My Pastrami Obsession

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Retired Spook

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Jun 28, 2022
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A few years ago I had heard that Katz's Delicatessen in Manhattan, had closed its doors... It was depressing to hear because, as a youngster, I ate many Katz's pastrami sandwiches, and since leaving home in 1987, I have not had a pastrami or a corned beef that has come anywhere close.

As a kid I used to drive a truck for a company that processed and delivered some of their specialty offerings. I was not so much into cooking at the time but I always loved making the delivery because I would get a fat pastrami sandwich after making the delivery - and it was the flat out best sandwich experience of my life. This is also where I learned that a real pastrami is made from a beef navel - not brisket. One other bit of info I do remember is that their pastrami was "pickled" (actually smelled like pickling spice) before being smoked - so whenever I have endeavored to make a pastrami at home I have dumped a table spoon of McCormick's pickling spice into the soak - and while nothing I have made yet came close to Katz's, it was better than anything I have had since...

Well, to my surprise, whomever told me the place had closed, was either full of ...., or plain wrong, and for any of you that may want to know why I love pastrami so much, they have mail order too - so I thought I would post their link in case anyone might want to take the plunge - for the experience.


I suggest buying the sliced pastrami (steam it - actually I read their instructions and they say to simmer it in the sealed bag it comes in) and a loaf of their rye bread (it makes a difference), and pile it on the rye bread with some Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and homemade Russian dressing (basically mayo, ketchup and a little hot sauce) and go to town.

I am not related to them in any way and this is not an effort to advertise for them, my only desire is to give whomever may want a way to taste a real pastrami or find out why I am obsessed with it, the opportunity to see why.

It is the best there is.
 
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I couldn't have said this better my self. I, too love Pastrami, and had a lot of Katz' growing up in NJ. Since moving to Ga in 1992, it has been a struggle to find anything decent. We've ordered it from them a few times. It is hands down the best I've ever had. I've tried making my own several times, and it only came out good 2 times. Over the Holidays Katz' had free shipping which made it a very good deal if ordering. Great post.
 
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I couldn't have said this better my self. I, too love Pastrami, and had a lot of Katz' growing up in NJ. Since moving to Ga in 1992, it has been a struggle to find anything decent. We've ordered it from them a few times. It is hands down the best I've ever had. I've tried making my own several times, and it only came out good 2 times. Over the Holidays Katz' had free shipping which made it a very good deal if ordering. Great post.
My long lost brother...

I did not know that they were still open or had mail order until the day before yesterday! Certainly, I will be ordering some soon - free shipping on orders over $100.00 :emoji_thumbsup:
 
Katz has been open since 1886 I believe. The biggest issue round here is the stores only sell Pastrami made from the point not the flat. And there's a huge difference. I've tried converting Corned Beef Flat into Pastrami, and it was OK not great. Also tried whole Briskets Flats from scratch and it was hit or miss. Nothing can compare to Katz though. I've read about their process and I think it's a 2-3 week ordeal the way they do it. With free shipping it's a great deal.
 
I have cured a few superb corned beefs from brisket flats and I always add a good helping of McCormick's pickling spice to the cure - makes all the difference in the world. Then slow cooked for 8 to 10-hours in a slow cooker (crock pot) and they were pretty darned good!

Pastrami is another story - I have made them from carefully selected prime brisket points (because pastrami is supposed to be a bit fattier than corned beef) and while they were better than anything I have ever seen since leaving home, they were no where close to Katz's.

I knew that Katz's Delicatessen steamed their pastrami and corned beef before serving but I did not know that they boiled them for 3-hours prior, to get the collagen to render - which explains one of the reasons their corned beef and pastrami was so good.

I am curing (pickling) a prime tri tip as you read this, which I hope will smoke into a passable pastrami. Had I known that Katz's was still kicking I would not have wasted my time.

Nevertheless, I am going to smoke the tri tip per instructions for almost Katz's pastrami on that other website - using the Texas crutch method that I have used for previous pastrami.

Hopefully, I will get a half-way decent sandwich out of the deal, though I will have to suffer with make-believe rye bread...
 
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Sounds good. hope you post it up if it turns out good. Never tried it with Tri Tip. If it works out well, I'd like to give it a try (tip). LOL.
 
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I had a Katz pastrami sandwich in NYC, in about 2010? Along with a half-sour pickle. The experience was sublime. Beef navel, you say? That would explain why I haven't been able to come close, either. There was a sandwich shop near me (now closed, unfortunately) run by a guy originally from Boston, who came close. But I could never figure out what cut he used. Now it seems to make sense.
Up in the PNW, I'm sure I'll get some funny looks from butchers if I ask if they have navel.
 
I had a Katz pastrami sandwich in NYC, in about 2010? Along with a half-sour pickle. The experience was sublime. Beef navel, you say? That would explain why I haven't been able to come close, either. There was a sandwich shop near me (now closed, unfortunately) run by a guy originally from Boston, who came close. But I could never figure out what cut he used. Now it seems to make sense.
Up in the PNW, I'm sure I'll get some funny looks from butchers if I ask if they have navel.
A beef navel makes all the difference! Just the right texture and degree of fat - nothing else comes close. Back in the neighborhood some folks would call it "Jewish bacon." I loved it from the fist time I ever tasted it.

When I was young they used to sell beef navel pastrami in the supermarket, at the cold-cut counter - the real McCoy not that disgusting crap they sell now. Fry some of it up with a slice of Swiss cheese on top and my God whatta sandwich!!!

I have to wait a week or two but I will be ordering from Katz's, very soon!
 
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Ha I’m in too. I had my cart loaded for check out today. Then it crashed. I wasn’t sure what pickled to get. The sour or half sour.
If not sure, I'd start with half sour. If memory serves, they're very good, the full sour may be too sour for some.
 
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I did some pastrami out of a petite tender one time . Made a great snack with some Swiss cheese and Rye crackers .
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