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Jun 19, 2006 07:42 PM

Best Pastrami - Ever!

  • b

I just returned from a weekend visit to Detroit and stopped at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor on the way. I had the best Pastrami I've ever tasted - that includes the Carnegie Deli in NY, Manny's in Chicago and countless others (including earlier visits to Zingerman's, who have changed suppliers for their pastrami). They purchase their pastrami (no, they don't cure/smoke their own) from Niman Ranch. I'm not sure where that can be purchased in Chicago, but I certainly intend to try and find it. Whole Foods carries some Niman Ranch meats, but I don't know if they carry the pastrami. Suggestions?

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  1. Zingerman's has been using Niman pastrami for a few years, actually. You can buy it from them, of course, and you may be able to fin dit at Fox and Obel.

    You can also order all of Niman's products online.

    Niman's pastrami doesn't really impress me, to be honest. It's fine -- it's better than what Boar's Head tries to pass off as pastrami, for example, but it strikes me as being fairly mildly spiced and too lightly smoked, for my taste.

    That said, the bread they serve it on makes it so much better.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ed

      Thanks for the heads-up on purchasing from Niman's online.

      So whose pastrami do you prefer?

      1. re: Ed

        Have you tried the Montreal Canadian smoked meat at Zingerman's. That IS spicy and smoky. They used to get it (years ago) from Bens in Montreal, but I understand that they terminated trhe relationship when Bens was not reliable in making timely shipments. The new stuff is just as good though, in my opionion.

      2. The world's Best Pastrami-Ever! is at Romanion Kosher Sausage at 7200 North Clark Street, Clark and Touhy, in Chicago. Phone 773-761-4141.

        Also, try their excellent smoked turkey!

        1 Reply
        1. re: gr

          2nd Avenue Deli's pastrami is easily the best I've ever had. Romainian is good for a "cold cut" style pastrami but the flavor, texture and quality of 2nd Ave. is unsurpassed. I don't know why nobody in Chicago can do a New York style Kosher pastrami, cut thick from a steam pan, nearly falling apart. It's amazing. Romainian has great flavor but it's a completely different experience.

        2. I tried Romanian Kosher Sausage pastrami today (both their regular pastrami and their Romanian pastrami - regular was much better). Their pastrami is certainly spiced more strongly than Zingerman's (Nimans), especially with pepper. But it isn't nearly as smokey (I could really not detect any smoke flavor). And their meat is not nearly the same quality as Zingerman's. Niman's claims their meat is prime, and I believe it. The pastrami from Romanian doesn't strike me as being even choice, which means the Romanian is very lean and dry - for me the taste and juiciness of pastrami is in the fat, and there's nearly none in the Romanian. Natually, that means the Niman's pastrami is also much more tender.

          1. I tried Niman pastrami because of the recommendation on this site. Here is what I ended up with. I got 2 chunks of pastrami from the worst piece of brisket I ever saw in my life. It was untrimmed and unsliced. If I was able to get 35% meat from this brisket I would have been surprised. It was almost ALL fat! Total cost for 5 lbs (1.75 lbs with fat removed) with shipping came out to over $75. In other words about $43/lb of actual meat. Niman's pastrami has an "ok" flavor but it was such a poor cut I ended up just throwing alot of it away. Very disappointed!