Follow-up on recent Langer's question
Sasha asked yesterday about tips for reheating Langer's pastrami at home (see Home Cooking Board). TomSwift mentioned about buying a whole brisket from Langer's.
My question for TomSwift or anyone else who's bought a whole piece:
Do you buy it whole or already hand cut? I'd imagine "whole" makes more sense, and cut as needed. How much does this cost? Do you get a deal on a whole piece or is it simply by-the-pound? Do they also sell the rye bread by the loaf, fully or partially baked?
I've always had them hand cut the brisket. That way I can nibble on the way home. I'll have to think about getting one uncut - one would think that the meat would dry out less quickly, but maybe there's something about cutting it while the whole thing is hot that is part of the magic of hand cutting.
So far as I know there is no price break for a whole brisket. It's strictly by the pound. I usually get turkey, slaw and bread as well so I'm not sure of the cost of the brisket but I'd guess about $30.
Here's the deal on the bread. If you ask for a loaf of bread you'll get regular rye that is not double-baked. If you order the "double-baked" rye and Norm Langer takes your order, he'll ask you when your're going to eat it. He refuses to sell the double-baked unless it's going to be eaten within about 20 minutes. I learned that the hard way and now tell him that I'll be eating it as soon as I can get back to the office in about 10 minutes. I order by the slice (ie, an even number of slices) so it's more believable that I'm taking sandwich fixins back to the office. He's right that the bread is superior when freshly warm but it holds up just fine for 4-5 days. The regular counter guys don't insist on the 20 minute rule.
I took home a pound of hand cut yesterday as well as 1/2 a loaf of rye that I ordered from the waitress. Re the bread, it's hard to tell if it is the same double baked as served in the restaurant, because they pack it in a plastic bag so you know what happens. But the crust still has bite and its great out of the toaster. The 1/2 loaf was very generous (unless their loaves are gigantic). Meat plus bread was about $22 to go. No breakdown between the two.
The bread you got was not double-baked. When you order double-baked they take the huge loaf and slice your slices on the slicing machine (a Globe slicer, just like they use for slicing their meats); that's how they get those uniformly thick slices. They then wrap the bread in butcher paper. The loaves in the plastic bags are pre-sliced. And their loaves *are* gigantic, easily two feet long. I wonder what they do with the heels?
Although I haven't been there in years, I used to like the corn rye at Canter's, comes out of their own bakery and you can have it unsliced, sliced thin or sliced thick. So you swing by Langers for the Pastrami, then make a stop at Canter's for the bread, and pick up a bunch of chocolate ruggalahs, nibble on those on the way home.