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Feb 6, 2013 09:37 AM

Schwartz's Smoked Meat now packaged and selling in grocery store!

Just read a tweet from Lesley Chesterman..she blames Rene Angelil..

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  1. i wish she would have photographed the ingredients label

    1. IGA now carries "baton rouge" ribs
      Metro carries La Petite Pousette and Magnan's
      what a horrible trend

      1. Well, Rene only promised that he wouldn't open any more locations... but I guess it's now clear why he was willing to spend so many millions on one tiny restaurant.

        15 Replies
        1. re: Fintastic

          There's no way that there is a large market for this kind of product otherwise the Lesters' brand would be more prevalent. If they really want to expand, I think a smarter approach would be to market their mail order business or supply restaurants. They should build the company as a premium brand, not as some bottom of the barrel 4 week shelf life piece of crap.

          1. re: catroast

            There's nothing premium about the Schwartz name or restaurant atmosphere. They should maybe market it as "exclusive" in terms of availability (restaurant deals could work), but not premium in the sense that it costs a lot.

            But there is a market for packaged smoked meat. Curious to see if this taste's close to the restaurant stuff or more like Levitt's

            1. re: catroast

              Well, all I can say is that I'll never eat at Lester's or buy a package of their meat, but I've frequently been to Schwartz's and will maybe try their grocery store offerings. I'm not saying their product will sell, but I think the value of their name is pretty evident just by driving up St. Laurent and looking at where people are standing in the cold.

              1. re: Fintastic

                i have and it's absolutely disgusting

                1. re: Fintastic

                  My sister and I tried 3 brands of grocery store packaged Montreal smoked meat last year - not sure of the actual names anymore but all 3 were awful. Verging on totally inedible. I'll try the Schwartzs stuff if I see it, just to see if it works.

                  1. re: montrealeater

                    Don't bother, after having tasted it, I can tell you it is no different. I do not care what other posters have stated, but it is the same stuff. Pink, gelatinous, and void of any similarities to the actual Schwartz's product.

                    I had mentioned that this can work to the detriment of Schwartz's as anyone who has not been and has tried the grocery store variety will not go to the deli. Ever.

                2. re: catroast

                  I tend to agree with you catroast. That name is widely associated with 'the best smoked meat in the world' outside of Montreal and I would think there could be a large/eager market for mail order as well as restaurants, as you mention, that could then ID it as "Schwartz's" on their menu/in their marketing and jack up the price accordingly. :)

                  1. re: catroast

                    Dunn's sells packaged smoked meat, too, at least as far away as Ottawa. It was a cut above the usual store stuff, too.

                    Lester's is terrible, even in the restaurant.

                    1. re: Shattered

                      My sister lives in a small Ontario town between Toronto and London and she's able to get packaged Dunn's smoked meat at Costco.

                      1. re: Haggisboy

                        Perhaps these offerings are both vestiges of the former Dunn's location(s?) in Ottawa, and the the current outlet in Vancouver?

                        1. re: Fintastic

                          They even had slabs of smoked meat (non-sliced) from Dunn's at some Costcos before.

                          They still carry the packaged Dunn's (sliced) at all of the Ontario Costco's I have been to.

                      2. re: Shattered

                        This is an odd comment about Lester's as the Lester's deli product and the packaged product come from different companies. Same family, but different companies.

                        1. re: fedelst1

                          Yes, I know. Both versions are terrible (but you'd think the restaurant would be decent - not so).

                  2. I'd be curious to know the meat packing registry number shown at the front (I zoomed in on the photo, but the res is too low). I'm wondering if this company is making other brands of packaged smoked meat (I don't think the Schwartz's location is a registered meat processor).
                    I'm also curious who initiated who in the deal (the chicken or the egg...).

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: porker

                      That was my first thought, too. There's no way they're making this at the restaurant, it's just not big enough. Maybe they opened their own production /processing-only facility; hopefully they did otherwise they will ruin their brand by selling the same store crap as anyone else.

                      1. re: Shattered

                        Even if they did open their own facility, the cachet (or cache) of an artisinal product developed by immigrants generations ago, maintained in an outpost of a dying tradition is lowered substantially.

                        I'm figuring if the product was farmed out to a processor with strict production guidelines, there is a chance that it may resemble the in-house product at Schwartz.

                        Kinda reminds me of a commercial I saw about the boardroom of a cookie manufacturer - one of the board members (a young whipper-snapper) says something like "I know; how about if we cut out all preservatives, use only natural ingredients, bake the cookies fresh, and deliver daily to ensure our product is the freshest, tastiest cookie possible?" The rest of the board looks at him like he's nuts and the meeting proceeds in another direction.
                        I can picture Angelil (yeah, I know, we're putting way too much thought into the evil kingdom...) at the newly chosen smoked meat packer; "I want you to make the smoked meat like they do at Schwartzs; dry cure small batches in barrels for 21 days, smoke using real wood for 6 hours, let rest for 2 days, steam for 6 hours to tenderize, then cryovac with no other preservatives, and ship worldwide. Oh, and use my private jet when delivering to Las Vegas."
                        The meat guys would get a chuckle, take Angelil aside and explain the economics and legalities of the meat processing business (I dunno, gang needle the briskets with a high-nitrite content, lowering curing time to 2 days, pump with phosphates to increase weight, include some smoke flavoring to avoid that pesky wood stuff, then load it with sorbates, sulphites, nisin, pimamycin, and a touch of sodium acetates ensuring a shelf life of 7 months, refrigerated or not).

                        I dunno, even if it was the best of both worlds (artisinal meets industrial) my romantic side says its a cheap endeavor...

                        1. re: porker

                          agree. mass production completely cheapens the brand and insults the history of the product.

                          1. re: porker

                            " if the product was farmed out to a processor with strict production guidelines, there is a chance that it may resemble the in-house product at Schwartz."

                            Even in that scenario, how many people would manage to steam it at home so that it remotely resembled what you get in a sandwich served at the restaurant? If the meat in these packages is already sliced, the answer is none.

                            Which is not to say it can't be good, but I just don't see any way for it to come close to what most people consider a proper Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

                        2. re: porker

                          The establishment number is 501 which is registered to DelStar the company which also makes Dunn's

                          1. re: fedelst1

                            Geez, is it such a wonder that the shiny, new Schwartz grocery product tastes like all the others?

                            1. re: porker

                     only being sold in QC according to this story.

                              Brownstein also makes mention that "the deli has been selling its meat to supermarkets previous to the sale to Angelil, and has just changed the packaging.".

                              If you click that link within the story you'll see that IGA refutes that in a twitter conversation from a few weeks ago. I'm assuming Brownstein is referring to what you guys are saying in here, that they have been selling the Dunn's packaging and are basically interchangeable.

                        3. A few months back L'Epicerie sampled a few different brands of grocery smoked meat with the Joe Beef guys and Bill Brownstein. A couple of times it looks like they are really revolted. Here's the clip.