is a popular deli
meat made from (chiefly red) meat. The raw meat is salted
(infused in a thick brine), then dried, seasoned with
various herbs and spices (such as garlic,
Aside from the pepper and smoking, it is similar in
process and flavor to Corned
beef. In the United
Kingdom and the United
States beef is used and the meat is boiled after the
salting stage. Recently, turkey pastrami was produced in
the United States.
The etymology is
pastramă, probably from the verb a păstra
(to preserve, to keep), being brought to the English
language via Yiddish.
Early references spelled "pastrama", while its
current form is associated with a Jewish
store selling "pastrami" in New
York City in 1887.
It is likely that this spelling was
introduced to sound related to the Italian salami.
Another theory (as it is argued in this Ladino
text asserts that it is a variant of Turkish
or basturma, which is a Middle Eastern dried meat,
usually made with veal.
In the original
Romanian tradition, sheep meat was used, but over time
pork became the prevalent choice. Romanians distinguish
between different kinds of pastrami, depending on the meat
used. When not specified, pork is implied.
In the United
States, however, beef pastrami is by far the most common
form, made from the brisket.
It usually is
served as a cold
cut on a sandwich, but it can also be heated and
served as a side dish. One such example is fried pastrami,
with corn polenta and green onions.
New York pastrami was made from the navel end of the
brisket, which contains considerably more fat than the
chest area. It was typically served hot in a rye
bread sandwich, often with cole
slaw and Russian
dressing. In recent years, this version of pastrami
has become much harder to find.