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Jul 5, 2013 02:27 PM

What is the best way to cook pastrami for a sandwich??

I usually grill pastrami (&corned beef) for our hot pastrami sandwiches and reubens on a flat top at work, I feel it's tastiest. However, the other cook steams it. What is the difference between grilling it or steaming it? What do you prefer?

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  1. I thinking grilling or griddling is better since it gives the meat a chance to caramelize and brown giving it much more flavor than steaming.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

      Yes! Griddling is what I meant, thank you.But why would one steam pastrami? I am apparently going to have to steam it from now on & that just seems absurd to me..

      1. re: MiaSmash

        I never had a Pastrami Sandwich from a Jewish Delicatessen that did not hold a large piece of Pastrami (Navel) in a steamer to keep it hot, then remove it to slice for the sandwich. Personally, I'm not a fan of the Griddle Flat Top heating method.

        1. re: fourunder

          I agree. Really good quality Pastrami is always the navel cut (marbled ith fat), and the absolute best way to prepare it is a long steam bath. I've done it with pre-sliced navel pastramis as well by staccking the slices, wrapping them tightly in foil, and steaming for an hour or so.

          I've had griddled pastrami on a few occasions (ordering in place where I should have known better. Always too chewy and too salty. bleccccchhhh

    2. Depends on your pastrami. Steaming renders out fat and salt and achieves the lusciously soft texture of the NY deli sandwiches of old that were 3" thick with meat but could be bitten through easily.
      Steaming the entire cut of meat ala Langer's will reduce volume by a third. That concentrates the flavors and bastes the meat in its own fat. Katz's recommends steaming to reheat its sliced pastrami and boiling for the whole cut.

      Commodity quality "pastrami" that's lean and water injected can be better with griddling to get rid of some of the water and introduce another layer of flavor when the meat's own cure is lacking in complexity. Having suffered too many dried out and tough pastrami sandwiches heated on the flat top, I ask first and decline to order them if that's how they're cooked. It tells me something about the starting quality of the ingredients as well. Invariably, they seem to be pre-sliced, liquid smoke, water injected crap.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Commodity quality "pastrami" that's lean and water injected can be better with griddling.....


        P. L. & T.

      2. Growing up in the 1950's my grandmother would take a trolley to Williamsburg Bklyn then shop and when she got home would STEAM the pastrami. It was always juicey served either on rye or a club roll with a pickle. I griddled ,baked fried and it never was as good.

        1. First, for hot pastrami, you need a fatty brisket (or, even more classic, navel/plate) cut; lean pastrami from the round is for cold pastrami, not hot.

          I find the best way to warm pastrami is the poor man's sous vide: put it in a heavy gauge plastic bag, get rid of as much air as possible and seal, then put in a bowl and run hot tap water over it. It reheats without cooking (unless you have your hot water tap set to a very high temperature).

          3 Replies
          1. re: Karl S

            ...and run hot tap water over it. ...



            First, your wisdom and knowledge is far above mine.....however, you have repeated this method more than once. It goes without saying it certainly can get the job done...and arguably may be the best way to reheat anything to serving I am certainly not a tree hugger, but don't you think in these times of not wasting resources, running water for an extended period of time could be deemed as being irresponsible just to reheat a little amount of food(the same for defrosting frozen foods too)? Maybe a short stay in a pot of water heated to 125-145* may achieve the same results?

            1. re: fourunder

              you still have to heat the water. and running water is thermally more efficient. NOthing prevents you from capturing the water and re-using it.

              1. re: fourunder

                I have a stackable steamer pot, I just used it &I it came out fantastic. I guess I am just not a pastrami sandwich connoisseur! I never knew. :) Thank you for all of your input

            2. I usually like to make a combo of corned beef, pastrami and Swiss cheese. I stack the combo up with a few slices of cheese in the middle and the rest on top and then steam it until the cheese melts and the meat is warm. Served on good rye bread with coleslaw and thousand island or Russian dressing on top and it can't be beat.

              In a pinch, I've heated the stack of meat and cheese in the microwave for about 90 seconds with almost as good results.