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What's the Difference Between Corned Beef and Pastrami?

What's the Difference Between Corned Beef and Pastrami?

After I made corned beef this past week, I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about it, other than the fact that it's absolutely delicious. What, exactly, makes it different from that other deli favorite, pastrami? Corned beef and pastrami are both beef cuts that have been cured and cooked. But that's where the similarity ends.

Although brisket is commonly used for both, corned beef can also be made from lean round, while pastrami can also come from navel (plate) and round. Corned beef is first soaked in a salt water brine with pickling spices, then boiled.

The process for pastrami varies widely, but in general, the meat is first cured with a spice rub or soaked in brine. From that point, it's encrusted in peppercorns, then smoked. The beef may be hot-smoked all the way through; if not, it is then steamed or simmered. Were you aware of the difference between the two? Which do you ask for on a reuben?

Got a burning question? Join the Burning Question group in the YumSugar Community! It's your place to post the most pressing questions about the culinary world.

Source: Flickr User Marshall Astor

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Spectra Spectra 6 years
I knew there was a difference, but I wasn't aware of what it was exactly. Thanks for the info!
simplyfab87 simplyfab87 6 years
My bf always gets corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. I asked him what the difference was once but he had no idea, now I know.
flyowsley flyowsley 6 years
Yes, my boyfriend has a smoker. He tried pastrami for the first time for our super bowl party. It turned out awesome!! He is going to try that Spanish ham that you had mentioned before (can't remember what it is called). Can't wait for that, thank you!! For now, I definitely prefer pastrami.
eastcoastgirl eastcoastgirl 6 years
Great info!
glowingoasis glowingoasis 6 years
neither! turkey reubens for me!
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