Did you know that pastrami has its own special day? Yup. January 14 is National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day. While you might be surprised to learn a sandwich meat would be deserving of a special day, to its fans, pastrami is definitely worthy of this type of star treatment. But what exactly is pastrami? Is it beef? Is it pork? Many people have no clue exactly what this deli meat really is.
Before there were refrigerators, your ancestors had to find ways to preserve their excess meat. While a chicken could be eaten in one meal, a larger animal, such as a cow, could take a while to consume. One of the methods that was utilized was to use salt to kill bacteria in the meat. In the case of pastrami, the first step is to create corned beef or turkey by soaking the meat in a brine solution, which usually also contains other seasonings. The meat was then allowed to dry.
When this cured meat is boiled, it is known as corned beef, but when it is smoked, it is called pastrami. Another difference? Pastrami is sometimes rubbed with a blend of spices before it is smoked, which you can often see ringing the outside of a slice of this deli meat. These spices might include garlic, black pepper, mustard seed or coriander. Corned beef, on the other hand, never has a coating.
Pastrami is first believed to have arrived in the United States via Romanian Jewish immigrants in the late 19th Century. Although called pastirma at the time it arrived in the States, its name was eventually changed to pastrami -- some believe to make it sound more like the already popular deli meat, salami. In the Old Country, pastrami was typically made with goose meat, which was inexpensive there. But in America, it was much cheaper to use the navel end of a beef brisket, which then became the meat of choice for pastrami making. And because turkey is considered healthier than red meat, it has become a popular variation for pastrami today.
A New York Special
It is believed that the first pastrami sandwich was created by a butcher in New York City in the 1880s. The sandwich was so popular that the owner of the butcher shop decided to turn it into a restaurant dedicated to this yummy concoction. Eventually, pastrami became synonymous with both New York delis and the Jewish community.
Popular Pastrami Sandwiches Today
Of course, pastrami is still very popular in sandwiches today. The most common way this deli meat is served is sliced thin and served on rye bread with a Russian dressing. Sometimes, it is served with the coleslaw in the sandwich, which is then called a Rachel. This is a play on the Rueben sandwich, which typically consists of rye bread, corned beef and sauerkraut.
Some regions of the country have created their own take on their pastrami sandwiches. In Salt Lake City, for example, locals like to top a hamburger with this deli meat. Still other people enjoy slipping a few slices of pastrami into a grilled cheese sandwich.
Pastrami can also, of course, be dressed up. It was, in fact, considered a high-priced delicacy when it was first sold in Jewish delis, according to Public Radio International. It was not until later that pastrami became an inexpensive choice for the masses. Today, some restaurants, for example, have fancied up the pastrami sandwich by serving it with a pesto sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese.
However you choose to enjoy your pastrami, this deli meat is a tasty treat that is popular with many people today. It's no wonder that it has earned its own day of honor.Share
20 April 2016
After I was diagnosed with a slow metabolism, my doctor told me that I needed to pay closer attention to what I was eating and how I was cooking. I started reading more and more about different cooking methods, and I was even able to take a local cooking class to help me to learn how to cook better. It was amazing to see the difference that proper eating made in my life. I found myself happier, healthier, and more energetic. This blog is dedicated to helping people to eat a little healthier at home, so that you can enjoy the lifestyle you deserve.