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Posted March 14. 2018 4:21PM

Gray corned beef is New England's mystery meat

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It's the addition of nitrates that gives the corned beef typically consumed in the U.S. its distinctive pink color. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Without added nitrates, corned beef is a dull gray. It's uncommon to find, except in certain regions. “[Gray] corned beef is eaten within a fifty-mile radius of Boston, including a few towns in New Hampshire,” writes Joan Nathan, author of An American Folklife Cookbook.