Save the Deli

The Great Pastrami/Smoked Meat Experiment on eGullet

The Kenny & Zuke’s posting generated a tremendous amount of traffic, especially from the Pacific Northwest, but also locally. People are genuinely excited when new delis open, as the sad sight of delis dying out is often a more common occurrence.

One of the most enthusiastic responses I received was from “Embee”, here in Toronto, who eluded, in a somewhat cryptic way, to posting on the eGullet foodie messaging group about Pastrami and Smoked Meat recipees. I pressed him for more info and he sent the link, along with a story about how he cures and smokes his own meat AT HOME. Talk about a love of the deli. Thanks “Embee”!

2 things:

1. The message board Manny sent me is called “The Great Pastrami/Smoked Meat Experiment”. It consists of 230 posts back and forth from several deli lovers around the continent, who share their recipees and methods for making smoked/cured deli meats. This is an incredible resource. If you ever considered experimenting with homemade deli, here is where you should start. And for those who prefer your deli eaten at a delicatessen, this is the best way to answer all the mysteries floating inside your head.


2. Send me your stories about homemade deli experiments. Let’s get the ball rolling on methods and madness. Link to photos on Flickr or other sites. I want to see your meat folks! Show me what you got.

8 Responses to “The Great Pastrami/Smoked Meat Experiment on eGullet”

  1. extramsg Says:

    btw, I actually changed our recipe based on their feedback. Those LTH folks are hardcore Chicago foodies.

  2. extramsg Says:

    I should add one more thing. It’s not hard to make pastrami at home if you have a smoker of any kind. You can start with grocery store uncooked corned beef. You have to rinse it well. A couple submerged in cold water a couple times will do it. (Boiling corned beef reduces the saltiness, but smoking it increases the saltiness.) Then you just have to smoke it. I’d suggest smoking it to about 180 degrees, then steaming it to just tender. You want it tender enough that it can be sliced about a quarter inch thick, but not so tender that it just falls apart. I’ll give you a hint for telling good pastrami from mediocre: the mediocre places slice super thin, like Carnegie, because they haven’t taken the care to make theirs tender enough that they don’t have to. They’re cheating!

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