    I’ll have Delimondo, but I’m no fan of immortal owner Juan Ponce Enrile, so personally, I’d pick Palm as my favorite.

  49. Ynp says:

    I lived off Target corned beef and ramen in college for a year. It wasn’t too bad

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