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mail order pastrami from Katz

Has anyone ordered whole pastrami from Katz Deli in NY? I am thinking about ordering some for my wife's birthday and would like to hear some first hand experience from those that ordered. Their website says it has to be cooked and trimmed. I expect it would have to be boiled. But how much did you have to trim? I wanted to see if I would need to order more to account for trimming.

More importantly, how did the pastrami taste? Did it taste anything like what is served at the deli?


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  1. Haven't ordered one, but you wouldn't boil a pastrami - all the coating would come off, and the juices would leach out. Generally, you want to reheat by steaming. Put in a dutch oven on a rack or some onions, add a bit of water, cover and heat at 300 till warmed through.

    1. First, I never ordered it as a delivery. But does it have to be cooked or just reheated?? Cooking is about smoking the meat after curing. I don't think they expect you to smoke it. If it comes smoked, in a big cryovac bag, you would either have to bring it up to temp in boiling water, or remove it from the bag and steam it.

      Trimming would occur as you slice it, much as they do at the deli. You will lose a good bit in fat, but since this is after cooking I would think you'll be able to eat about 75 or 80 percent of it (some fat you want to keep!). What is the wweight of the meat at shipment?

      1 Reply
      1. re: woodburner

        I would seriously doubt Katz's is selling it uncooked or even partially cooked. Cooking is a two step process; First, the cured meat is smoked to about 150-180 (most recipes say 150 range, but I find it's more tender without being fall apart at 180). Second step is to steam for a few hours. At that point, it's ready to serve, or refrigerate and reheat.

      2. Well, I got an email back from Katz. Here's what they said:

        "As far as cooking, you'll need a large pot, place the pieces in it & cover completely with water. Bring to a boil & continue to cook for 3 hours, check to make sure it's fork tender in the middle, the thickest part. It doesn't need to be a rolling boil as you would cook pasta but a medium boil. The water will turn dark from the spices but don't worry, the rub sticks. This is how we prepare it here. "

        I asked volume of water to meat as I don' t want to end up with meat too salty or too watered down.

        My main concern isn't the cooking, but the end product. Obviously I'm going through the trouble and expense to replicate the taste, so it'd be a huge waste if I can't do it with their mail order product.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Spinal Tap

          That may be how they do it, but I wouldn't boil a pastrami. Maybe theirs is oversalted to begin with so it equalizes after being boiled.

          1. re: woodburner

            No, I haven't gotten it yet. Late September, if I decide to get it. I haven't found any reviews online. My main concern is because a big part of it is done at home then it could change the end product which would ruin the whole experience.

            1. re: Spinal Tap

              I might suggest going with a fantastic mail order (and store if you are lucky to live in the Ann Arbor, MI area) Zingermans. I have ordered many items for gifts and their Reuben Sandwich Kits are always well received. They have a lot of great items and their customer service in impecable.

          2. Hi Nate: My daughter sent me a gift package of pastrami & corned beef from Katz in NYC, neither was good. There were some heating instructions included and one of the two actually did require some kind of cooking while the other was just heating. I know it was expensive so should have been good, neither was even close to good. Thought it might have been a bad batch or something, we threw it away. Katz was very good and resent the order, no better luck, both were just as bad. My experience would be to stick with eating at the restaurant; I have been meaning to try a small order from another deli, maybe Stages to compare the end products. Good Luck!

            1. We tried it in 2007 and were quite dissatisfied. Chewy, fatty and not very good. Even more insulting was the white bread like packaged rye sent with the order.

              I've eaten at Katz's for more than 50 years and am satisfied at the restaurant, the mail order product is an embarassment.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bagelman01

                davyslala and bagelman01,

                Thanks. Your experience is what I was afraid of based on what Katz instructed I do with the ordered pastrami. I decided to make my own and the batch of pastrami is steaming as I type. I experimented with one a few days ago so I'm hoping it turns out O.K. If not, well at least I haven't spent $400.


              2. I looked at this string of emails after receiving the 2 lb. pastrami from Katz' Deli that we ordered and felt compelled to respond. We were testing out the concept before planning a large party. We ordered 1 lb of pre-sliced pastrami (it was very good) and a 2 lb. whole pastrami. The website says that it will need to be cooked and trimmed and I thought that there would be instructions in the box - there were not. I did call Katz' though and they said just throw it in a pot of boiling water and let it simmer for several hours. I decided to follow their instructions. I boiled it for about 2 1/2 hours and it was absolutely heavenly - just like it is from the deli. I didn't do anything fancy - just put it in a large pot, covered it with water and let it boil. I took it out and wrapped it in foil. We had people over for dinner that night and I sliced it, put the sliced meat in a zip lock bag with about a teaspoon of water and re-heated it for about 60 seconds in the microwave. It was just amazing. So many of these posts are negative but we had a wonderful experience - in fact, we may wind up having a monthly delivery now that we know it works so well.

                1. Tried to check this out on Katz's web store but I'm getting an "untrusted site" message through Firefox with an unusually strongly worded avoidance suggestion. Has anyone gone to their online store who could post the IP address that got you there without a hitch? Thanks.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Midlife

                    I just last week ordered a pound of sliced pastrami and corned beef along with a loaf of their rye bread. Cost was over a hundred bucks and I steamed it. I wouldn't do it again because of the cost, but the meat came out very good.

                    1. re: Midlife

                      Find someone who has an iMac or MacBook. I rarely get those messages from Firefox.

                      I avoid using my PC as much as possible and when I do, those messages pop up all the time.

                      1. re: Midlife

                        I went here with Firefox:


                        It opens a new window, which is irritating, but it's not an untrusted site - has a green check mark & everything.

                        1. re: small h

                          Took a chance and allowed the link to their store. Went through fine and it IS them, so no problem. Odd. Most likely a second party shopping cart.

                          1. re: small h

                            You get untrusted site when you click on the STORE link. This is because it connects to https://www.katzdeli.com and it appears that Katz has not actually purchased a REAL security certificate (ie, one with a certificate source that is already registered with Firefox). This is probably because they're too cheap to pay for a real certificate but instead have a self-issued one. Although the session is secure, Firefox can't trust that you are really talking to katzdeli.com website.

                            While this is most likely the real Katz Deli website, I usually don't do credit card transactions on websites that can't be bothered to get a valid cert. They probably don't take much care securing your personal stuff in other matters either.

                            And NOBODY boils a pastrami. Sure everyone is not talking about corned beef? How do you keep the pepper on the pastrami if you boil it? Steaming it (after smoking) lets you coat the meat with the pepper rub. No pepper=no pastrami. Might as well get Oscar Myer pastrami (blech).

                            1. re: tsdguy

                              I just bought a three pound piece of pastrami on Sunday at Katz Deli. (I thought it was quite reasonable at $12.35 a pound compared to $23.95 per pound for cooked sliced pastrami.) They told me that although it is smoked, it has to be boiled because it is uncooked. They said that was how they did it at the store, so I guess they would argue with your point about nobody doing it that way.

                              What do they know? They've only been doing it that way for 122 years.

                              I would agree that I wouldn't boil it for reheating precooked presliced pastrami.

                              1. re: notmtwain

                                They may have been doing it that way for 122 years, but they are still wrong. It doesn't "have to be boiled because it is uncooked." I make pastrami from scratch. It is cured for almost a week, then smoked. Because it is a tough cut of meat, and the smoking does not raise the internal temp over 150 or so, it needs to be FURTHER cooked. (It is already cooked as far as food safety).

                                How you choose to further cook it is a matter of choice. Katz's may boil theirs because they can dump a dozen pieces into a vat; steaming is more involved and space consuming. But it goes without saying that when you boil anything, some of the flavor moves from the meat to the soup.

                                I roast/steam mine for a few hours till it's tender (that is, I put in on a rack in a roasting pan with some water in the bottom, then seal the rack tightly with tin foil and bake). The coating stays on, the meat stays flavorful.

                                1. re: sbp

                                  We need to move on from this debate... I basically agree with sbp, in that it seems awful weird that Katz's would say they boil... steaming may be what they actually mean when they say boil. We know that they hold the meat is a steam cabinet on the service line. whatever.

                                  But, you can certainly reach any temp you want during smoking. I take my pastrami to about 190-200 in the smoker, which is good for slicing. If I hold it I will either just wrap it up or steam.

                                  If it tastes good, eat it. Oh look, here's one now!! But please use rye and mustard, not mayo and white!!!

                        2. I ordered one for my wife as we are long time Katz's go-ers. Read these replies and ended up steaming the pastrami (we had a 3 pounder) for nearly three hours. We were very happy with the result, texture taste and the experience was right there. Very very happy.

                          One negative thought, the shipping is as expensive as the pastrami!