Why is corned beef and cabbage the traditional meal for St. Patrick's Day when corned beef is not native to Ireland? According to the USDA on March, 15, 2013, the corned beef and cabbage dish severed as a St. Patrick's Day meal is really from the Irish-American culture as it wasn't brought over from Ireland when the Irish migrated to the U.S..
Corned beef has graced the diner tables for centuries all throughout Europe, but it was too expensive for most in Ireland to eat. In the 18th century when Irish immigrants came in large numbers to the U.S. and they saw how cheap the cut of meat known as a brisket was, they applied the same process they used for curing bacon to the brisket.
They corned pork in Ireland, as it was a cheaper cut of meat. They started to use this process for beef once they settled in the U.S. and it took off, everyone loved it.
The Irish-Americans started corning the beef and it grew into a St. Patrick's Day fest. The corned beef quickly replaced their Irish bacon and this dish was served on dinner tables nationwide, as it still is today.
Corned beef and cabbage quickly became a staple for the working class Irish-Americans in the U.S., which is why it is considered an Irish dish in the U.S., more so than an American dish, but it's actually both.
USDA's Market News reports that St. Patrick's Day was the single largest promotion period for beef brisket in 2012. “A full third of supermarket ads promoting corned beef were found in the Northeast in 2012."
This large chunk is most likely due to the large Irish-American population in cities like New York, Boston, Providence, New Haven and Waterbury, as well as other cities where years ago the Irish settled with generations of Irish-American's tending to stay in the area with many still there today. According to Fox News on Friday, there's more corned beef and cabbage served in the U.S. on St. Patrick's Day than there is in Ireland.