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Pastrami or Corned Beef--Which Do You Prefer on a Sammage?

I love a corned beef on rye as much as the next guy, but CB has a sweetness to it that I occassionally find offputting. Not so with pastrami. Love that stuff and could happily eat it every day.


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  1. +1, especially if they do the unpardonable and glaze it. I too could eat a heapin' helpin' of pastrami every day, especially scrambled into eggs and put onto a bagel, or sided with a bagel, or by itself, or rolled around some kraut and eaten out of hand.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      Hot pastrami, kraut, swiss cheese, and spicy brown mustard on good Jewish rye--it just doesn't get much better than that.

      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        I had one a' them bad boys this weekend, after I crawled out of the Valley of the Shadow of Death and you're right, it didn't get much better. My brother does a very bad thing wherein he nukes pastrami and swiss on a plate (baaaaad deli style) and fries a ring of pineapple, and then places it all into a seeded rye bun. With very hot mustard, it's a great and beautiful creation.

    2. I'm just a big pastrami guy. But my humor says I should be corny beef.

      1. I loathe bad corned beef (especially the stuff made from round), but when it comes to a quality deli that opinion gets turned around by 180 degrees. When that flavor is just right, and not overbearing, and the texture is soooo juicy and tender I enjoy it as much as pastrami, if not more.

        Usually my decision between the two is dependent on where I am getting it (i.e.- pastrami from Sarge's, corned beef from Second Avenue, that sort of thing). Either that or my wife and I will get one of each and go 50/50.

        1 Reply
        1. re: TongoRad

          Depends on whether I'm at a really good deli or a normal diner/lunch counter, or at home. Great deli pastrami is wonderful, normal straight-off-the-loaf rubbery pastrami much less so, and I find the seasoning tastes odd and artificial.

          For home sandwiches, I really like CB round. I cook it to medium-rare and then press and chill it overnight. Makes a great buffet item, sliced really thin and served with hot mustard and/or horseradish sauce. If you overcook it of course it's just about inedible.

        2. What is a "sammage?" Is that French?

          1 Reply
          1. re: beevod

            Just US slang for sandwich.

            I love both pastrami and cb. Each has it's time and place, depending on my current cravings. And, I'll admit, I've even enjoyed a hot pastrami on rye with - yes - cream cheese! Don't throw rocks at me, please.

          2. What about a combo? Sometimes I order that just to try both.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Steve

              I've had that combo. at Katz's, but then went ahead and gilded it with a layer of chopped liver and was in gustatory heaven. Spicy, sweet, soft, stringy, smooth - absolutely delicious. A veritable oral Disneyland.

              1. re: Steve

                The Firehouse chain serves something called the New York Steamer, which has both CB and pastrami. I like it.

              2. When it comes to Commercial prepared Deli meats, the usual preferred cut for Pastrami is the Navel Plate, and for Corned Beef, it's Brisket. Round Cuts are just plain bad. As such, I find the navel plate to be much more tender and flavorful in Pastrami as opposed to the brisket cut for corned beef, the point cut notwithstanding. I enjoy both, but Pastrami definitely wins out by a nose.....

                However, an exception is......., I used to work at a Catering facility that used to smoke their own Pastrami and brine their own Corned Beef from Deckle cuts. These were the best house prepared meats I ever had for tenderness and taste. Both were equally as good.

                1. Pastrami if from the plate
                  Corned Beef if NOT first Cut
                  No Fat No taste

                  I prefer to pickle my own corned Beef, but do not smoke my own Pastrami

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bagelman01

                    Excellent point. Needs the fat. That's where the faux deli stuff fails.

                  2. No preference. Either one just as long as long as they don't trim all the fat off. I won't eat "lean" .

                    1. Pastrami for the spicing.

                      1. There is another thread that discusses what you are a stubborn purist about. For me that is good pastrami and corned beef. If it ain't good I just will not eat it.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: jfood

                          I agree. If you go one step down, you fall off the cliff.

                          1. re: jfood

                            One of my summer jobs in high school was working for a dry cleaner. NOT the place to work in the summer unless you were right next to what was one of the best "delis" in NY. The Pastrami King. I would stop in there from time to time (read, at least onnce a day) and they would hand slice home cured pastrami, put it on a piece of aluminum foil and I would cary it back to work with me. It was incredible. Just the right amount of fat (no 1st cut for me)and the spices were fantastic. They also pickled their own "cukes" so I was in heaven. Would always stop there on the way to Idlewild/Kennedy or Laguardia airports for the best in flight meals you could have.

                            1. re: jnk

                              If I was your seatmate on that plane and you pulled out that pastrami sandwich.... no court in the world would convict me.

                              1. re: Steve

                                If you were my seatmate I would kindly ask you to get off my lap so i could eat my sandwich. if you were seated next to me and i saw a pouty look I would probably offer you a piece.

                          2. I would take either one in a heartbeat.

                            Somehow, when given a choice, I almost always opt for pastrami. I think it's the pepper.