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Speed's Has Added Grilled Pastrami and it's worth a special visit

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We were working on a story for Serious Eats when we discovered the Chef Greg at Speed Boston Dog has added a grilled pastrami sandwich to his menu. It is delicious, warm, melting with crispy bacon-like edges. I'm salivating writing about it.

Now we're going to have to have both a Speed's dog and a Pastrami sandwich on our visits. Might be best to bring some friends with you.

He recommends mustard and barbeque sauce on it-- try it that way first. It was perfect.

Photos and more here:


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  1. And it looks like he'll be there on Saturdays through November-woo hoo! Maybe I can get my sister up from CT for a dog and pastrami. Oh my lord!

    1 Reply
    1. re: mtm7654

      Thread of the week! Thanks.

    2. The look on Mario's face has me convinced. Thanks BZ.

      2 Replies
      1. re: yumyum

        Boston Brisket does make a nice Pastrami, but BBQ sauce on Pastrami -- you must be in Boston..........

        1. re: itaunas

          That's what I thought until I tasted it. I also hesitated about what is on the Speed dog but it does work.

      2. That photo put me over the edge. Guess where I'll be tomorrow for lunch.......

        1 Reply
        1. re: catsmeow

          Those photos is what is defined as "Food Porn"

        2. I guess the steak sandwich experiment has been abandoned. I saw it a couple of times, went for the dog, and then tried multiple times afterward to get it, but he never brought it back. This seems worth a spin!


          14 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            someone ratted him out to the city that he was serving steak sandwiches and without proper refrigeration he had to take them off the menu. that visit from the city is also why he had to move location from where they had always set up.

            1. re: jack daniels

              Dang - I had the best intentions of trying the steak, but could never bring myself to pass up the dog. Hopefully he'll still be doing Saturdays after my physical in mid-November (got to keep the cholesterol down temporarily).

              1. re: jack daniels

                I don't understand: steak needs refrigeration, but hot dogs don't need it?


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  My guess is it's because the dogs and pastrami are fully cooked

                2. re: jack daniels

                  He's still in Newmarket Square, though?

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    Still at Newmarket Square in front of Katsiboura's (sp?) Fruit. I got my first Speed's dog last week --YUM!--and saw some folks getting the Pastrami, which looked really good, too. Greg is gregarious --I felt very comfortable sitting on his picnic table eating alone and chatting with Greg and other customers.

                    1. re: alohagirl

                      He does seem to attract the nicest group of customers, doesn't he? I've gone by myself and felt perfectly at home with the guys who come to enjoy the dogs. I also love to sit there nibbling and watch and listen as regulars order by holding up fingers for two or three or just saying "my usual."

                      Speed's seems to have its own friendly community.

                    2. re: Bob Dobalina

                      Katsiroubas (no apostrophe, ha!) Bros., 42 Newmarket Square, just a little up the right side of the triangle that is Newmarket. They're the ones with the ubiquitous forest-green produce trucks; they supply a lot of restaurants. You can see it from the old Speed's location. Actually a little less dusty and big-rig-exhausty than the original.


                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        Last time I was there, he had a big sign up in the old spot with an arrow pointing to where he was now that said he'd moved.

                        1. re: jgg13

                          I went this afternoon and had the pastrami with mustard but no BBQ sauce. The sandwich was terrific. What makes the pastrami special is the cooking method, not the meat. Good, but not great pastrami. Worth the trip for either the hot dog or the pastrami.

                          1. re: laulauman

                            This is torture - I have to get one of these. I've always thought that the Pearl dogs (and the ones he's using now) tasted like pastrami to begin with (I think it's the coriander seed). And pastrami is the most sensual of all the salted cured meats.

                            1. re: nsenada

                              Thank you nsenada, you've given me a perfect excuse for going back and ordering one of each. I need to see if there is a note of pastrami in the dog.

                        2. re: MC Slim JB

                          I know this info has been passed back and forth many times, but I really want to try and get my first dog before the season comes. Do we have any ideas when Speed's will pack it up? I'm aiming for a Tuesday afternoon- probably next week. I've got my hopes up!

                          1. re: voodoocheese

                            Greg says he plans to keep Speed's open right through the winter. Current hours are 9:30a-4:30p M-F, 10:30a-3:30p Sat. You can always call to see if he's open on any particular day (bad weather in all seasons keeps him closed): 617-839-01012.


                  2. It's pretty damned tasty. A bit lean for my taste, a product of grilling over wood charcoal and a pretty lean version of pastrami to begin with: it's one of three varieties produced by the adjacent Boston Brisket Co., and Greg says he thinks he's one of a handful of people actually ordering that product. The charred roll is a plus. I had Greg go light on his (kinda sweet) barbecue sauce, but the combination with yellow mustard works well. (He's selling jars of his BBQ sauce and relish for $8 each now.)

                    Also a hot news flash: he's looking at a location in Peters Park on Washington Street in the South End. That would be pretty amazing, and a lot more accessible for many people: it's not far from the New England Medical Center and Back Bay stops on the Orange Line, the Arlington stop on the Green Line, and it's really close to the E. Berkeley stop on the Silver Line.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Lean, eh? That, plus my faith in the scientists that discovered that brisket is health food (http://www.beefmyths.org/2008/04/) may prompt a pre-blood-work visit to Speed's.

                      1. re: nsenada

                        Lean for pastrami probably doesn't qualify as lean-lean. But overly lean (to my taste) pastrami is pretty common these days.


                    2. Took a ride to Speeds today.. Dogs are still great but the pastrami we found to be just ok. There's better to be found in Boston. Trip was far froma total waste..a little sea urchin at a Newmarket vendor and some nice bacon at Lord Jeff's.


                      6 Replies
                      1. re: 9lives

                        Speaking of, what exactly is Lord Jeff? I always assumed that all of those places were B2B wholesalers but on our way out it looked like some normal people were shopping there.

                        1. re: jgg13

                          Lord Jeff's is a wholesaler, but open to the public and does a large trade with the African American and Caribbean communities. Its one of the better places to get Southern ingredients (red hots, country ham, ham hocks, fat back, various smoked meats for greens -- ham, smoked turkey wings, frozen and fresh chitlins etc). They have some basic groceries along the same lines, so you could theoretically do a whole shopping there, but not certain you would. Don't expect a boutique ham, its from large providers, but for country ham, slab bacon, oxtail, and ribs cut to order its a great option. You buy things several ways: some smaller portions are weighed and labeled in the fridge, some items come in pre-weighed 5/10lb quantities (chicken legs, turkey drumsticks/wings) which they just ring up at the cashier, you order what you want and how its prepared at the butcher (usually a 15-20min line on weekends), and they sometimes have some extra unusual items in the freezer near the butcher. Keep in mind that the hours are closer to wholesale than retail, but they do open until 6 at least twice a week and open shortly on Sunday (until 4 Saturdays, until noon/1 Sunday???). They do accept MC/Visa. I suspect their retail business is larger than wholesale these days, but its still tailored torward the purchase of larger quantities of most items.

                          1. re: itaunas

                            What's a "red hot" in this context: a frankfurter?


                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              MC I meant "red hot link sausage," "hot links" not the Virginia/Carolina red-colored hot dogs. I think its more of a AL/MS/LA/TX thing, probably derived in some sense from andouille but made with beef and fairly close in its commercial version to a dog, but used to season stew and maybe in a po boy too (probably with a nicer link than what LJs carries). What I really like is some of the smoked beef sausage they carry in bulk -- lots of nice beef flavor (I think they use a lot of beef hearts), strong sage seasoning, in both hot/mild. One of the varieties of sausage is distinctly better than the others (there is one which is criminally overseasoned), but they tend to have a couple they bag so its hard to point other hounds to the right one. They also had penrose pickled hot sausages in the past (and always have pickled pigs feet, sometimes eggs), which are classic bar food.

                            2. re: itaunas

                              Awesome, that's good to know. Thanks.

                              1. re: itaunas

                                Itaunas, thx for the explanation. You did a far better job than I could have..especially since I've gone there based on your posts...:)

                          2. They didnt have it on saturday

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: jgg13

                              We got there about noon on Sat and they/we had it. Guess they ran out.

                              1. re: 9lives

                                We were there @ 12:30 so sounds that way.

                                1. re: jgg13

                                  We must have just missed you. I think when we left about 12:30-45, Greg had run an errand and his wife? was running things..and maybe didn't feel comfortable making the pastrami. They didn't sell much while we were there. I did want to wish him a good winter.

                                  We were sitting at the single table with our and our bicycles. I almost wore my old CH t shirt cuz I figured some hounds would show up.

                                  1. re: 9lives

                                    We really did just miss you (and I probably underestimated when we got there) as we also sat at that table :) Now that I think back it could have been as late as 12:30 that we got there. Too funny.

                                    Right after we got there it got really backed up ... there were 4 of us, the first two to order the dogs had them right away, and then she started to prep another batch. The next 2 of us took about 15 mins to come out and the line got huge. Same sorta thing happened w/ our other group. But that might have been the largest group of people I'd seen there before.

                                    That wind made eating a challenge though!