What Does Pastrami Taste Like?

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Are you a fan of sandwiches? Then you may have heard of Pastrami. It’s a beloved meat and a staple for various recipes. But if you have never tried it before, what does Pastrami taste like? Let’s find out.

What Does Pastrami Taste Like

Pastrami is a cured meat that is made from beef brisket. It tastes savory, salty, and smoky. Also, it has a bright, spicy taste as it is seasoned with a blend of spices, including garlic, coriander, and black pepper. It is then smoked and steamed until it’s tender and flavorful. 

In this blog, we will explore Pastrami in detail and explore everything you need to know about it. We will cover how Pastrami is cooked, what to pair with, and the surprising facts about Pastrami. So, let’s get started.

What Does Pastrami Taste Like?

What Does Pastrami Taste Like 1

Pastrami meat has a salty and spicy taste with a hint of smoky flavor. The spices used to make Pastrami includes black pepper, coriander, garlic, and mustard seed. You can also add paprika or cloves for extra flavor.

The meat of Pastrami is tender and easy to chew. The beef is sliced thin, which makes it ideal for sandwiches. You will find an excellent combination of flavors on your first bite of Pastrami. It’s pretty savory and salty. You will get a chewy texture and meat that is quite tender to enjoy. 

It was initially created in Romania and made with beef and spices. Jewish immigrants brought the recipe to the United States, where it quickly became a popular sandwich meat. 

When Pastrami is cooked, it takes on a lovely reddish-brown color outside. The inside of the meat is a rosy pink color.

Does Pastrami Taste Like Corned Beef?

Yes, Pastrami does have a similar taste to corned beef. These two types of meat are famous and made from beef brisket. 

Corned beef is made by curing beef brisket in a brine of salt, sugar, and spices for several days. The brining process gives the meat a salty and tangy flavor. The corned beef has a tender and chewy texture. 

Also, corned beef is boiled or simmered for a few hours until fully cooked and sliced thinly.

On the other hand, Pastrami is also made from beef brisket but undergoes a different preparation process. The meat is rubbed with spices, such as black pepper, garlic, and coriander, then smoked and steamed. 

This process gives the meat a smoky, spicy, and peppery flavor. Pastrami is also sliced thinly and paired with sandwiches.

So, yes, Pastrami does have some similarities to corned beef in terms of its texture and flavor. The only difference is that Pastrami is rubbed with spices, whereas corned beef is boiled in brine.

Does Pastrami Taste Like Roasted Beef?

Pastrami Slices Piled Up

No, Pastrami and roasted beef don’t share similarities in flavor. There are more differences between the two. So, let’s find out what kind of differences they have.

Beef TypeOriginDifferent CutsPreparation And Cooking TimeServingStorage
PastramiOrigin In RomaniaBeef Brisket5 – 7 daysSandwiches, Sauerkraut, Potato saladCan Refrigerate
Roasted BeefUKSirloin, triangular cut, prime rib roast, eye of round20 – 60 minutesRoasted thick slices with vegetablesCan Refrigerate

1. Origin 

Pastrami originated in Romania, whereas roasted beef is quite a popular option in South Africa and the UK. 

2. Different Cuts

For Pastrami, the beef cut used is from the beef brisket. At the same time, roasted beef is from different cuts of beef such as sirloin, the eye of round, prime rib roast, and triangular cut.

3. Preparation And Cooking Time

Pastrami requires a longer preparation process than roasted beef. The curing process requires several days for Pastrami, which is then smoked and steamed. 

In contrast, roasted beef can be seasoned and cooked in a matter of hours in the oven, making it a quicker and more convenient option for many home cooks.

4. Serving

Pastrami is served in sandwiches, sliced thin, and piled on the bread. It can also be done as a main dish, with sides like sauerkraut or potato salad. 

On the other hand, roasted beef is carved into thick slices and served as a main dish, with vegetables or mashed potatoes on the side.

5. Storage

Pastrami can be stored whole or sliced in the refrigerator for several days. It can also be frozen for longer-term storage. 

Roasted beef can also be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, but it is best to slice it just before serving to prevent drying.

Pastrami and roasted beef are delicious and versatile meats but have different preparation methods, serving styles, and storage requirements.

What Is Pastrami?

What Is Pastrami

Many people love enjoying Pastrami. It’s the most famous deli meat known for its bold flavor and delicious taste. It is made from beef brisket.

The meat is then coated in a spice rub, smoked, and steamed until tender and flavorful.

One of the reasons why Pastrami is so popular is because it has a unique taste with salty and savory flavors. It also has a nice texture that is both chewy and tender at the same time.

Why Is Pastrami So Delicious?

Pastrami is so delicious because of the unique combination of spices and curing process. The curing includes rubbing the meat with a blend of spices, such as garlic, black pepper, coriander, and paprika, and then letting it sit for several days. 

This process infuses the Pastrami with flavor and gives it its signature texture. Moreover, the meat is smoked by a particular smoker, which adds an extra layer of flavor. All of these elements create a unique and delicious dish.

What Meat Is Similar To Pastrami?

Pastrami is a cured, smoked, and spiced meat made from beef. It is similar in taste to corned beef. Like Pastrami, corned beef is a cured meat that comes from the brisket of a cow. 

However, the curing process for corned beef involves bringing the meat into a saltwater solution with spices like garlic, coriander, and peppercorns. This gives corned beef a different flavor profile than Pastrami. But you can still get a savory and meaty taste similar to Pastrami. 

Another option is Montreal smoked meat. This Canadian specialty is similar to Pastrami in many ways. It’s made from beef brisket, cured with a blend of spices, then smoked and steamed to perfection. 

Montreal smoked meat is sliced thin and served on rye bread with mustard, just like Pastrami.

Is Pastrami Safe To Eat Raw?

Pastrami Cut Slices

When it comes to Pastrami, it’s essential to know that it is a cured meat that undergoes a process of smoking and cooking. So, it’s recommended to eat something other than raw Pastrami.

This is because Pastrami is made from beef brisket, a tough cut of meat that requires a lengthy cooking process to become tender.

During this process, the Pastrami is heated to a high enough temperature to kill any harmful bacteria that may be present.

By any chance, if you were to eat raw Pastrami, you would risk ingesting harmful bacteria that could make you sick. 

Also, raw Pastrami will have a different flavor and texture than cooked Pastrami. The smoking and cooking process gives it its unique taste and flavor.

Ensure you always eat cooked Pastrami and be safe from harmful bacteria. 

Is Pastrami Healthy?

Although Pastrami is high in protein, it’s also high in sodium content. Because the salt is used during the curing process of the meat. A serving of Pastrami can contain more than half of your recommended daily sodium intake. 

Consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems, so limiting your intake of Pastrami and other high-sodium foods is best.

In addition to its high sodium content, Pastrami is also high in fat. Most of the fat in Pastrami comes from the meat itself. So, Consuming Pastrami daily can increase your risk of heart disease.

So, it’s always better to eat Pastrami in moderation. Also, balancing your meat intake with plenty of vegetables and other healthy food is essential. 

How To Cook Pastrami?

Pastrami Thin Slices On Chop Board

After reading so much about Pastrami, I know you want to make it at home. I have found a perfect recipe for Pastrami, so follow the simple steps below.

  • Start with trimming the excess fat off of the beef brisket. You want to leave a thin layer of fat on the top to keep the meat moist but remove anything more than 1/4 inch thick.
  • Mix the kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, coriander, mustard seeds, and allspice powder in a small bowl to create the dry rub for the Pastrami.
  • Rub the spice mixture all over the brisket, covering every side.
  • Place the brisket in a large zip-lock bag and pour in the water. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, but up to 48 hours. This allows the meat to absorb the flavors of the spices.
  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Add wood chips to the smoker box.
  • Remove the brisket from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Put the brisket on the smoker rack, fat side up, and smoke for four to six hours.
  • Once the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the brisket from the smoker and wrap it tightly in foil.
  • Place the wrapped brisket on a baking sheet and return it to the smoker.
  • Continue to smoke the brisket until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit. It will take two to three hours.
  • Remove the brisket from the smoker and let it rest in the foil for thirty minutes.
  • Slice the Pastrami against the grain into thin pieces and serve.

Culinary Uses Of Pastrami

Pastrami is a smoked and seasoned meat typically made from beef, although it can also be made from other meats like turkey or pork. It’s a popular ingredient in sandwiches but can also be used in various other dishes.

One of the most common ways to use Pastrami is in a Reuben sandwich. This classic sandwich typically includes rye bread, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and a generous helping of Pastrami. The combination of flavors and textures is heavenly!

Talking about pizza, well, Pastrami can be used as a topping for pizza. It pairs well with other savory toppings like onions, peppers, and mushrooms. You can even use it as a topping for breakfast pizza, eggs, and cheese.

You can layer it on a bagel or English muffin with eggs, cheese, and other toppings like avocado or tomato. It’s a delicious and satisfying way to enjoy breakfast.

You can also use Pastrami in pasta dishes, various appetizers, and mini sandwiches – endless possibilities. 

Facts To Know About Pastrami

You will be shocked to learn some exciting facts about Pastrami. So, let’s look at a few of them. 

  • Pastrami is often associated with Jewish delis, and it’s believed to have originated in Romania before being brought to the United States by Jewish immigrants in the late 19th century.
  • The word ‘pastrami’ is thought to come from the Romanian word ‘pastrama,’ which refers to meat preserved with salt.
  • New York City is particularly famous for its pastrami sandwiches, which feature thin slices of Pastrami piled high on rye bread with mustard and pickles.
  • Pastrami is also used in other dishes, like omelets, pizzas, and even sushi rolls.

Nutritional Content Of Pastrami

 The health benefits of Pastrami may have made you consider adding them to your diet. Pastrami is a healthy meat option and a good source of protein. 

Here are the nutritional values of 71 g of Pastrami.

Calories104 kcal
Fat4.1 g
Cholesterol48 mg
Sodium765 mg
Carbohydrates0.3 g
Sugar0.1 g
Protein15 g


I hope you found this article helpful. We learned that Pastrami is made from beef brisket, cured with a blend of spices, and then smoked and steamed. The result is a tender, juicy meat with a rich, smoky flavor that’s hard to resist.

Pastrami has a bold, savory taste and is an excellent addition to sandwiches, salads, and pizzas.

Throughout this blog, we have learned about the origin of Pastrami, how it’s made, and what it tastes like. We’ve also discovered some great ways to incorporate Pastrami into our meals. 

Regarding nutrition, Pastrami can be a good source of protein, iron, and other essential nutrients. However, it’s also high in sodium and fat, so it’s important to enjoy it in moderation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Pastrami, and what does it taste like?

Pastrami is a cured and smoked meat made from beef. It has a spicy, smoky, salty flavor and a tender, chewy texture.

What are the main ingredients in Pastrami that contribute to its taste?

The beef, curing spices like black pepper, coriander, and garlic, and the smoking process give Pastrami its unique flavor.

How can I enjoy the taste of Pastrami?

Pastrami is often enjoyed as a sandwich filling but can also be used as a topping for salads, pizzas, and other dishes. Some people even enjoy it on its own as a snack.

Are there any variations in the taste of Pastrami?

Yes, the taste of Pastrami can vary depending on the recipe and preparation method. Some pastrami may be milder or spicier, and the texture can differ. Pastrami can also be made from different types of meat, like turkey or pork, which can vary in taste.

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