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The best place for smoked meat

  • t

I'll be in Montreal this weekend and want to make sure I try the smoked meat. Any suggestions as to where the best place to get it might be?

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  1. Ben's has very delicious smoked meat.The waiter was very friendly too.

    1. g
      Guy Lesperance

      Without any doubt, the best place is Schwartz on North St Laurent street.The meat is superb!! I have not been there in a couple of years, but I try to make a pilgrimage at that temple of smoked meat whenever I am in town.

      1. w
        Warren H. Prince

        Schwartz's... for the authentic smoked meat...

        1. Another vote for Schwartz's on St. Laurent..service is in the brusque New York style.

          1. k
            Keith Ninesling

            Can someone tell me whatever happened to Dunn's Delicatessen?

            I read on a website that it is now defunct.

            When did it close? And why? Last time I ate there in the Fall of 1997 it seemed to be doing its usual good business.

            I first ate there in 1986 and revisited several times over the next decade. Although there are other places that serve better viande fume, this was a major Montreal institution for me...

            1 Reply
            1. Schwartz's is something we miss about Montreal so much - we lived there for 6 months in the winter of 2004-5, and we often got the smoked duck, which have to be ordered in advance and are SO GOOD. Really peppery, and make excellent sammiches, and the bones boiled down into broth are EXCELLENT. I haven't been able to make mashed potatoes so good since I no longer have access to smoked duck bones for broth. :(

              1. i havent had smoked meat in a few years but i must say that i am shocked when people claim lester's or ben's or even snow deli to have good smoked meat. personally, i find all three of those places - EVEN THE MAIN - to have bland boring smoked meat. I think i might have to claim that Abby's in the west island has the best with schwartz's a close second. those two places are on a level of their own.

                1. My vote goes to Snowdon Deli or Lester's. I find Schwartz's smoked meat to be dry and chewy.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: olivergail

                    There we go... someone who's not crazy about Schwartzs'. Not the only place you know. May want to drive to Mtl's west end and try
                    "Smokemeat Pete's". Recently rated #2 in Mtl. and possibly the world.
                    Schwartz's came first of course, 'cause they've been around forever and people just have to vote that way. Oh yeah, Pete's is real easy to find... right behind the Dairy Queen on hywy 20 in Ile. Perrot, QC. Not that far when your addicted to good Smoked Meat.

                    1. re: jeffdmtl

                      We made a special trip out to Pete's when I was in Montreal a week ago, and I have to say, it was definitely worth it. Cut a little thicker than I'm accustomed to, but excellent, not too fatty, not too lean, great flavour.

                      On the other hand, they apparently get a lot of accolades for their fries, too, which I thought were basically terrible.

                      1. re: Jacquilynne

                        I'm with you on the fries... they claim to cook drain and cook again.. but they really weren't great, Latkas' also. But good meat!

                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                          Smoked Meat Pete originally got their accolades for their fries, when they were rated #1 in Montreal for best fries by the Montreal Gazette in their Quest for the Best food series. That was around 6 years ago. Their fries might of changed since them(can't remember where they got their potatoes from at that time(it wasn't PEI potatoes), but it was unusual).

                          1. re: BLM

                            Smoke Meat Pete doesnt get their potatoes anywhere near PEI

                    2. Though I do believe that they did close for a while some years ago, Dunn's has been changing locations and opening new ones of late. They have four locations listed on their website:

                      1249 Metcalfe, Montreal

                      Marché Centrale
                      1029 Marche Centrale, Montreal

                      Ste-Dorothée Mega Center
                      13-2260 Aut.Chomedey, Laval

                      6795 Jarry East, St-Leonard, Qc

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: RomanW

                        Dunn's closed in 1998. They reopened several years later(around 2001) at a different location(on Phillips-Square just off Ste-Catherine). Then they moved to their present location on Metcalfe. Their Metcalfe location like their location on Ste-Catherine street for many decades, is open 24 hours a day(they never close). BTW, they're some Dunn's delis across Canada, but they're not connected with the current Dunn's operation in Montreal.

                      2. Sanity check here - Schwartz's is the benchmark, everything else tries to be Schwartz's with Abies & Georges close, very close. SM Pete I'm told ranks up there as well. Snowdon Del, although dear to my heart, doesn't hold up either. If you like your SM all loaded up with preservatives & G-d knows what else, then you will appreciate Bens, Lesters, Dunns or even the Main. IMHO a Schwartz's medium-fat sandwich can't be beat washed with a Cott Black Cherry of course.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: RhondaB

                          I think you're off-base re the Main.

                          I've said recently that the quality isn't consistently top-notch, and that is a real problem. I ascribe it to relatively low turnover, which means you may get meat that's been in the steamer too long or not long enough.

                          That issue aside, the meat is to all appearances prepared on the premises using a traditional recipe, and it's very obviously not the slimy, rubbery, junk served at most places. Do they take shortcuts or use industrial preservatives and the like? Maybe they do, but there's no proof that I know of.

                          1. re: Mr F

                            after a run in with a korean bbq in toronto, i am no longer veg! i will have to pick up from where i left off but i recall all the non-shwartz's places being EXTREMELY bland - except for abby's which is the absolute closest - and perhaps even better (in my opinion)

                            1. re: Mr F

                              The Main makes their smoked meat. The drawback with many of the smoke meat establishments mentioned here, is that they're consistently top-notch. At all these places(except for Ben's), I've had great smoked meat. I have a friend who told me recently that Schwartz's has gone downhill in recent years. I haven't noticed it, but I don't frequent Schwartz's that often anymore. My favourite is still the Snowdon Deli, & I've never had a bad smoked meat sandwich there.

                              1. re: BLM

                                Sorry I meant to say, the drawback with many of the smoked meat establishments mentioned here, is that they're 'not' consistently top-notich.

                              2. re: Mr F

                                I believe the photos & captions in Carswell's post are bang on about the Main. "Watery, pinkish ... let's get out of here". I am skeptical as to whether or not the Main's s.m. is made on premises - it just tastes so water injected & false, unlike the "dry" smoked meat you get at Schwartz's, Abie's or George's. Hey sonny - one med fat with a black cherry to go svp.

                                1. re: RhondaB

                                  Have you been to the Main recently? I was there yesterday, and my medium-fat sandwich was just fine. Not watery, not unduly pink, not too dry (as I have sometimes encountered there), well spiced. As I said, the place is by no means perfect, but let's be fair: this place is absolutely not down there with the Bens of this world.

                                  And yes, I have had my share of Schwartz's over the years.

                                  1. re: RhondaB

                                    If they don't make it on the premises, all their briskets would be in vacuum-packed in the display, not openly exposed like that. I do notice it's quite pinkish, maybe it's because how they're spiced(more along the lines of regular smoked meat). The Main possibly taking shortcuts in their smoked meat making(Rhonda says their smoked meat taste so water injected & false), it's possible.

                                  2. re: Mr F

                                    no such a thing as shortcuts with making smoke meat and I know for a fact there is no preservatives

                                  3. re: RhondaB

                                    Georges deli, for people who might not know(it's relatively unknown) is in Laval. I've tried them twice, & their smoked meat is pretty good(they make their own smoked meat).

                                  4. I understand that Schwartz is an 'experience'. I've been there, it's great, smoked meat is good etc.
                                    IMO, however, the Nower smoked meat shop on Centre street makes the best smoked meat in Montreal. They make their own smoked meat, as well as other meats, nitrate-free & delicious. For example, they'll smoke a whole turkey for you on order (a co-worker always orders a smoked turkey from them for the holidays). Anyway, it's a place that does mostly take out of sliced meats, but they also make sandwiches to go. Really amazing smoked meat (of course you can ask for reg./med. or lean). Highly recommend.
                                    Nower, Les Produits de Viande Fumee du Quebec Inc., 1889 Rue Centre, Tel.514 935-5297
                                    Oh, and their bacon is excellent, it's the only one I'll buy now.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: morebubbles

                                      Nower is the brand name for the Quebec Smoked Meat establishment. However their smoked meat, is still known under Quebec Smoked Meat(not using the Nower name for the smoked meat). I like the Quebec Smoked Meat product. 'Smoked Meat Pete' was getting their smoked meat made by Quebec Smoked Meat for several years(I don't think they're Smoked Meat Pete's supplier now).

                                    2. I completely agree, bubbles. They seel superb rye and dills also. I must try that bacon!

                                      I am also not a fan of Schwarz. The meat is too gristly and I prefer a thinner cut.

                                      1. The results of the Smoke(d) Meat Marathon/Crawl held a couple of years ago were:

                                        1. Schwartz's
                                        2. Snowdon Deli (old fashioned)
                                        3. Abie's
                                        4. George's
                                        5. The Main

                                        See www.paulsfinest.com/pss/smokemeat.php for pics.

                                        Haven't tried Abie's or George's but agree with the ranking of Schwartz's, Snowdon and The Main. Snowdon is my fallback: a sandwich comparable to Schwartz's but with no queuing outside or surly waiters and really good alternative eats.

                                        More than one reliable source has raved about Smoked Meat Pete on Île Perot.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: carswell

                                          Can't pass judgement 'till you've tried them all... Again, SM Pete's was just named #2 for Smoked Meat as per a CFCF/Pulse call in survey... Fairly large audience don't ya know. I think... We might all agree that if you're in need of great smoked meat, You'd have to be in Montreal... Anyone??

                                          1. re: jeffdmtl

                                            The CFCF survey is about as credible as the Mirror's Best of Montreal i.e. not much, which is only testimony to people's lack of taste. I'm not saying that Smoked Meat Pete's is not good. I've never been so I have no way of knowing. I'm just saying that a good showing in a call-in survey don't mean much and does not make for a strong argument.

                                            1. re: SnackHappy

                                              A few years ago, I heard that Smoked Meat Pete gets his meat from Quebec Smoked Meat on Centre St. in the Point (just west of Shearer). Is it not still the case?

                                              1. re: RomanW

                                                From what I heard, Quebec Smoked Meat doesn't make their smoked meat anymore.

                                                1. re: BLM

                                                  They actually offer both... I asked yesterday. Mmmm!

                                                  1. re: jeffdmtl

                                                    What do you mean they offer both?

                                              2. re: SnackHappy

                                                I hear ya. Just that the survey brought Pete's to the front for what it's worth. There a lot of worthy meat out there for sure. Thanks for your point of view. JD

                                          2. Yes, Smoked Meat Pete is quite good!

                                            1. I had smoked meat sandwich at the deli in the Casino and thought is was very good. Has anyone else tried the smoked meat there?

                                              1. ok no longer a veg
                                                ate shwartz's last night
                                                all the naysayers just don't know
                                                that's all i'm saying.

                                                1. went to the main this weekend
                                                  mediocrity at its finest
                                                  how anyone can hate on schwartz's is beyond me

                                                  1. Was their smoked meat way too dry? Eaten The Main smoked meat 5-6 times, & except for last time, it was always too dry. The last time there, I was very specific in asking fattier side of the brisket & make sure it's medium-fat.

                                                    Of the Montreal smoked meat delis, Snowdon Deli is the most underrated in my opionion(it's usually gets knocked around here & on the other food board, when smoked meat is discussed). Eaten smoked meat at Snowdon Deli 12-15 times, & it's always excellent smoked meat, even trying their regular smoked meat several times & once corned beef(also excellent). It's not only the quality of the meat(with decent amount of fat), but also proper steaming for great smoked meat. That's why I'm guessing, some smoked meat places could be inconsistent(I've had sub-par smoked meat at Schwartz's, Dunn's, Abie's, The Main, Lesters, etc.).

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: BLM

                                                      it's not that its dry, i find the main, and lesters to be rubbery and not very flavorful. i cant remember if ive ever had a hot smoked meat sandwich at snowdon deli, but my family has been getting the cold thin slices there for 50 yrs and ive never been impressed. my personal preference has always been schwartz's and abie's. ive gone to schwartz's maybe 5 times in the last 2 weeks and not once was i dissapointed - can't imagine ever being.

                                                      1. re: celfie

                                                        I don't want to sound like a Main shill, because I'm not (and I wouldn't rate the food ahead of Schwartz's, either, which may not have been clear from previous posts), but I'm beginning to wonder if I'm going nuts.

                                                        Mediocrity, OK, I can buy it; inconsistency, sure, seen and tasted it myself; an inferior recipe: a perfectly defensible opinion.

                                                        But apart from all that, I have never, ever encountered that rubberiness that's the hallmark of industrial smoked meat, except that one time somebody I was with ordered the smoked veal. And I am, unfortunately, all too familiar with that rubberiness from the usual suspects (mainly Rubens, but even Bens and Chenoys) because of various late-night downtown emergencies over the years. Not recently, thankfully. Lesters also served me that thin, machine-sliced rubbery stuff on my last visit a couple of years ago.

                                                        (If you're wondering why I still go to the Main once in a while despite acknowledged flaws, the answer is in the total package, which includes, at most times of day, the ability to walk in and sit down for a leisurely meal over a newspaper -- impossible at Schwartz's except maybe in the middle of a massive blizzard. Regardless, I will go to Schwartz's soon just to make sure I'm not completely losing it.)

                                                      2. re: BLM

                                                        I've had Schwartzs',Abies' and Pete's all fairly recently and were all really good although Abie's cutters could be more consistent.

                                                        1. re: BLM

                                                          Absolutely agree. Snowden smoked meat is excellent -- as of me, I like it better than Schwartz's. It is more peppery and is cut in thicker slices, both of which I like. They'll also put some cole slaw in the sandwich if you ask them to. Yum. Making me hungry just to write this.

                                                        2. We Love Sshwartz's. You can also buy there seasoning chicken and beef. Both are great at home.

                                                          1. I am not from Montreal and have only ever eaten brisket at Schwartzs. It was while I was in the city a couple of years ago and hounded my why there for a sandwich. I went back the next day.

                                                            That first sandwich ranks as a top ten food experience for me. And I really enjoyed the weird little restaurant and found that it added to the experience (although I can appreciate it may be a little inconvenient for day-to-day eating).

                                                            I remember that at one point the smoker shot out sparks into the the dinning room, which then exploded like fireworks. Doesn't get to much more authentic than that.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: BarnNB

                                                              "I remember that at one point the smoker shot out sparks into the the dinning room, which then exploded like fireworks. Doesn't get to much more authentic than that."

                                                              This was almost certainly the charcoal grill used for steaks and the like, not the smoker (which is either upstairs or in the back and, AFAIK, always out of public view). The grill does add a nice warmth to the room on a winter day.

                                                              1. re: Mr F

                                                                If I remember correctly, at Schwartz, the smoker is towards the back, but in plain view.

                                                            2. I know that lesters does not seem to be anyones favorite. Has anyone tried their packages that get put in boiling water? Obviously they will not compete with eating at schwartzs, but for us people living in the states, is it worth getting?

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: restaurantelite.com

                                                                It is Smoked meat and not at the same time, know what I mean.

                                                              2. Please note there are 2 Lesters do not confuse them!:

                                                                Lesters Deli in Outremont who make their own IMO good smoked meat and will also ship worldwide


                                                                And also, the god awful Lesters Deli Products who make the bad smoked meat you find in generic restaurants as well as the local grocery. The fact the they also make hot dogs shoult tell you all you need.


                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                                                                  Hmmm... Not sure if you can still ship to the U.S. anymore, Meat products that is... They're still on edge with the Mad Cow thang.
                                                                  Our drivers can't carry "any" packaged meat or meals with meat with them in coolers across the boarder... Must stock up down there.

                                                                  1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                                                                    On a visit to the area, the real estate agent took us around to the different neighborhoods. He said, that he had the perfect place for lunch and we would stop there. It was Lester's Deli. He said that there was another one that everyone thought was better but, he said they haven't been the same the past few years. His preference was Lesters.

                                                                    I have to tell all of you, as my first experience of smoked meat sandwiches, it was pretty darn good! Every single one I've tried since then from other places has been pretty bland and rubbery.

                                                                    Now, that I'm living here in Montreal, it looks like I'll need to make my way to Schwartz to try there's so I can parttake in the great debate!

                                                                    1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                                                                      This doesn't agree with my personal experiences. Lesters in Outremont wasn't very good when I lived in Montreal back in the sixties. The meat shown on their website looks industrial, even in the low definition pictures. It looks like, and probably tastes like, a sliced ham from a supermarket deli counter. I haven't been there in years, but I'll bet that (1) they don't actually make their own or (2) if they do make their own, they needn't bother.

                                                                      I assume Snowdon's smoked meat is supplied by the "big" Lester's meat processor, though it is conceivable that it is made to a custom recipe. Centre St Deli in Thornhill, currently the ONLY purveyor of edible smoked meat in the Toronto area (no traditionally cured smoked meat is available anywhere) gets their meat from Lesters, and they are connected to Snowdon. They even sell "Delisnowdon" labeled meats, and I was shocked to learn that Delisnowdon salamis contain "mechanically deboned beef", "beef byproducts", and "milk ingredients".

                                                                    2. Didn't Lester's Meat Products in fact go bankrupt a few years ago?They had opened up a new, larger plant in Lasalle, but were soon hit with a rising CDN$ and US import restrictions. The new Lasalle plant wasn't in usedlast time I drove by and their website gives a Laval location. Seems that it's the same owners, though (surprise, surprise!)

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: RomanW

                                                                        Another company along the same lines, that went bankrupt after they moved to a larger plant in Lasalle, was Levitts Kosher Foods. Levitts shut down operations about 2 years ago.

                                                                        1. re: BLM

                                                                          Oops! I've confused Levitts with Lester's Meat Products. It was the former that went bankrupt.

                                                                        2. re: RomanW

                                                                          I was referring to Lester's Deli in Outremont. They ship their vacuum-sealed packets throughout the U.S. You dip the packet in boiling water for 1 minute and they're ready to go.

                                                                          1. re: restaurantelite.com

                                                                            if you want montreal smoked meat, your best bet is to visit montreal - those vacuum packs are vile.

                                                                            1. re: restaurantelite.com

                                                                              I have not tried them personally as I live here, but a US friend did like them when he brought them back. He is no smoked meat expert however.

                                                                              The Lester's owner sais it wasn't the vaccum pack that was the problem it was the bad quality other products started with.

                                                                              I guess if dipping plastic in hot water is good for the "sous-vide" crowd, it must be good enough for smoked meat! :)

                                                                              I would try it, what really do you have to lose? It's not as if you'll find any smoked meat south of 45....

                                                                              1. re: restaurantelite.com

                                                                                You're talking about their Mr. Smoked Meat product. Lester's mentions this product in their local radio ads, & there's a display of it at their deli in Outremont. Noticed they do offer it at their website in lean, medium or medium-fat versions(that's a good sign). I might even try one of the medium-fat smoked meat packets.

                                                                            2. Pardon the pun but...Ben's just doesn't cut it. In the downtown area it's Schwartz, hands down. Various Dunn's locations are passable. Close to the western tip of the island (about 30km from downtown) it's Smoke Meat Pete. Abie's on boul. St-Jean in Pointe-Claire gets an honourable mention. Almost anything else is generally edible, but not "real" Montreal smoled meat. Happy chowing!

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: oldsoftee

                                                                                In addition, Ben's employees are still on strike(it's about their 5th month?). What about Jarry Smoked Meat(nobody mentions them nowadays)? Are they good(Jarry Smoked Meat has a connection to the family that has long run Dunn's)?

                                                                                1. re: BLM

                                                                                  Bens' is now closed... owners wouldn't take care of their building and employees... = strike = closed.

                                                                                  1. re: jeffdmtl

                                                                                    Yes I heard(although it might be a ploy by the owners). Last I heard, the striking Ben workers were still planning to picket the restaurant(still no official word(if I remember correctly) they are closed).

                                                                              2. I know everyone talks about Schwartz's Dunn's etc...But I've tasted so many and the one that stands out for me is "Le Roi du Smoked Meat" on St-Hubert Street corner St-Zotique. Really good and very tender and juicy plus not too expensive. In my top 3 for sure.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Babyface1968

                                                                                  Le Roi du Smoked Meat sells industrial smoked meat. It's by Coorsh and it's terrible. It's so loaded with phosphates that it's like eating jelly.

                                                                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                    I'll check up on that and get back to you.

                                                                                2. Have just spoken with friends of mine... they went to Smokemeat Pete's for lunch and said that it might even be the best they've ever had. Including Schwartzs'. Easy in and out...
                                                                                  A bit of a line but worth the wait. Both of these guys know the S word quite well and agree Petes' may just be better.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: jeffdmtl

                                                                                    I must second this post on Smoke Meat Pete's. A little less moist than Schwartz's but one of the very best each time I've eaten there. They also have music on the weekends, and as Pete closes up his counter he brings around complementary plates of the crisp brisket and rib steak ends from his cutting activities for all the listeners. A real treat!

                                                                                  2. Quebec City. Brynds. On Maguire. A must.

                                                                                    1. At Costco recently, I couldn't resist their Smoked Meat at $6. in the food court. It comes steamed, on a 7 grain bun, with a sour pickle. I added kraut from the condiments wagon.
                                                                                      I asked about the source of the meat, and they said Dunn's pre-packaged, and Moishe's pickle from a jar. They said both were for sale in the aisles, and later I picked them up.

                                                                                      The sandwich wasn't that great: the meat was brownish, a bit dry, and the bun would have better if there was a rye flavour. The food court atmosphere didn't help, but hey, it's $6, not $18 in Manhattan!

                                                                                      The box of Dunn's smoked meat I took home was a lot better. It has six packets, vacuum wrapped, for $15. Sure it's industrial smoked meat, but it is a step up from packaged deli pastrami or corned beef, and way better than Shoppsy's pouches. The meat was juicy, spicy, reddish pink, and slightly smoky. With my own choice of rye, mustard, and kraut on the side, Dunn's made for a fine at home deli sandwich.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jayt90

                                                                                        why not just go to schwartz's, abie's, snowdon deli, lesters, smoked meat petes or even dunn's and buy their smoked meat fresh.

                                                                                        1. re: celfie

                                                                                          It's not an option unless I hop on the Via from Toronto!

                                                                                      2. Just my two cents: As a former waitress at the Main, I can guarantee you that they smoke their own meat. The smoke room is right upstairs. You can sneak a peek.

                                                                                        I am a staunch Main supporter. You can't do better than the Main Special (and yes, I will take that pickle for a nickle).

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: pouletsecret

                                                                                          Glad you spoke up! I've always enjoyed the Main's product. I fondly remember the times when me and my buddy would share a smoked meat platter and a side order of latkes with sour cream and stagger out of the place pleasantly stoned (in a gastronomical sense). Tender, juicy meat (medium fat), and no waiting to be seated. That they smoke their own comes as no surprise. What does surprise is the short-shrift they get in terms of positive publicity. Oh well, each to his own gout.

                                                                                          Since I've been resident in T-dot for too long I must ask if a brisket can be bought for export? How much would it cost?

                                                                                          1. re: mrbozo

                                                                                            Schwartz quoted me $8.95/lb, with a typical brisket weighing about5 lb, plus around $30 for overnight FedEx. I assume the Main would be similar.

                                                                                            I've also lived in TO long enough to be reduced to curing my own. The comments I hear most often are that Schwartz briskets are sometimes dry and chewy (which is a natural consequence of the traditional curing method) and that the Main briskets are sometimes pink and bland.

                                                                                            I wonder whether the Main may smoke their meat in house after curing it by injection. Pouletsecret, do you know? This is how Katz's in Toronto cures their pastramis before smoking them in house. It falls between the artisinal production at Schwartz and the full out industrial process used by Lesters or Mello.

                                                                                            1. re: embee

                                                                                              Thanks for the pricing embee. Have to smuggle one of those babies back next time I'm in town.

                                                                                              The only smoked meat I don't like is bad smoked meat. Other than that, put a heaping sandwich in front of me and I'll happily chow down. Much as I like the Main's meat i must admit that it does have a certain unique colour.

                                                                                              How difficult is it to cure your own? Is regular brisket the right cut or should I look for something else?

                                                                                              1. re: mrbozo

                                                                                                It isn't difficult; just time consuming, and you need to have either a cold smoker or a smoker that can maintain a set temperature.

                                                                                                Brisket is the correct cut for smoked meat - the double brisket with the fatty top section. A single brisket will be horribly dry. You'll probably need to get it from a Jewish butcher (where it will be very expensive). If you can find one at a mainstream supermarket that's not in a Jewish area, it will be very cheap -- but it isn't likely. You might find one at Costco.

                                                                                                For pastrami, the correct cut is called "plate", but Toronto pastrami always uses brisket. (The deli counter stuff made from round isn't worth discussing).

                                                                                                The difference between traditionally cured smoked meat and pastrami is in the spicing. They are, otherwise, pretty much the same thing. My personal recipe will give you a strongly spiced pastrami. I don't know the specific spice formula that will give you the Main's Montreal smoked meat, but we're talking things like coriander seeds, fresh garlic, and black peppercorns as the basic flavouring units.

                                                                                                If you really want to try this, go to:

                                                                                                You'll learn more than you ever wanted to know. Ignore their suggestion to start with a cured corned beef. You want to dry cure the brisket in the fridge for 10 days to 3 weeks (depends on thickness and the spice intensity you want). I smoke pastrami using cedar hamster litter (sounds disgusting, but its clean and pesticide free). For smoked meat, I'd add some maple.

                                                                                              2. re: embee

                                                                                                Sorry! I have no idea. I'd be interested in checking out Katz's and seeing what their pastrami is like... As for the observation of Schwartz vs. Main meat, I can't say that I agree. Everything I've ever eaten at both of those joints has always been pink and juicy (but far from bland!).

                                                                                                Maybe I'll put on my detective hat and see what I can find out.

                                                                                              3. re: mrbozo

                                                                                                Look up "Lesters Deli" ,They'll deliver anywhere in Canada... Give 'em your postal code and you're on your way. http://www.lestersdeli.com/

                                                                                            2. lester's is the most disgusting, underwhelming smoked meat the city has to offer. combine that with surly waitresses, and ridiculous prices, and what you have is a poor excuse for a restaurant resting on the fragile laurels of former years.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: eatsies

                                                                                                Oddly enough I had some tasty (albeit not traditionally made) smoked meat from Lester's. Once. That was the time an acquaintance had bought a whole brisket. I've had their in-house sandwiches and must say that most corned beef pleases me more.

                                                                                              2. I have found that Schwartz is definetly the best in the city. For those who found it too dry, ask for a "medium-fat" smoked meat sandwich or even order as I do --- "a fatty sandwich" Sure it may clog your arteries but if you want to enjoty it there is no other way. I also tried Smoked Meat Pete's and hated it. I probably just got a bad sandwich, I will definetly try it again as I am full of second chances but my first was all crumbs, hardly any real slices of meat. It was not only dry due to this but also very frustrating to eat. I should have taken it back but was on the 401 by the time I have my mitts on it. The fries were OK. Nothing to write home about but not terrible either. I also tried Reuben's on the corner of St-Catherine and McGill. It was also good. Definetly not the best, but pretty good if you crave a smoked meat while you are shopping downtown. Hope this helps.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: MontrealKid

                                                                                                  you obviously didnt get you sandwich cut by Pete himself, he on occasion has other cutters, while he takes a well deserved and earned day off, Pete has been cutting meat for over 30 years, go back in peak busy hours, you sure to have a SM cut by him... they are really good, or try his brothers place in Pointe Claire, Delibees on valois bay beside the mayfair tavern north of the 20 between st johns and sources

                                                                                                  24 Bay Valois, Pointe-Claire, QC H9R, CA

                                                                                                2. I decided I wanted to make a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner for sunday, My Brother in-law who grewup in point st-charles. told me there's no better place in montreal to get a good brisket theen Quebec Smoked Meat on center street.I had never been there before but it was real easy to find, it's a simple little buthcer / deli , no table it's all take out. as long as I was there I figured with a name like that I had to try a sandwitch on smoked meat on rye............. wow!!!!! If I want a sandwitch and don't mind takeout. this is my new love, but if i'm out on the town and wanna sit to eat I'll stick with schwatz's

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: WildDon61

                                                                                                    Hey WildDon,
                                                                                                    Do they sell the uncooked brisket there??? I've just purchased a smoker and am chomping at the bit (you might say) to get smokin'!!! Have found tons of recipies and websites for making the brine and some different rubs you might use. And of coarse the different woods to choose from.
                                                                                                    I just might try a local butcher from the west island and see what I can find.
                                                                                                    CHOW for now!

                                                                                                  2. Schwartz - for those who complained that it was dry, I'll bet you ordered it lean.I recommend medium or medium fat. If you don't want to eat the fat, just cut it off. The meat left behind is one of the greatest things on this planet.

                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: rbcj

                                                                                                      better yet, order chicken ifyou don't want to eat fat

                                                                                                      1. re: rbcj

                                                                                                        I've been told that there's a few kind of smoke meat. The Old fashioned one and the commercial one. I know that schwartz and main steak house serve old fashioned ones.

                                                                                                        I like the main steakhouse's smoke meat better because, to me, it's less salty than schwartz. Everytime I eat schwartz, I wake up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth and drink a few glasses of water. That's the schwartz effect on me.

                                                                                                        1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                          You probably just had too much to drink before or after :-)

                                                                                                        2. re: rbcj

                                                                                                          Agreed. It used to be that at Schwartz's, you just asked for a sandwich, but it's only in the past 10 years or so that they've actually been asking people if they want medium or lean. I've always maintained that lean is the "tourist" sandwich, and real Montrealers don't even think twice.

                                                                                                          1. re: bomobob

                                                                                                            It wouldn't shock me if the vast majority of people who order 'lean' or 'extra lean' smoked meat sandwiches at Schwartz's are Montrealers.

                                                                                                            1. re: BLM

                                                                                                              Smoked meat is meant to be eaten medium. Anything else is a sin. If you're eating lean, because you're on a diet - well, you're better off losing the bread or the fries or the cherry coke.

                                                                                                              1. re: maisonbistro

                                                                                                                I never order medium, always medium fat. BTW, it's cherry cola(not cherry coke). Schwartz's hasn't had cherry coke on their menu for about 7-8 years, after Coke stopped selling it in the Quebec market.

                                                                                                                1. re: BLM

                                                                                                                  I stand corrected. But whatever they all are - it's all yummy

                                                                                                                  1. re: BLM

                                                                                                                    Actually it's Cott's Black Cherry Soda. Not a cola at all.

                                                                                                                    1. re: rcianci

                                                                                                                      Yes I know(actually I had originally typed 'soda', then I edited my post). I wasn't sure what to call Cott's Black Cherry Soda(I edited the post, after consulting Sarah Musgrave's Resto A Go-Go 2007 edition book). In hindsight, I should of automatically known it's not a cola(I drink it all the time, even when not at Schwartz's).

                                                                                                                      1. re: BLM

                                                                                                                        Actually, I seem to recall from my childhood in the 60s that the Snowdon Deli - and it could be false memory syndrome - used to concoct their own cherry soda by adding cherry syrup to Coke. Or maybe it was Ben's that did that.

                                                                                                                  2. re: BLM

                                                                                                                    you underestimate the dietary restrictions of westmount housewives

                                                                                                              2. My vote would be for Schwartz's but I wonder if any kosher smoked meat places still exist?

                                                                                                                1. Alright. I'm the 100th response to this everlong question. Hopefully I'll be able to clarify a few things confusing you guys and girls out there. While there is no question in my mind, as a matter of my own personal taste and being a native of Montreal, that Schwartz's is without a doubt, the best most consistant smoked meat house in the city. Smokemeat Pete's is definately a close second.

                                                                                                                  The Main in my opinion is 3rd. Just to clarify something about La Main. Those of you who said, they smoke their own meat are right. Those who have said, they weren't sure if it was smoked on the premises, you are also right. Sometimes their business is too slow to smoke their own meat. Remember, food costs are the bottom line. If you are going through the trouble of smoking 5 briskets, why not smoke a hundred briskets? Very simple. Would you wanna have to throw out 80 of those briskets because they didn't sell? Their smoke room isn't nearly as active as Shwartz's or Smokedmeat Pete's. Sometimes it just doesn't pay to turn the smoker on. Sometimes when they smoke their own meat during busier times they run out. I was told by 2 seperate waitresses that WHEN they do not use their own smoked meat. They use Mello brand. They also purchase briskets from Smokedmeat Pete's. They purchase from both companies as needed. Which explains certain inconsistantsies.

                                                                                                                  The reason that they use those 2 suppliers, is because they don't use the same harsh chemicals as Lester's Meats, or Coorsh. Hence, either a great experience or a not so great experience. Depending on who's brand they serve you at the time.

                                                                                                                  As for all the other names mentioned, They are all second rate compared to the ones I have listed above. The now defunked Ben's, Dunn's and Reuben's(play on Reuben Schwartz's name, the original founder of Schwartz's) All served industrial smoked meat.

                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: mango3333

                                                                                                                    Very very informative. Smoked Meat Pete smokes their own meat(that's news to me)? Where does Dunn's Famous get their smoked meat?

                                                                                                                      1. re: celfie

                                                                                                                        Are you sure? I know that's their party line. Been told privately by one person in the business, at best it's made for them by a commercial smoked meat supplier according to their specs(like what Smoked Meat Pete does), or they're using a commercial product, but hiding this fact.

                                                                                                                      2. re: BLM

                                                                                                                        Technically, Pete's does not smoke his own, the ask an artisinal deli in pointe st-charles to do the smoking for them using Pete's (stolen) recipe.

                                                                                                                        Legend has it that Schwartz's recipe was stolen and given to Main and then afterwards young Pete (son of Main owner) went on his own.

                                                                                                                        So in the end, there is but 1 classic Montreal Smoke Meat recipe, but with 3 interpetations. No wonder those 3 places are far and above most anything else out there.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                                                                                                                          I'm aware of which company makes it for Pete(since he started he has used two different smoked meat suppliers).

                                                                                                                          1. re: ScoobySnacks20

                                                                                                                            Does Pete's really get their smoked meat from Quebec Smoked Meat on Centre St? I live around the corner from them, and have long told anyone who would listen that this is, indeed, the best smoked meat in the city. Technically, I guess Smoked Meat Pete's is just as good...

                                                                                                                            1. re: madsci

                                                                                                                              That was their first supplier. Now they're using a different supplier.

                                                                                                                        2. re: mango3333

                                                                                                                          Is smoke meat pete in the west island of montreal? Like ile perreault? If so I'm told that it's the main owner's son that runs it. Can someone confirm this info. So if it's the son selling to the father, it's the same recipe for their smoke meat I guess. I never tried amoke meat pete!

                                                                                                                          As for 2 kind of smoke meat at The Main. I'm shocked as I eat there at least twice a month and never saw a difference in my smoke meat sandwich.

                                                                                                                          1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                            Yes Smoked Meat Pete is located in Ile-Perrot(West Island). Yes Smoked Meat Pete is the son of The Main Owner(he's Pete junior). Unless it's changed very very recently, Smoked Meat Pete has never made their own meat(yes, they have considered it).

                                                                                                                            1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                              yes it's true... and his other son runs deli bee in valois... the original pete's location, by the mayfair tavern.

                                                                                                                              Pete's is amazing... maybe better than Schwarts'. and you don't have to stand in the rain or cold to get a sandwich.

                                                                                                                              I do believe Pete has someone else smoke to his spec's

                                                                                                                              1. re: jeffdmtl

                                                                                                                                Does Deli Bee make their own smoked meat now(that's what they claim, when I went there a month or two ago)?

                                                                                                                          2. Tourist in town want smoke meat from the schwartz so we go to schwartz. I like the main better it's a salty thing for me.

                                                                                                                            BUT OH MY GOD OH MY GOS OH MY GOD

                                                                                                                            What happened at schwartz? The service sucked big time, they fucked up our order and one of our friends never got his plate so he cancelled his order as he ates his wifes okate since she had to much she said.

                                                                                                                            In the old days I like the waiters being rude and all but they delivered.

                                                                                                                            Smoke meat was the same as usual (to salty for me) and I had the liver steak that waqs to cooked when I asked medium. My choice is still MAIN steak house over SCHWARTZ.

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. Schwartz if I am around the main or Abie's in the West Island.

                                                                                                                              Meat texture is the same but Schwartz is more salty and abit more expensive than Abie's. I love Abie's for it large parking and modern and clean environment.

                                                                                                                              Every place else is overpriced, why settle for second best when the original costs less ?

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: EdT

                                                                                                                                I received another review by email today and it's on a joint I never heard off before
                                                                                                                                Can anyone tell me about this place

                                                                                                                                1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                  fedelst1 discusses Quebec Smoked Meat on this thread(near bottom of the thread) http://www.chowhound.com/topics/526634 They have been around a long time. Been there several times for their smoked meat, sometimes for their sausages.

                                                                                                                              2. I must admit that this long thread has been both educational and entertaining. For what it's worth, I truly believe that Smoke Meat Pete's is well worth the treck... It's never too far when what you get is the best. It is my true number one. Schwartz is a close second, but the service is well... What service? And Finally The Main is a very acceptable third. Think I'll be taking a little drive West this afternoon!!!

                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: uneroserose

                                                                                                                                  Pete's is the one... No super long lines... amazing little venue, Live Tunes!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jeffdmtl

                                                                                                                                    Why does everyone like Smoked meat Petes?? Its far away and from my one experience there it was awful. Schwartz is much better, even Abies.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jay_81k

                                                                                                                                      Was all the food awful at Smoke Meat Pete in your one experience there, or just the smoked meat? The only smoked meat establishment in Montreal that I've found always consistent with their smoked meat is the Snowdon Deli.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: jay_81k

                                                                                                                                        Im realy curious to know what happend at petes, abies - is disgusting, schwartz nly keeps its name because of how old it is

                                                                                                                                  2. Since this thread has returned to life, might as well add an update:

                                                                                                                                    As a former fierce defender of the Main, I'm sad to say it seems to have gone downhill. The meat is not bad, but lacks its former homemade character (backing up recent chatter about the Main having stopped smoking its own meat). It's not the slippery pink industrial product seen in third-rate places, though.

                                                                                                                                    The "super special" has also been changed so it's neither super nor special: price has gone up (IIRC it's $10 at lunch, $13 at other times), and the pickle and slaw portions roughly halved.

                                                                                                                                    The place has had a makeover, so it isn't particularly seedy anymore, for those who care about that sort of thing. They have also added various panini-type sandwich options.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr F

                                                                                                                                      The Main is still smoking its own meat, believe me I know

                                                                                                                                    2. Here's another vote for Smoke Meat Pete's. I haven't tried any other places yet, will have to try Schwartz's soon.

                                                                                                                                      1. I have not had a lot of smoked meat, but I on a trip to Montreal I made the trip to Schwartz's, did my wait on line, and was very disappointed. The meat was stringy and not very tasty. Also, the waiter flat out forgot three of our orders. Maybe I hit it on an off night. But I also noted that my fellow diners hardly seemed effusive. I recently had the smoked meat at Mile End in Brooklyn, and the meat there was better by a long way.

                                                                                                                                        31 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Danack

                                                                                                                                          Did you ask for the smoked meat medium-fat(or if not at least medium)? That's the key.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: BLM

                                                                                                                                            I had the medium; my wife had the lean. the lean was better, but still not great. Just OK.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Danack

                                                                                                                                              Usually its the other way around.... very strange

                                                                                                                                              1. re: kpaxonite

                                                                                                                                                Not strange if they have the entirely wrong idea of what good smoked meat is. Better smoked meat in the U.S.? "Stringy"? Yes, it is - I suspect that's a description of nice strands of fat marbled throughout.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Shattered

                                                                                                                                                  Does anyone know if Schwartz ships their smoked meat to the United States? Is it even possible to ship this across the border? I wanted to send some to Nashville TN.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: causeimhungry

                                                                                                                                                    > Does anyone know if Schwartz ships their smoked meat to the United States?

                                                                                                                                                    This has come up before and I think the consensus was that they don't ship to the US due to mad-cow beef restrictions, but it's probably best if you email or call them directly to get the most up-to-date info as these things change over time.

                                                                                                                                                    Tel.: (514) 842-4813
                                                                                                                                                    E-Mail: info@schwartzsdeli.com

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: causeimhungry

                                                                                                                                                      From mid-thread:

                                                                                                                                                      "If you are talking about schwartz, no they don't ship all over the world. Only in Canada and maybe in parts of the states."
                                                                                                                                                      - By maj54us on Feb 9, 2012 12:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                      re: maj54us
                                                                                                                                                      "how do you know? their website makes no reference to any limitations. why wouldn't they ship anywhere that ups/fedex can next day deliver to?"
                                                                                                                                                      - By BarackHObama on Feb 9, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                      re: BarackHObama
                                                                                                                                                      "Because I'm the god of the smoked meat and I say so! lol lol lol
                                                                                                                                                      I asked them, if you don't believe me maybe you should ask them next time you go there or call them and let us know what's the latest 411 on their shipping of smoked meat. have a good day."
                                                                                                                                                      - By maj54us on Feb 9, 2012 01:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                      I'm not sure the god of smoked meat is all-knowing...
                                                                                                                                                      Maybe, as kpzoo suggests, give 'em a call.
                                                                                                                                                      (maybe let us know as well)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                        I'll put my 2 cents.
                                                                                                                                                        Perhaps this thread should be closed since its 11 yrs old.
                                                                                                                                                        As for smoke meat...its all relative
                                                                                                                                                        Schwartz...IMO it not always consistent. I had a sandwich last week...it was border line bland. Good but felt let down at the same time.
                                                                                                                                                        Had the Main....I liked it a lot...nice and peppery.
                                                                                                                                                        Georges...honestly, I have never had a bad sandwich from there. Always consistent super tasty.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: satana_666

                                                                                                                                                          Maybe it should be closed, but causeimhungry posted here about 2 hours ago asking if Schwartz ships to the US. I think kpzoo and I were simply trying to help out....FWIT, we didn't even give an opinion...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                            Though the purists here will likely do a facepalm over this, Lester's Deli advertises on the radio about their outlet in the US terminal at Trudeau airport. According to the ads, they will sell a brisket to you vacuum sealed to bring with you to the States. Maybe they have special clearance setup because of their location in the terminal.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Haggisboy

                                                                                                                                                              I heard that commercial a few times and didn't make this connection.
                                                                                                                                                              I will tongue-in-cheek say that Lester's Deli smoked meat is so processed, the USDA welcomes it with open arms. {;-/)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                Lester on Bernard or Lester the company. 2 totally different entities. I hate both their meats.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                  "@maj54us - Lester on Bernard or Lester the company. 2 totally different entities. I hate both their meats."

                                                                                                                                                                  No winning with you. In any case, no, it's not the Lester's that you buy the supermarket hot dogs from. It's the deli on Bernard. And to further torment you, their website proudly proclaims that they will ship to the US. No need to even bother with going through customs to get to the kiosk in the US terminal at Trudeau airport. Here's the link for your torment. :-)


                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Haggisboy

                                                                                                                                                                    "No winning with you"
                                                                                                                                                                    He *is* the god of the smoked meat.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Haggisboy

                                                                                                                                                                      Torment?!?!?! Not at all. I answered about schwartz. Had no clue about lesters or any other smoke meat joint delivery in the states or elswhere.

                                                                                                                                                                      Don't like the tatse of the bernard Lester and with Le roi du smoke meat on St-Hubert the are the only two places that give me a heartburns.

                                                                                                                                                                      Spealing of smoke meat. SATAY away from Jarry smoked meat. Had to go there with a client and the meat we were served was kind of pale and tasted nothing like smoked meat but more like baloney. Literally baloney!!!!! I asked to have a sub instead.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: satana_666

                                                                                                                                                              @Satana: Unfortunately MAIN my favorite joint is also not consistent.

                                                                                                                                                              But big scoop, they don't have the same smoked meat as nefore. It is now supplied. But still like it because less salty than Schwartz for me.

                                                                                                                                                            3. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                              @Porker: They don't but since they've been bought by Celine and Rene, they might start shipping to Las Vegas.

                                                                                                                                                              I guess you didn't trust my answer. I'll quote again what you quoted

                                                                                                                                                              "I asked them, if you don't believe me maybe you should ask them next time you go there or call them and let us know what's the latest 411 on their shipping of smoked meat. have a good day."

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                Could we get a summary on who smokes their own meats in house these days. The posts in this thread seem to be all over the place and old.

                                                                                                                                                                We know Schwartz's smokes in house, who else?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe we could start a new thread for that? Whatcha think? Maybe we could try to make a newer thread overtake this 10+ year-old one when you do a search for "smoked meat" in the search box. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                                                                                                                                                    What about the nostalgia?

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                  Hi maj54us,
                                                                                                                                                                  Its not that I didn't trust your answer, I just like to question deities - haha.
                                                                                                                                                                  But the issue didn't seem clear or settled; you yourself said "...they don't ship all over the world. Only in Canada and maybe in parts of the states."
                                                                                                                                                                  *maybe* they ship to US?
                                                                                                                                                                  maybe they ship in *parts* of the US?
                                                                                                                                                                  Not a definitive answer, no? Kind of important as the poster wants to have it shipped to Tennessee. So I suggested, like you, like kpzoo, that causeimhungry give them a call. Maybe report back as well, so we'd all know.
                                                                                                                                                                  It wasn't a matter of trust.

                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think Rene will be shipping. He's in the planning stage of building a processing plant in Henderson just outside Vegas. It'll likely be staffed by underpaid immigrants making sub par, industrialized, mass produced, salty smoked meat.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                    When I checked last year the problem was with US customs seizing it because of mad cow! You could call Dunns and check with the owner. Elliot Klingman or his sister to see if this has been resolved!


                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DC10

                                                                                                                                                                      Here's confirmation 4+ years later (see discussion above from Nov 2007) that Pete's and Main are father and son.


                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                                                                        interesting and wellbalanced overview on a topic that can get heated! I dont even like it but did manage to enjoy the Pete smoked meat sandwich at a pirate festival, lol, in Old Montreal. Would never seek it out. My family doesnt like it either! But who knocks such a tourist attraction......

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                                                                          That's common knowledge, that they're father & son. It's often mentioned in pieces about Smoked Meat Pete.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                                                                              knew about Pete and Main but news to me concerning Delibee's. Will have to give them a try and see if he learned anything from his father.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                            porker I was pulling your leg ; ) lol

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the advice! I called Schwartz and unfortunately they don't ship anywhere in the United States.

                                                                                                                                                            4. Schwartz, for the meat and the experience, esp for a first-timer. Combine with walk along the funky Main (St-Laurent).

                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kebec1

                                                                                                                                                                Does Lester's on Bernard brine and smoke their own meats? Between this thread and a few others the message seems to be mixed. I gather from the texture that they use the mass produced stuff, a confirmation would be great.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                                                                  I went to Lester's for the first and last time a few weeks back. It was *worse* than the stuff in a grocery store. Seriously. Incredibly wet (like, soaking), bland, just gross. Could've been any no-name meat. And significantly pricier than Schwartz or the Main, with slow service to boot. How they have been in business all these years is beyond me. TERRIBLE.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Shattered

                                                                                                                                                                    Baffles me how lots of people like this sandwich. My mother and her friends love it. And they didn't like schwartz or main. Gues we can't judge other's taste buds. If they're happy good for them.

                                                                                                                                                                    Lesters on Bernard street and Roi du smoked meat on st-hubert street are the only 2 places that I will never try again. And It does taste like factory processed meat. But the king experience was Jarry Smoked meat near Langelier. It was kind of white color and tasted like balony. The table next to us even asked if it was smoked meat.

                                                                                                                                                                    The lastest discovery to me was Delibee's and I was happy about it. see delibee's thread for more info. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8340...

                                                                                                                                                                    To bad chow removed the mapping fonction and their database. One will have to create something on google maps and start the never ending job. I wish chowhound would made the data available.

                                                                                                                                                                    One must remember that depending how a smoked meat is cut and how it was steamed even schwartz or main can pass you a below par sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                      Delibee's has been discussed several times on this board over the years(so it's not a totally obscure place known only to West Islanders). Have you tried George's Deli in Laval for their smoked meat(another of very few delis in Montreal still making their own smoked meat). It's more of a obscure place, that's rarely discussed. Personally I like their smoked meat better than Delibee's(although I haven't been there in a couple of years).

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BLM

                                                                                                                                                                        For anyone with a car (and the interest) the address for George's is 3750 Boul. St-Martin Ouest. And for less mainstream smoked meat there's also Abie's on 3980 Boul Saint-Jean, Woot Smoked Meat in Vaudreil, Etingers in Lasalle, Quebec Smoked Meat on Centre Street in the Point among others.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EaterBob

                                                                                                                                                                          rumor mill is that main buy it's smoked meat from QSM. Difference is that the butcher shop at QSM doesn't steam the meat and they cut it on their slicer to make sandwiches. Great flavors nonetheless. I enjoyed my sandwich even if it was micro waved ?!?!?!?! Yes it was but was surprised with my first bite. it was actually good.

                                                                                                                                                                          I repeat myself but no matter where sandwiches can be a hit and miss. What I like at schwartz and main is that when the sandwich is not to your liking, you just ask the waiter and the change it right away. I always ask for a medium. Dry is a no no in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                            Well originally Smoked Meat Pete was getting their smoked meat from QSM(maybe made according to their specs). To my knowledge, Smoked Meat Pete still doesn't make their smoked meat.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                              Delibee's for a long time sourced their smoked meat from QSM, until they started making their own.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: BLM

                                                                                                                                                                            Maybe but when you do a search for the name (if spelled correctly) you only get 3 results. What makes this place obscure is the remote or should I say awkward area where it's located.

                                                                                                                                                                            I couldn't find it on my gps until I realized that the correct address is the one I have put in the delibee's thread. Then my GPS can find it but it takes a while to write it down. lol

                                                                                                                                                                            Tried George last summer and it was a disappointment. on the dry side even if I asked for a medium and the taste was nothing to write home about.

                                                                                                                                                                            If I compare the experience between Delibee's and George. It was a no contest win for Delibee's

                                                                                                                                                                            Until someone mentions that George is a better sandwich these days I won't give them a try again.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                              I think we need to multiple visits to George's & Delibee to be sure. I honestly was not impressed with Delibee's smoked meat on my last Delibee visit(that was about a year ago). Before that, on my previous visits to Delibee they weren't making their own smoked meat to my knowledge. My last visit to George's Deli was probably around 6 years ago(2 visits close together). And I find Schwartz's smoked meat not always consistently good(even when I asked for it medium-fat).

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                                Tried Ettingers Deli in Lasalle yet?

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Depanneur Charcuterie Lina, on Jolicoeur. NOT a depanneur :-) they are a family-owned charcuterie, and have a smokehouse in the back. They will make you a sandwich on the spot if you want. My husband and I usually order a kilo or 2 of their smoked meat, sliced, to take home. I have found it to be nice dry meat, well marbled with fat, and that's exactly the way I like it.

                                                                                                                                                                      Similarly, and close by on Monk, is Charcuterie Monk. Their product is very good too.

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LittleBee

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for these leads, LittleBee!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LittleBee

                                                                                                                                                                          ohh you got me hungry all of sudden. Anyone been there?

                                                                                                                                                                          DC Lina address
                                                                                                                                                                          1897 Rue Jolicoeur, Montréal QC, H4E 1X3 tel 514-766-8434

                                                                                                                                                                          I hate that the map feature is gone from this board. How am i going to plan my road trips now. Bring back the maps Chowhound!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LittleBee

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the tip! Will hafta check this out, then maybe swing by QSM for comparison. Do you know roughly the hours for either place?

                                                                                                                                                                          2. So... anyone been to the Main lately?

                                                                                                                                                                            My last time there, roughly six months ago, I was finally served the pink, rubbery, slimy crap that others had been complaining about for years but that I had somehow managed to escape until then. Have not returned, and doubt I'll have the smoked meat again if I ever do. However, I also tried le Roi du Smoked Meat last year (mainly because I wanted to see the decor up close -- had justifiably low expectations of the food) and the Main was still significantly better than that.

                                                                                                                                                                            My last Schwartz's sandwich was also less than spectacular, though still pretty good. Also sometime last summer or fall.

                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr F

                                                                                                                                                                              @MrFred: Anyone I know that asked for a dry smoked meat sandwich weren't happy with the texture. I always order medium. Some like them fat.

                                                                                                                                                                              Who serves your favorite smoked meat sandwich ?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                                I haven't tried all the places, and now only eat smoked met a couple of times a year, but for me it's still Schwartz's. Usually medium-fat, sometimes medium. I like the dryness of the classic "artisanal" smoked meat; it just means lean is off limits.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm just disappointed in the Main, because I defended the place for years, and then all of a sudden it was just as bad other people had been saying. But I still wonder whether the issue is that they've always had trouble being consistent, or that they now serve crappy meat routinely. Have you been lately?

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Mr F

                                                                                                                                                                                I was at The Main on Sunday, it was really good, was peppery and fatty, not slimey and wet. I prefer Schwartz, but I go to The Main when I'm in a group and we need space and time to linger. I've always thought it was good in it's own right, it just suffers by comparison (& proximity).

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Shattered

                                                                                                                                                                                  That's good to hear. So maybe my luck finally ran out and I simply ran into one of the bad days that have been happening all along.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree about space and time -- that's always been a big draw for me at the Main, along with the liquor license and bigger menu.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. Tried Le Roi du Smoked meat after reading this thread. Pretty industrial tasting. Not much grain to the meat. Had to hurry through it as the bread which bordered on a texas toast excuse for rye, was too light and got soggy quick. Pickles were good as was the slaw. Mayonnaise and ketchup were in packets which detracts from the diner experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'll only go back if I have to.

                                                                                                                                                                                Schwartz's reigns supreme.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tocino.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Like I keep writing over and over, Le Roi du Smoked Meat uses Coorsh brand industrial smoked meat. It's the same stuff you'll find at any greek deli in town. The texture is terrible. It's gelatinous and "wet" from the phosphates added to the cure. Seems people get the idea that because the place is called Le Roi that they are some sort of smoked meat reference. That couldn't be further from the truth.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                                                                                                    It really is that bad, and I don't remember anyone ever saying anything positive about it here.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess it has the saving grace of being open 24/7. Might be OK for a late-night snack of something other than smoked meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mr F

                                                                                                                                                                                      When I lived around the corner, I would sometimes pick up an after hours pizza, club sandwich or cheeseburger. They were all pretty decent. They actually make a pretty good Montreal-style pizza, but the smoked-meat couldn't be more generic.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Smoke Meat Pete was indeed pretty good but I'll take a veal sandwich from Slovenia any day of the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Professional_Amateur

                                                                                                                                                                                    Speaking as a Torontonian who absolutely craves smoke meat, the best sandwich I've had is from Pete.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Why? Unlike Schwartz's (the benchmark standard), Pete smokes over maple (and other?) wood, rather than just "smoking" their meat over gas jets. The texture of the meat is reliably tender and hand-cut, producing ultra-thin slices and thick hunky wedges of goodness in hte same sandwich. Plus, the cure they use tends to go on the sweeter side, which along with the maple smoke and the rubbing spices on the end, gives the meat a sweet-spicy taste that I can't find anywhere else in any other Montreal sandwich I've tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I can only dream that there's better than Pete's out there, and that whoever the sainted person is who can make it takes pity on we Torontonians and deigns to open a branch on this side of the 401. We really, really need it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know what you mean by "gas jets" at Schwartz. There isn't smoke without wood, so they must use some kind. As for Pete's, 'sweet' taste isn't what one should look for in smoked meat (that sounds gross, actually). Salty, MEATY taste and texture is, and that's why Schwartz is, as you say, the standard to beat.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Shattered

                                                                                                                                                                                        It's funny to think about, but next time you're in Schwartz's, take a deep whiff. You'll smell the awesome, fatty smell of meat, coriander, pepper and maybe Celine Dion's latest perfume- but what you won't smell is wood smoke. To my understanding, Schwartz's "smokes" their meat by putting it in essentially a low-temperature oven, and gets its smoky flavour from the fat of the briskets hitting gas flame underneath and vaporizing.

                                                                                                                                                                                        To even better illustrate the point- after you take a whiff of Schwartz's, head on over to Bofinger, where the entire joint reeks of wood smoke. The difference will be crystal clear.

                                                                                                                                                                                        As for whether Pete's sweet-spicy taste is "gross"; welp, guess there's no accounting for taste in smoke meat! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Shattered

                                                                                                                                                                                          Schwartz doesn't use any wood smoke.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: embee

                                                                                                                                                                                            what are you saying? Do they use those chemical liquid smoke? If so, this would be a scoop that could just destroy their reputation.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                                              No, they don't use liquid smoke and they don't use wood either. AFAIK, the smoke comes from drippings hitting some heated element, like the "flavorizer" bars on a gas grill.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                                                                                                                hmmmmmm great how toxic is that! Shocked and disapointed to hear this in a way. Was that the traditional way to do it 50 years ago?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think this is more toxic than smoke from wood chips. Also I think i read somewhere before that they smoke their meats for over 24 hours, but smoked meat never tastes smokey at all. I bet they do the drippings method maybe just for like half an hour and the rest is steaming

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ghostquatre

                                                                                                                                                                                                    S'not toxic at all- just a different kind of flavouring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    That said, after 4 some-odd hours in the smoker, the meat gets as smoky as it's going to get. At 24 hours of smoke for an ordinary double-brisket, you'd better be smoking at 160-175, otherwise you're gonna overcook the blessed thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ghostquatre

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Correct me if I'm wrong but steaming the meat is not part of the smoking or cooking process. Steaming is done as the last step before being served. The pieces of meat sitting in the display window at schwartz or main have not been steamed yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you do the test there's nothing more disgusting than eating a piece of cold smoked meat that spent the night in the fridge. Once you steam it, you get pretty close to the same texture as buying it freshly cut of the steamer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yup. It's certainly edible and very tasty after it's been smoked, but steam is required to get that tender texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. i've been down on the main but last night at 7pm, I shared a smoked meat platter and the meat was so tender, smokey, spicy and flavourful that I will never diss the place again. It was my born-again smoked meat moment.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: catroast

                                                                                                                                                                                          Where was that at the main or on the main? in another word at the S place or the M place?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: maj54us

                                                                                                                                                                                            at the main. it was so good the other day that i actually went back again last night (7pm again) but this time it was terribly dry and disgusting. i even told them but they did nothing about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: catroast

                                                                                                                                                                                              @Catroast: I know I did get that kind of annoying result at main and schwartz. a few times.

                                                                                                                                                                                              But please don't be shy and ASK them to give you another sandwich. Depending on the cut and what is left I noticed that no matter where you can get a off piece of meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Lester's my friend....Lester's.....

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. "You Gotta Eat Here" (Food Network) visited The Main on their most recent episode, they showed the process; it gets injected with salt/salt solution as it passes through a machine (in house), then the rub followed by the smoking process.

                                                                                                                                                                                            It also showed them making their own latkes and desserts too. They seem to use red fleshed potatoes for their french fries and latkes. I remember someone mentioning on this board that red potatoes are a no no for frying, IMO red and russets both make great fries and is what I use at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                                                                                              Red potatoes are generally waxy, but if their "aged" they'll develop more starch. Using these potatoes make for sweeter fries with a deeper brown colour. It's almost impossible to get really crispy fries with them, but it's a good choice for Quebecois style fries.