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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

                              http://occupons-montreal.info/node/16... 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.


                          1. does anyone know what store these were sold in?

                            Standards matter to brands, so I do really wonder if to justify a super-premium price strategy that they would advertize that they use the same high-cost original techniques as the resto.

                            Does the schwartz's retail outlet beside the resto sell any in this packaging?

                            1. At the risk of being branded a foodie heretic, I have to say I honestly don't know what all the snobbery is about these grocery-store smoked meat packs branded as Schwartz's, Levitts, Dunns etc. As a kid I grew up being dished out those boil-in-a-bag Coorsh and Hygrade recycled rubber sandwiches. If you have to pull on your sandwich after biting into it just to separate the meat, then you shouldn't be eating it. This new generation is a FAR cry better. Just a notch or so below the fresh stuff from the restos. I've even had IGA's Compliment's brand and found it made a pretty decent home lunch smoked meat sandwich. Plus, it heats up in a jif in the microwave. The only major drawback I can find is that all of these are pretty highly priced.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Haggisboy

                                I agree with you (wierd, thats been happening alot lately...) and that boil-in-a-bag Coorsh was a real treat for me growing up and coming home for lunch from school - a far cry from from my mother's usual salami or boloney (yeah, yeah, 'bologna'...).

                                However, I'm saddened at Schwartz's selling-out to the man; mass-production, mass-marketing, all that.
                                Its a romantic notion, I know, that a small deli can become (somewhat) world famous from very humble beginnings and remain true to its roots.

                                Selling out (for $10M...who can blame the owner?) to a consortium seemed the first step on the road to fucking it up. But no, don't worry;
                                "....we're not interested in diluting the brand by franchising, or making the deli something that it isn't," Angelil said in a statement. "It's truly one-of-a-kind, and we intend to keep it this way..."

                                Then this grocery store product comes out...kinda makes me think its step #2 in a well choreographed plan to dominate the world and ruin that romantic notion I had above.......

                                I'm not saying the grocery product will be awful. To quote Saul Ettinger (local real estate magnate turned restaraunteur - Il Etait un Fois/Briskets/Linguinis/Ettingers), "Even lousy smoked meat is still pretty good".
                                I'm just saying it cheapens Schwartz's renowned glory.

                                1. re: porker

                                  lousy smoked meat is not pretty good

                                  1. re: catroast

                                    I would sill prefer lousy smoked meat over lousy cooked or smoked ham

                              2. This available in stores yet. Anymore details, anyone try it?

                                1. Tasted it yesterday, was already in store, and I got to tell you this is the best s.meat in groceries by far. And since I dont have to chance to go at the restaurant often, this is great.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: redman55

                                    Can you tell us which store you found it at?

                                    1. re: redman55

                                      Really!?!? We tasted it too and the documented reaction around the table was not as positive.

                                    2. In IGA in Laval, the lady told me every store should have it because my mother liveds in blainville and wants to buy some today. dont know yet if she found some

                                      3 Replies
                                        1. re: ios94

                                          That link doesn't work for me.

                                          EDIT: Sorry, looks like the entire site is down. Will try later.

                                      1. Bill Brownstein taste tests the packaged stuff, just the photo alone is scary looking and obviously nowhere close to the real thing. Treason is what I call it.


                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: JerkPork

                                          Gotta love the Edelstein quote “I could feel my foreskin growing back,”

                                          1. re: porker

                                            Thank you... I never thought that the comment would be published. Bill fought hard for it to be left in.

                                            1. re: porker

                                              That was hilarious - and I can't stand eating as Schwartz's. Do spring for their smoked poultry - to takeaway.

                                            1. re: Maximilien

                                              Ha! À ce que je sache, il n'y a pas d'IGA sur le Plateau. En bas (Complexe Desjardins, Place Dupuis) et juste en haut (St-André/St-Zotique)...

                                            2. Dr.Schwartz Mcgill chemist discussed on his radio show today and after comparing the two by taste said they werent even close+ plastic bag one from IGA had smoked meat that was thinner and spicier. But I probably would have bought this in IGA as used to buy the other smoked meat in plastic bags before coming to Montreal. i don`t see any surprise in this the owners have to get a decent return on their investment and chances are good place will be preserved unlike so many other montreal restos

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: mangoannie

                                                there's no way they'll sell through their current inventory.

                                                1. re: mangoannie

                                                  I heard Dr S yesterday afternoon as well. All these taste tests are stating what we expected (obviously). I wonder if it will last on the shelves.

                                                  I stopped by my local IGA yesterday to take a look at the packaging. My camera on my phone sucks so I couldn't get a clear photo of the ingredients but it was the usual stuff (I've seen worse); Sodium Erythorbate, sodium this, sodium that, brown sugar, soya flavor some preservative sounding ingredients but I can't remember all of them. The list wasn't actually too too long. The serving size listing was interesting, about 1100 mg of sodium (around 50% of rec daily intake) for one pouch. Then again I'm sure the real stuff has just as much.

                                                  1. re: mangoannie

                                                    I often see the opinion along the lines that "the owners have to get a decent return on their investment".
                                                    True, this is a basic business philosophy, but I don't think it was a driving force on the sale of the joint.
                                                    The $10M pricetag is peanuts to Angelil and his buddies. Rather than a return on thier investment, I think Schwartz is more of a trophy item for them....

                                                    1. re: porker

                                                      How do you think they got rich in the first place? They are money-driven people. That goes part and parcel with ego, thus buying a prestige property, but it's about the bottom line.

                                                      I have no problem with it as long as things stay the same at the restaurant. As far as the store stuff cheapening the brand by lowering the expectations for the restaurant, I doubt it.

                                                      Enough people in Montreal have been to the restaurant to know it's pale imitation and can go and decide for themselves if its still the legendary stuff on St Laurent. So it may hurt their image by cashing in but it shouldn't hurt people's image of the genuine product.

                                                      For people outside Montreal who haven't been to the restaurant, yes it'll give a false impression - but its not necessarily a negative one. I've had the Dunn's store brand and it's the best grocery smoked meat I've tasted. Apparently they are making the Schwartz grocery meat, too. So for people in Ontario, assuming they will eventually distribute that far, it will be among the better offerings. Meaning if people eating that stuff do make it to St Laurent, they will be surprised to find it's even better. Win-win.

                                                      1. re: Shattered

                                                        I'm just saying people buy all kinds of stuff for all kinds of reasons. It is indeed about the bottom line, but somethimes the bottom line is not profit or generated revenue or money.
                                                        I have no problems with this; its only my opinion.

                                                        1. re: porker

                                                          lot's of stupid people have money and this Paul Nakis guy is clearly out to lunch. I wouldn't want to be a laughing stock to make whatever meagre profit this earns, if any...

                                                          MONTREAL - “It’s business,” Schwartz’s co-owner Paul Nakis unequivocally stated when asked about the decision to distribute Schwartz’s-branded smoked meat at IGA stores. “We’re in business to do business. After all, we invested a lot into the place.

                                                          “Again, I must repeat there is absolutely no plan to franchise. Like Hy Diamond used to say: ‘There is only one Carnegie Hall, and there will be only one Schwartz’s.’ The only thing we’ve done is make the product available on supermarket shelves, because of all the requests we had to do so. A lot of our competition is already there, and no one has ever made a fuss about that.”

                                                          True. This must be the only city where a restaurant’s move to the supermarket makes the top headlines.

                                                          Nakis and his family have long been involved on the Montreal food front. Aside from their 50 per cent interest in Schwartz’s, their holdings include a couple of Baton Rouge outlets, Sir Winston Churchill Pub, Da Giovanni and, most recently, Laurier BBQ post-Gordon Ramsay.

                                                          “Our wish is always to respect and maintain tradition in our restaurants,” Nakis said. “It would be nice to produce the supermarket Schwartz’s from the deli, but we could never meet supply. So we went to people who have the necessary equipment and expertise to produce our brand outside.”

                                                          As for Nakis’s assessment of the supermarket variety: “I took part in four tastings of this smoked meat and found it to be excellent. It can’t be the same as what comes from the deli, but I think we’re right up there with all the competition (at the supermarkets), and maybe a little ahead of them."

                                                          1. re: catroast

                                                            Stupid people? Lol…These guys are businessmen, they go after the masses, their target is not the people that frequent websites such as Chowhound. He's out to make cash, he owns Baton Rouges which I personally don't care for but stupid they are not. That's like saying people who own McDonalds are stupid because they serve junk. No, they see a business opportunity and that's exactly what their doing with the IGA product.

                                                            1. re: JerkPork

                                                              he owns a few baton rouge franchises, not the corporate empire

                                                              this is a very bad product but we'll have to see how smart he was...

                                                              1. re: catroast

                                                                He also owns probably the biggest cash-cow bar in the city, Sir Winnie's. Those Baton Rouge franchises must be doing okay, too.

                                                    2. re: mangoannie

                                                      I've seen it at my local IGA (corner St-André and St-Zotique, one block north of the big Beaubien SAQ Sélection). Think it was about $10 for about 500 grams.

                                                      Wonder who would buy it here, not very far from the original Schwartz's? Might make more sense in towns farther away.

                                                      I'd rather take friends and relatives afar the smoked duck in a can one also finds nearby.

                                                    3. I think folks both here and elsewhere, like The Gazette, are losing perspecitve. Expecting the grocery store version of Schwartz's, Dunns, Levitt's etc. to be like what you'd get from the resto is foolish. But it is superior to the chewy, pseudo recycled car tire stuff sold by Coorsh and Hygrade.

                                                      Also, I've found that boiling the pouch in hotwater to be the most insipid way to prepare the stuff. Just a couple of fork pricks of the pouch and 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave is all that's needed.

                                                      1. Lester's sells prepackaged smoked meat in grocery stores and has a restaurant where there never is a line up and doesn't attract tourists.

                                                        Dunn's sells pre-packeaged smoked meat in grocery stores and has a restaurant where there never is a line up and only attracts tourists because it is close to the Bell Centre.

                                                        I'd give Schwartz's four years or so before there are no longer line-ups.

                                                        And if anyone is interested, a lot has changed in the Montreal Smoked Meat world in 30 years... http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

                                                        25 Replies
                                                        1. re: EaterBob

                                                          Apples and oranges. Lesters restaurant has always been an also-ran, plus it's out of the way (& the store brand is a different company). Dunn's was great when they still had the big location on Ste-Catherine. Then they franchised and I'm guessing came close to losing their shirt because they moved into the snug spot on Metcalfe that's very easy to miss, plus the quality went down.

                                                          As long as Schwartz doesn't franchise and they stick to the traditional methods in their restaurant, I'm sure they'll be fine.

                                                          Great article, thanks. $2 sandwiches, mmmm. I dunno that 'alot' has changed, though - Schwartz and The Main were near the top of heap back then, too.

                                                          1. re: Shattered

                                                            I know that the packaged Lester's and the restaurant are different. But the folk who buy it at the grocery store probably don't. And if Nakis and company are going to make money on their $10 million investment, they're most likely to sell the rights to package "Schwartz's Smoked Meat" which would make them two separate companies as well.

                                                            Then as to the article, Curly Q's is gone, as is Adams restaurant in Lasalle and Ben's. Schwartz's was #2 after Levitt's (who's still making smoked meat, but not doing retail anymore) and the Main was #6. That doesn't sound anything like what's around now.

                                                            We read differently...

                                                            1. re: EaterBob

                                                              I misread where the Main ranked, I thought it was top five. Didn't know it used to be just a couple doors down from Schwartz. Huh.

                                                              Anyway, my point was franchising hurt Dunn's, not going retail.

                                                              1. re: Shattered

                                                                you've also misread his entire point- that 'going retail' did not enhance the restaurant's business.

                                                                1. re: catroast

                                                                  I don't expect this product to help the restaurant in any way, though it could help a little by keeping the name on people's minds.

                                                                  My question is whether it can really *hurt* the restaurant.

                                                                  In a world where many people insist they love Lesters, le Roi, etc. and even prefer the pink, rubbery stuff over the real deal, I think not. Those who really appreciate the restaurant will know better, and the great majority who don't know better won't care.

                                                                  As long as they maintain standards at the restaurant (a real concern), I doubt this product will do any real damage.

                                                                  As to whether it will be a successful product on its own, my guess is that it will, because huge numbers of people have low standards and will be drawn in by the brand alone.

                                                                  Do the Moishes pickles, potato salad and coleslaw you see in the supermarket have anything to do with the restaurant, apart from the name? Doubt it. Do they hurt the restaurant in any way? Again, doubt it. If anything, they keep the name on people's minds even if they never buy those products, and that can only help the restaurant.

                                                                  1. re: Mr F

                                                                    the moishes pickles and coleslaw are much better than most competitors

                                                                    1. re: catroast

                                                                      True, and I acknowledge that makes the Moishes products a less than perfect example for my point.

                                                                      But I still think the key thing re Schwartz's is the average consumer's low standards. IMHO there's almost no way this stuff can truly hurt the restaurant; only a drop in the quality of what the restaurant serves can do that, and if that happens it could take many years to really undermine the business, as witness the story of Ben's, which was wretched for decades before it closed.

                                                                      1. re: Shattered

                                                                        but the owner has outed himself as a joke of a human being whose taste buds can not be trusted to assess decent food for human consumption.

                                                                        1. re: catroast

                                                                          His lack of good taste doesn't matter at all if he has the good sense to keep his paws off the restaurant kitchen. So far, that appears to be the case.

                                                                          1. re: Mr F

                                                                            i just hope they institute a second sandwich for a nickel policy

                                                                      2. re: Mr F

                                                                        Schwartz is better than most of it's competition, as long as the grocery product, albeit different than the restaurant stuff, is better than it's competitors, then I see no problem, you compare grocery vs. grocery just like you compare restaurant vs. restaurant.

                                                                        1. re: westaust

                                                                          Exactly what I've been trying to say. When I tried Dunn's grocery smoked meat, which also comes in individual vacuum sealed portions, I didn't compare it to the best smoked meat I've had anywhere, instead I thought "this is surprisingly good for grocery store smoked meat." Schwartz's grocery brand is apparently made by the same folks. I'm confident it will not hurt their brand.

                                                                          Here's a crazy idea: maybe everyone else should refrain from commenting until/unless they've tried it, too. It's really not bad, and believe me, I swear by the restaurant's stuff.

                                                                          p.s. catroast: I assume you're referring to his comment in the Gazette that it's 'excellent'. That's called spin, dude. aka Sales 101.

                                                                            1. re: catroast

                                                                              What do you want him to say, "it's nothing like the real thing"? Lol. Wow, you really have it out for this guy.

                                                                              I bet in 5-10 years they try to franchise, watch.

                                                                              1. re: JerkPork

                                                                                obviously he's going to stand behind it if he's selling it but he comes across as a huckster

                                                                            2. re: Shattered

                                                                              "Here's a crazy idea: maybe everyone else should refrain from commenting until/unless they've tried it, too. It's really not bad, and believe me, I swear by the restaurant's stuff."

                                                                              Curiosity got the better of me and I bought some. Probably won't be trying it tonight, but I must say I know of no meat that could be expected to survive those cooking/reheating instructions. Any tips?

                                                                              1. re: Mr F

                                                                                Someone said earlier they skipped boiling and just heated it in the microwave after piercing the package with a fork. That's how I did it, too, reheating it gently at first for a couple minutes, then on high for under a minute.

                                                                                1. re: Shattered

                                                                                  Call it a phobia, but I don't put plastic in the microwave, period.

                                                                                  Boiling in the bag kind of grosses me out too, but I will try that method just to see what happens.

                                                                                  I removed the meat from the plastic, unfolded it (without separating all the slices) and put it on parchment paper in a dumpling steamer for 7 minutes. I tasted a little bit cold and it was pretty much as expected: mass-produced cold cuts.

                                                                                  After steaming, the result was... not terrible. The process left an oily-looking puddle on the paper. The meat was lean and not slimy, lack of sliminess being probably its greatest redeeming feature. Flavour was "industrial" but edible. And it didn't bear any resemblance to a Schwartz's sandwich.

                                                                                  It was good enough that I will be able to finish the other three servings, but not good enough that I will buy the product again.

                                                                                  In other words, no real surprises here.

                                                                                  1. re: Mr F

                                                                                    Boiling it in the bag is the normal practice for meat that's been cut. Even when getting the takeout stuff from Schwartz (the ones they package and put in the fridge) you're advised to heat it up in boiling water, package included.

                                                                                    1. re: artstate

                                                                                      Some recommendations are made to be ignored.

                                                                                      If I had a large piece or whole brisket bought takeout, I would steam it slowly, minus plastic. From experience, this works fine as long as you keep an eye on it and don't overdo it to the point that it gets waterlogged. I wouldn't heat cold, sliced takeout meat at all.

                                                                                      What I expect from boiling this product in the bag: a pink, slimy, spongy mass like the dreck they serve at Le Roi du Smoked Meat or La Belle Province. We'll see.

                                                                                      1. re: Mr F

                                                                                        Boiling this product in the bag (for slightly less than the recommended time) turned out to be OK -- not particularly slimy, decent texture.

                                                                                        If I ever bought this again (doubtful) I'd still go with the dumpling steamer, but in all honesty following the directions results in something better than expected, and indeed as good as or better than the standard industrial product served in most restaurants. It's better than Bens ever was in my lifetime, which is good news for everyone who thinks that place was just great.

                                                                                        That isn't a very high standard to beat, but let's just say "Schwartz's in a box" could have been much worse.

                                                                  2. re: Shattered

                                                                    To clarify. the original Dunn's on Ste. Catherine closed down. For a few years there were no Dunn's to be found. Then, Elliot Kligman, grandson of founder Myer Dunn, acquired the resto's name. By that time the old location had been taken over by something else, and he had to find a new downtown location.

                                                                  3. re: EaterBob

                                                                    I enjoy Google Gazette archives, fun to read some old Rochester reviews. A lot has changed, most of the players mentioned in the article are gone.

                                                                    edit: There was a Tim Horton's in Rosemere back in 1979? Interesting.

                                                                  4. Just bought the box .4 pack.What an astounding embarrassment.Makes as much sense as invitro fertilization or Celines singing for that matter.

                                                                    1. I finally got around to trying the packaged Schwartz stuff and have to say I was quite disappointed. I've had the premium packaged supermarket stuff from Dunns, Lesters and even IGA's old Compliments brand. I found them enjoyable and passable. Much better than the old, rubbery, Coorsh or Hygrade packets that mom used to dole out on occasion at lunch when I was a kid. Obviously these new "premium" supermarket products are not on par with the Smoked Meat you could get at the Deli's themselves, but somewhere in the middle.

                                                                      So, with this in mind, I figured the Schwartz product would be about the same - especially since, after reading this thread, it seemed as though the Schwartz stuff was actually made by the same plant that also did the Dunns and Levitts products.

                                                                      I found it dry and bland. It's as if they were using the Lean cut and doing the rub and smoking all wrong.

                                                                      In the resto I usually order a sandwich either medium fat or fat, figuring that if I'm going to eat Smoked Meat, I might as well abandon all health pretext and go for the flavor.

                                                                      Seriously, if you want to buy the packaged supermarket stuff, go with Dunn's or Levitts, they're better.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Haggisboy

                                                                        I have to agree HB- I bought it today and it probably is the worst of the premium brands. I found it excessively salty, dry and bland. No Schwartz's vava-voom. I would go with Levitts as a rec.

                                                                      2. Another new comer to the boxed smoked meat craze: see attached photo. I may actually try this one. The Magnan products sold in store are pretty good but very expensive.

                                                                        16 Replies
                                                                        1. re: catroast

                                                                          just as a side note, I was at Magnan's for dinner last night and the roast beef was as good as ever.

                                                                          1. re: catroast

                                                                            I'm curious who the manufacturer is...I'm guessing its the same folks who do the Schwartz's product and even go out on a limb and say they're likely the same product. Even the packaging looks similar.
                                                                            Soon you'll be able to pick up "Esso" smoked meat at the gas station...

                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                              they have their own butcher shop so maybe they're producing their own products. they're also serving smoked meat in the restaurant.

                                                                              1. re: catroast

                                                                                Having your own butcher shop and serving smoked meat is very different (licensing-wise and production-wise) from mass production.
                                                                                Schwartz apparently makes their own smoked meat and have been doing it for quite some time, but they had to sub out the mass production...
                                                                                Same as Dunns...

                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                  I wouldn't be surprised at all if they're all getting it form the same place. Maybe Quebec Smoked Meat in Point St-Charles? I've never been, but as I understand it, QSM is a factory for store brands with a small counter up front. (I heard it's pretty good, too. Worth going out of the way for?)

                                                                                  1. re: Shattered

                                                                                    not worth going out of your way for. i know since i've done it.

                                                                                    1. re: Shattered

                                                                                      I like quebec smoked meat - its pretty good, and worth the trip. They're more of a deli counter selling cold cuts, in-house smoked turkey, and such.
                                                                                      You can get a sandwich and I'm told they'd microwave it for you, but selling smoked meat in bulk (parts of brisket, whole or sliced, or entire vacuum-packed brisket) is more of their business, along with sausages and other cold cuts.
                                                                                      I don't know if they do store-brands per se, but they are a manufacturer and distributer. Their house brand is Nower (you might see their various sausage around).

                                                                                      If'n you do make the trip, stop in Wayne's Deli across the street about a block east. A small european deli which does some noteworthy in-house items as well (kielbasa and a few others).

                                                                                      I do agree that all supermarket, packaged smoked meat likely comes from the same processor.
                                                                                      In reference to the Schwartz packaged stuff, fedelst1 says above,
                                                                                      "The establishment number is 501 which is registered to DelStar the company which also makes Dunn's"
                                                                                      So DelStar makes Dunn's and Schwartz's. I'm willing to bet the Magnan's stuff comes from the same place (it'd have 501 as the Canadian meat establishment number).

                                                                                      1. re: Shattered

                                                                                        I've bought their smoked meat a couple of times and think it's a great product. Whether it's worth going out of your way depends on how much of a smoked meat enthusiast you are. If your closer to Schwartz, it might not be worth the shlep. If you do go, ask for a piece from the fatty end and make sure to steam it over simmering water for at least an hour. Personally, I think it's worth a try.

                                                                                        1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                          I live less than 10 mins walk from Schwartz and virtually never hit Verdun/ the Point. But I've tried going to Paul Patates a few times and each time it's closed for vacation (although I have gone to the non-chain Lafleur -solid poutine). I'll try again sometime this spring and hit QSM and Wayne's Deli to go. Thanks for the tips.

                                                                                          1. re: Shattered

                                                                                            For your trip to Verdun you might also want to try the Michigo at Pierrette's Patates (pogo's with michigan sauce, get them with onions, they're delicious). Pizza Mory's Mory's vegetarian with sesame seed crust. Piesanna - just a really nice family restaurant and Rex Pizza, one of the better casse croutes in the city.

                                                                                            1. re: EaterBob

                                                                                              Rex is closed at the moment. They had a sign up that indicated they would be renovating but then that sign was taken down... I really hope this doesn't mean they are gone for good, they were one of the best greasy spoons in the city.

                                                                                              1. re: unlaced

                                                                                                That is not good news. They indeed are (or were) a great casse croute. If you see any change in their status, please post it here.


                                                                                                1. re: EaterBob

                                                                                                  They have a new sign up saying "Opening soon - Thank you for your patience". To me, that is still not clear if they are reopening as Rex's or if they are doing something different...
                                                                                                  Will keep update as soon as I know!

                                                                                                2. re: unlaced

                                                                                                  An update: they have their grant reopening tomorrow, June 4th. They have a new colour menu posted on the outside (windows still papered up) and it looks like everything is the same, including the low prices! Yay!

                                                                                                  1. re: unlaced

                                                                                                    Thanks, it looks like I will have to make a road trip in the near future...

                                                                                2. Yesterday I tried the Dunn's brisket that I bought at Costco

                                                                                  Its $17 for 1.5 kilo piece and you have to steam it for 1.5 hours. I made sure to chose a very spiced fatty piece.

                                                                                  I was very pleasantly surprised it tasted pretty good.

                                                                                  Would buy it again.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: InterFoodie

                                                                                    i bought one for 11$ and it was excellent.In a league of its own but well worth the price.

                                                                                  2. The Schwartz's smoked meat just appeared at Sobey's (the #2 chain) in Toronto and was featured in the weekly flyer. I didn't know what to expect and I didn't expect greatness. I didn't even expect it to resemble Schwartz's. But I didn't expect it to be awful, which it was. I will never buy it again. The Dunn's product sold at Costco in Toronto, whatever it's provenance, is much better, and is better than what was sold at Dunn's in the sixties. Sigh....

                                                                                    1. FYI in case you want a side of listeria best check out the following recall notice: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/about-the...

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: eat2much

                                                                                        You get more than a second for a nickel...