An Abomination Unto the Lord: The Pastrami Edition

We are damned apikorism (boldface mine):

It is possible to wander into Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co., a delicatessen and provisions shop that opened in June in the East Village, with expectations of nothing more than a good pastrami sandwich.

That sandwich is the obvious draw. Its slabs of meat are cut as thick as the September issue of Vogue.

That’s not a fucking pastrami sandwich, that’s a pastrami steak. The meat is supposed to be sliced thin, a couple of millimeters at most.

I’ve experienced this a lot at ‘nouveau kosher-style’ delis. It sucks. Stop it.

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7 Responses to An Abomination Unto the Lord: The Pastrami Edition

  1. Boooo! Only if they’re a page-thickness and add up to Vogue would this be acceptable!

  2. Sliced thin and piled high. I want a steak, I’ll go to a steak house. They need to go back to school.

  3. Will horowitz says:

    Hey Mad Mike!

    Not sure if you have any idea what your talking about here. Are you referring to store bought pastrami or the navel cut? Traditional goose pastrami? I use an extremely marbled cut of meat, it would simply fall apart at that sissy thin cut. As a chef, thin cut pastrami or brisket is a sign of weakness. It says, I didn’t cook this properly and the only way now it will be tender enough for you to eat is if I cut it paper thin because the elastin and other interconnective tissue hasn’t broken down enough. Have you actually had the pastrami at Harry & Ida’s or are you simply sitting around judging it based on a preconceived notion based on your past experience… We once thought the earth was flat. Maybe there’s a part of you that feels as though young new places such as mine just don’t get it, huh? In fact, I actually come from generations of doing this so maybe lets rethink that part too!
    Don’t go online and badmouth people’s hard work, specially if you haven’t given it a chance to be judged fairly even. It’s rude and sad as shit. Be cool moron! : )

  4. -dsr- says:

    The semi-educated commenter above is wrong as well as rude.

    The primary reason to slice pastrami paper-thin is not to tenderize it by premasticating the connective tissue, although that does happen. The reason is that surface area is maximized, thus maximizing flavor impact on the tongue and enabling rapid off-gassing of olfactory compounds to be sensed by the nose.

    • Gingerbaker says:

      No place for the flavor to hide (TM) ?

    • Will horowitz says:

      I’m sorry, am I being rude on a blog with a tag line “calling people fucking morons since 2004”. As well, one that feels okay with referring to my specific craft that he hasn’t actually tried as an abomination. Does creating a hypothesis on something you haven’t even tried included in your scientific method? I’m sorry, but I would highly argue that the surface area you are referring to does not make a single difference when the meat with as high of a water activity level as it has is compressed as it is on a sandwich. Secondly, the larger unsliced surface area of the flavor created by smoke and maillard process of the bark are giving you a tremendous amount more flavor than simply more surface area of the inner meat. But maybe it takes a actual chef over a biologist to tell you that. Let alone the fact that the “off-gassing” your reffering to is being created anyway simply by the ariation from the spaces between the protein fibers where the fat has broken down. have you ever had Texas style smoked brisket and received the “fatty cut” or reffered to as the decal or point (other states recooked to burnt ends)? Have you ever seen the generations of people in Lockhart cut it thinly? Do you think maybe there’s a reason for it that your unstudied science can’t seem to explain? Same, thing here but cured for three weeks first. Which is still pastrami… And if you don’t think so I challenge you to properly study up on the history of pastrami.

      Don’t be so quick to judge things as being bad, wrong or an abomination simply because they are new and different. I take no short cuts and put a tremendous amount of heart and sweat into the work I do. More than 98% of any surviving restaurant/delis out there as 98% buy pre-made pastrami. Including most of the famous ones you probably know.

  5. patrikdh says:

    Heh, not being jewish, I had no clue what “apikorsim” actually meant. It’s interesting to trace the term back to its etymology. It actually refers back to the Greek philosopher Epicurus, who thought the pursuit of pleasure was the greatest good, trumping arbitrary rules and laws imposed by society – which is of course why his name has been adopted as a term for “heretic, apostate” by Jewish culture.

    So yeah – “we are damned apikorsim” essentially translates to “we are damned Epicureans, seeking pleasure in food regardless of what tradition says pastrami should look like” 😉

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