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Pastrami Chowdown...Part One!...Memphis Minnie's

ChowFun_derek Jul 6, 2006 04:41 AM

Four hungry dogs.ventured to the lower Haight (SF) to experience Pastrami Wednesdays at Memphis Minnie's...if You were expecting "Katz's West" , you'd be dissapointed! MM's pastrami is cooked in BBQ sauce!...No mustard here...it was a Pastrami 'Sloppy Joe" ("Sloppy Yossel"?!) a little dry and hard in places...My luck, I got there after Cyn had ordered hers, so had the advantage of a taste and a critique...so I ordered "Fatty Brisket" it was the best brisket I've had there... moist, smokey and delicious...the bean accompaniment were little firm beads, and would have benefitted from more cooking (they probably were perfect for dinner).
I'll let the others' speak of their own culinary experiences...I ordered fried grit sticks for the table, which came with a forgettable sauce but were good as is...The pecan pie, was cold, from the fridge, a little hard in the crust, and muddy filling...whole pecans and over-whipped.. but home made whipped cream was the topping......
The brisket ..heavenly, the pastrami....never again..
The next round of "Pastrami Passion" to be announced!

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  1. pilinut Jul 6, 2006 05:59 AM

    Thanks, Derek! I had been wanting to try the pastrami, too, but I realize it's the fatty brisket I really want. So far, the best pastrami I've had here has been from Costco.

    Pilinut, a.k.a. Pia

    1. Cynsa Jul 6, 2006 06:04 AM

      ...woofing it down, with hints that we move on to M&L for the second course (pastrami to follow pastrami)—no one moves from the table.
      The Way To Go is that soft and melting fatty brisket...or, the Southern Star (1/2 sandwich of brisket+1/2 sandwich of pork tips like the best pulled pork/carnitas - with a side). Greens are usually my default Side (these are too sweet for me); beans are better -(like 'em firm not soft); the mac 'n cheese is tempting (it looks like a good chew toy).

      1. Melanie Wong Jul 6, 2006 06:58 AM

        Unfortunately, the pastrami was too leanish and dry today. I did like the intensity of the cure and the smoking and wondered what the bare meat would be like withouot the saucing. Still love the tangy slaw here. Took one of the fried grit sticks home, was almost as good reheated with a creamy, savory core and just a bit harder crust.

        Wednesday Pastrami with mac & cheese image -
        http://static.flickr.com/48/183137178_5a0719d87a_o.jpg

        Brunch @ MM's -
        http://chowhound.com/topics/show/44320

        Pastrami @ MM's -
        http://chowhound.com/topics/show/304476#1712693

        Btw, everyone who changed handles in the software switch, please sign in on the Site Talk board here,

        The poster formerly know as thread -
        http://chowhound.com/topics/show/305394

        1. Windy Jul 6, 2006 07:57 AM

          Yeah, this was not the holy grail of pastrami. Not even close. (I liked it least of the table). Weird spices, more smoked than cured. Plus I'm not a brisket fan to begin with, even at Minnie's.

          1. Curtis Jul 6, 2006 05:53 PM

            Pastrami in BBQ sauce?! Oy vey, say it ain't so :( I wish I could've made it yesterday, but the evite came at the last minute. I still love MM's brisket, just so darn smokey and fork tender. Derek, I'm always on the look out for great Pastrami and since my last trip to NYC was back in December, Katz is a distant, albeit lovely, memory. I did have some really great smoked meat in Montreal, but it's not the same as the perfect marbled Pastrami. Keep me posted on the next time the pack prepares for the hunt.

            a sante,
            Curtis

            1 Reply
            1. re: Curtis
              Melanie Wong Jul 7, 2006 12:41 AM

              Some have more notice, others like this are on the spur of the moment. And, the chowing events tend to fill up so fast that the folks with the fastest broadband have the competitive advantage!

              Anyone who would like to be notified by email of chowdowns and other chowish activities is welcome to join the distribution list by signing up here -
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SFLunch...

            2. m
              Meatball Jul 7, 2006 01:26 AM

              So far my favorite pastrami in the city is from Golden Gate Meats at the Ferry Building - very moist and full of flavor.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Meatball
                ChowFun_derek Jul 7, 2006 01:54 AM

                So far that's my favorite also....I've yet to try M&L and I live 5 minute walk away....

                1. re: Meatball
                  j
                  John Doe Jul 7, 2006 03:20 AM

                  I 3rd that vote.

                  1. re: Meatball
                    Cynsa Jul 7, 2006 09:27 AM

                    I'll 4th that vote. Golden Gate Meats at the Ferry Bldg tops my list for pastrami.
                    -Must get to M&L...

                  2. Civil Bear Jul 7, 2006 05:30 PM

                    >>"if You were expecting "Katz's West" , you'd be dissapointed!"

                    I would agree, but that isn't close to what MM's is shooting for. MM's is a barbecue joint that does some fantastic 18-hour briskets, so the idea was to turn out some barbecued pastrami, not Kosher deli pastrami.

                    Barbecued brisket is so tender because it is cooked slowly to 185-200F in order break down all the connective tissue and collagen and turn it into gelatin. Since traditional pastrami is sliced deli thin, it can usually come out of the cooker at 165-170F. MM's is slicing their pastrami about the same thickness as their brisket, so I am guess they are both getting about the same amount of time in the smoker, which means you are going to get a big difference in taste, texture, and smokiness from deli pastrami.

                    The North Carolina mustard-based bbq sauce they add to the bread only accentuates the twist they are trying to put on tradition pastrami. I like their rendition a lot, but agree that it’s not going to satisfy those looking for NY Deli.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Civil Bear
                      ChowFun_derek Jul 7, 2006 06:12 PM

                      Thanks for the BBQ lesson it' always good to hear how the food I love is prepared...
                      The pastrami isn't New York Style.... although Bob himself is....(he will griddle corn muffins just as they do in a NY Diner..for a buttery crusty.. layer at brunch!)
                      There seemed to be a lot more sauce, than that "just added to the bread"..for me, if the pastrami had a flavor profile it was hidden by the sauce....I don't add ANY sauce at all to their brisket...it is SO good without (ask for fatty ..people!)
                      Did I mention at MM"s brunch this past wekend I had a pulled pork and sweet potato hash with pecans over tangy greens!, also crunchy fresh baked biscuits, and sausage (home made) gravy.. (I shared this ofcourse...my friend had my default shrimp over grits..)that's still my favorite...although the recent review of their Pain Perdu (french toast) is where I'm heading next!

                    2. Civil Bear Jul 7, 2006 11:37 PM

                      You may be right about the sauce. The only time I had gone to MM's for their pastrami was about 3 weeks ago. The mustard sauce is already very strong and the thick layer on the bread overpowered the meat. So much so that I opened the sandwich and scraped off as much as I could. At that time it appeared to me that it was only added to the bread, but much of it had already attached itself to the outer layers of the meat. I just can't image them literally mixing the pastrami with the sauce though...unless they were trying to hide something.

                      As a guy that likes to cook brisket competitively, I know it can be hit and miss sometimes depending on the brisket. I would guess MM's doesn't do very many pastramis each Wednesday, so perhaps it came out so dry last week that they had to add sauce?

                      An unsolicited thought regarding the "fatty brisket": A whole (or "packer") brisket consists of two muscles, usually referred to as the flat and the point. The flat is the leaner of the two and is sometimes called the "money piece", It is what we usually see sold in supermarkets. The point end contains more fat and is almost impossible to find sold separately. Since the flat is usually checked for doneness when pulling the brisket out of the cooker, the fatty point end can sometimes be a little tougher (albeit moister). Typically, the two muscles are separated after cooking, and the flat is sliced nicely for show while the point is often chopped and tossed in sauce or put back in the smoker for more time (sometimes to create burnt-ends).

                      I don't know what MM's is doing with their points, but they are definitely doing a wonderful job with them. They serve some of the best "fatty" brisket I have ever had!

                      1. The Chowhound Team Jul 11, 2006 11:05 PM

                        The BBQ competition digression has been moved here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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