Saltjunk Dinner (alias Jigg’s Dinner)
The History of Salt Junk
This dish is also known as Boiled Dinner, Salt Meat Dinner, Sunday Dinner, Cooked Dinner, Corned Beef & Cabbage and Jigg’s Dinner The name Jigg’s Dinner came from the comic strip created by George McManus “Bringing Up Father, it ran from 12 January 1913 to 28 May 2000. The comic book characters were known as Maggie & Jigg’s. Jigg’s got his corned beef and cabbage (not salt beef) at his favorite bar, Dinty Moore’s. In my home town, Cape St. George, most people referred to this meal either as “Salt Junk or Salt Meat Dinner”. Salt Junk got its name from the scrappy or pieces of meat that was either too fatty or not much meat on the bone.
There were two types of salt meat use for this dish; Salt Junk (Naval Beef) or Short Ribs. Don’t confuse Short Ribs with Spareribs or Riblets, Short Ribs are from beef and Spareribs or Riblets are from pork.
Before people bought this meat commercially, they preserved their own by heavily salting fresh meat over the fall for their winter season. The fresh meat was usually placed in build-in wooden containers (in their sheds) with a heavy salt concentration (rock salt) for approximately 3 to 4 weeks then transferred to little wooden barrels with added salt and sea water (know as brine or pickle). I have seen this done with mutton, beef, caribou, moose and pork. Continue reading
Saltjunk.com is a website dedicated to Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans at home and abroad, and to other folks who simply enjoy NL culture, cuisine and its traditions. With completion of a Culinary Management program at Liaison College, Oakville, Ont, a Certificate in Baking at George Brown College, Toronto, Ont and a course in Food Photography; my purpose is to add new NL recipes to the existing culinary library and revisit some of the older ones and fine-tune them using today’s techniques (if possible). Also, I want to preserve some of the older and forgotten recipes that have been lost with time.
Re-discover Newfoundland and Labrador Cuisine, bring out the old recipes that your grandma and mom had written down on old scribblers or cook up recipes that were passed down from generation to generation. Relive again the taste. Experience the flavours and aromas that were once an everyday occurrence in our childhood. Can you smell the aroma of old fashion bread baking with a roaster full of hot baked beans in the oven?
Come taste times gone by and traditions of Newfoundland and Labrador. There’s a centuries-old tradition of ingenuity, imagination and inspiration in every morsel. Consider the true blend of Aboriginal, English, French, German, Irish, Portuguese, Scottish and Spanish ancestry in our very unique cuisine.
Savour and experience recipes from times past, such as; Fish & Brewis, Fried Cod Tongues, Cod Fish Stew, Fish Cakes, Toutons, Salt Junk Dinner, Pease Pudding, pea Soup, Dumplings, Cabbage Soup, Colcannon, Flipper Pie, Pan Fried brook Trout, Turr, Baked Salt Water Duck, John Bull Stew, Drawn Butter, Kedgaree, Wild Hare (Rabbit) Stew and Pie, Old Fashioned Bake Beans, Figgy Duff, Pork Bang Belly, Beaslin Cake, Lobsouse, Bake Cod Row, just to name a few.
Just maybe, we can bring back “the good ole times” our grandparents and parents once shared at the kitchen parties, card games, mummering and telling yarns, while we cook up a good scoff with our friends.
If you have any old family recipes pass down or new ones you want to share with the world, please send them to me. If you like, forward a photo of the dish and your recipe, I will post it.
- 1 lb salt cod (pieces or boned)
- 8 med potatoes (or 2 lbs)
- 1 med onion (finely chopped)
- 1 egg (beaten)
- ¼ tsp garlic
- ½ tsp Newfoundland Savoury (optional)
- Butter or vegetable (for frying)
- Flour for dusting
- Salt & pepper
Soak salt fish in cold water for approx 6-8 hours (or overnight) – drain and set aside.
In a pot of cold water, bring potatoes to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add fish and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until fish and potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool to room temperature.
Transfer fish and potatoes to a large bowl. Add onion, egg, garlic and savoury. Season to taste. Mash ingredients together and form into round cakes. Dust fish cakes (both sides) with flour.
In a skillet, med-high heat, fry fish cakes (on both sides) until golden brown. Serve hot with your favourite side dish. Excellent with a good cup of steeped tea, homemade bread and molasses.
- Shake off excess flour from fish cakes
- Use 1 tbsp of butter or oil at a time when frying fish cakes
- Dust fish cakes in flour just before placing in frying pan
- Add egg if texture is difficult to stick together
- Ensure fat is hot when frying fishcakes, otherwise fat will saturate fishcakes
- Ratio fish to potatoes (1-2)
morro yah – an Irish word of sarcasm like “ I wish you a good time of it” or, “I don’t believe a word of it”