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Buying pastrami to go from Katz- how to?

4Snisl Feb 9, 2010 05:07 PM

Hello all...

As many times as I've been to NY, I've never been to Katz's. I plan to remedy that situation next week!

I was thinking that I should purchase some pastrami to go and bring it home . Bake my own rye bread, procure a good bottle of mustard and some pickles, and get enough to share with folks that I REALLY like. :)

Few questions:
-How does ordering meat alone work at the store?
-How much trimming does a whole pastrami require? Is getting a whole one the best option, or would you recommend pre-sliced?
- Assuming it doesn't get eaten.....how long does pastrami last in the fridge? A few days? A week?

I suspect I could ask at the store, but would appreciate advice based on real-life experience. Thanks!

( And if there's another thread that already covers this, apologies- must have missed it in my search.)

Katz's Delicatessen
205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

  1. c oliver Feb 9, 2010 05:18 PM

    Despite what you ask, I still think in this case you should go to the horse's mouth:


    BTW, I think their pastrami is to die for :)

    1. daffyduck Feb 9, 2010 08:09 PM

      i was there today and the guy in front of me ordered a pound of pastrami to go and the guy at the counter asked if he wanted it sliced up or not. So it's up to you. I personally would take home a big piece and cut it myself. Just make sure you go against the grain.

      1. u
        UES Mayor Feb 10, 2010 02:49 AM

        That is just way too much work!!! Just order and eat there-best to have the memories of the best pastrami sandwich in your mind than lug all the ingredients home!! That would take thw whole fun and experience out of it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: UES Mayor
          seal Feb 10, 2010 03:23 AM

          Unless you plan on cooking the pastrami yourself (certainly do-able and worth the effort) I would agree with the above. If you don't mind cooking, then you can order a whole pastrami from Katz's website.

          No matter how good a cook you are I suggest you watch an online video about how to cook one and how to slice it before you decide as doing either step wrong will ruin even the best meat.

        2. g
          gutsofsteel Feb 10, 2010 04:05 AM

          I've done this many times - bought a big unsliced piece and traveled with it as a gift. You don't have to "cook" it - you have to steam it. It's easy. And also it freezes very very well. Katz's used to vac-pack but they don't anymore, but they will wrap a piece very well. Don't buy hot pastrami, buy an unsteamed whole piece. They'll give you steaming instructions but in my experience you have to steam it slower and longer than they tell you to.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gutsofsteel
            ESNY Feb 10, 2010 05:28 AM

            This is the right move (well, if you definitely aren't eating there it is). Just get a whole hunk and slowly steam it until its hot and moist and then cut against the grain.

          2. 4
            4Snisl Feb 10, 2010 06:30 AM

            Thanks everyone!

            I do hope plan to talk with the folks at the store- but there's a possibility that my stop at Katz's will literally be dashing in while a tolerant buddy waits in the car. I did get some good information from the website, but would be great to walk in having weighed my choices and order without holding up the line with a bunch of questions.

            I'm hoping I'll be able to enjoy a sandwich on site, but am also tied to other people's itineraries (not really worth explaining....) And as far as the hassle of bringing it home, steaming, etc......it's not a far trip back home, and I think that there are people who might really appreciate the gesture. (I'm hoping it will be an encore for myself.... :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: 4Snisl
              SusanaTheConqueress Feb 13, 2010 04:23 PM


              We were just in NYC a bit ago and enjoyed Katz's offerings - and, like you, we arrived prepared to _quickly_ state our requests! '-
              )Being on an extended stay (weeks & weeks of DC/NYC/Baltimore (for Poe's 200th + season opening of Seltzer Towers), we shipped, not schlepped our choices for sharing with the curious folk back home.
              It was good, but it didn't beat out Langer's - (a quick hop on Metrolink from here) '-)
              I'm hoping your rye comes out well - it makes all the difference '-)
              -How does ordering meat alone work at the store?
              You just say what you want - (hot, cold / whole, sliced / fatty, trimmed) ~ I always mention my intentions, so they know how to pack it (anywhere - not just Katz's).
              -How much trimming does a whole pastrami require?
              Oh, that's _so_ subjective! It's totally a personal preference. I had a friend at Rockwell, Intl in the late 70s - early 80s who had almost zero body fat and would literally pause to carefully remove every speck of fat! (And he adored bacon, of all things! LOL!)... Other folk, like one of my daughters & I, we just "go for it". Still others, like DH, will pick out glaringly obvious pieces of pure fat with an accusatory look, like what? _I_ made it? LOL!
              Is getting a whole one the best option, or would you recommend pre-sliced?
              If you're able to slice it up yourself _properly_, go for the whole. If your intention is to hustle back to a helper pulling loaves of rye from the oven to provide the meat, go for hand sliced on-site for you + some machine sliced, (for comparison's sake)...
              - Assuming it doesn't get eaten.....how long does pastrami last in the fridge? A few days? A week
              Well, it depends on what it's been through before making it _to_ the refrigerator. How long and at what temps was it "out"? I wouldn't expect _any_ leftovers '-)
              Drying out is what you want to avoid, so go with a _tight_ wrap of plastic film is my advice.
              Go in both directions, to be "sure". '-)
              Need a helper on the taste testing? ;-) I know how to be appreciative of gestures '-)
              Take care with your pickles - ask for some while there! ~ Same with the mustard '-)
              No need to "bastardize" it, as one of my gal pals says. '-)

            2. n
              Nsxgo Oct 26, 2011 12:19 AM

              There is no line when you buy a whole uncooked piece of pastrami. You go to the back counter not the sandwich line and tell them how big a piece you want and they will bring up a piece to you. I would tell them to bring up a thick piece as opposed to a flat thin piece. If your lucky it will be a large thick piece which will weigh more then what you want and they will cut it for you in half. Reason I say this is because with a cut piece you loose one end and get more succulent meat, Cooking I recommend a pressure cooker if you have one if not you will have to steam it longer to break down the fat and connective tissue of the meat. The longer you steam it the better I recommend at least a hour and half by conventional means. When it comes to trimming the meat that will all depend on how much fat you like on the meat and how lean the cut of beef was that you purchased. Now make sure you get some good bread and deli mustard and your all set,

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