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Posts Tagged ‘Pastrami’

Pastrami Dip Recipe


johnny2pngI first heard of, and experienced the “pastrami dip” at a West Los Angeles icon, Johnnie’s Pastrami, on Sepulveda near the Culver City border.  It’s a favorite corner of mine, also home to “Cinco de Mayo” (formerly Lucy’s #2)  a Los Angeles style Mexican fast food stand open all night.  I used to sit there in the middle of the night and write. Behind it is Tito’s Tacos, another local joint you’re bound to have to stand in line for. There’s a pretty fair pizza in the next block, as well. I like this corner so much, I have been known to hole up in a crappy  motel across Sepulveda for a weekend and indulge myself….on several planes.

There are a couple of different Los Angeles places that claim to have invented the “French Dip” a couple thousand years ago, and surely the pastrami dip is an off-shoot. You can sort out that whole “origin” thing at that online bastion of misinformation, Wikipedia, if you want, at their article on the French Dip.

Making the sandwich at home isn’t particularly challenging. Buy some high quality pastrami (high quality = at least $12 and up a pound), stuff it in a French roll, and prepare a dip.

Cheat on the dip by buying a packet of dry mix at the grocery, or beef bullion and adding (at least ) 5 cloves of garlic and simmering for an hour. Or the better way, deglaze a pan from a beef roast and make au jus from “scratch.’  My favorite way.

The Chicago version of the French Dip is called “Italian Beef” which is a marvel in itself. I’ve written a lot of posts on Italian Beef.

Johnnie's Pastrami

The Pastrami Dip

Pastrami Dip Recipe


Prima Della Pastrami Review (Wal Mart’s House Brand)


Prima Della Pastrami ReviewI’ve looked at several pastrami (and corned beef) brands recently, including the grocery store version of NYC’s  Carnegie Deli, Vienna Beef, from Chicago, and Dietz & Watson.

Today I picked up a pound of “Prima Della,” ($9.99) which is the Wal Mart deli counter’s in-house brand.

According to the USDA plant number on the package, the pastrami is manufactured by Best Provision, LLC, out of Newark, New Jersey.  According to their website, Best is a family owned and operated concern, more than six decades old, and they focus on private label manufacturing of cooked beef products.  For most of their products, they offer a choice of three different grades, “Certified Angus,” “USDA choice,”  and “ungraded.”

No idea which ilk of meat Wal Mart chooses for their selections.

Wal Mart deli meats are priced at 15-25% less than the ‘national brands,” and for some deli counter products, this might be OK.

While the Prima Della pastrami looks and smells like a quality product,  it’s one of those prepared meat products which really falls down on texture or “chewability.”  So many deli meats (and roasts, chickens, and pork roasts) today have that same texture, and it’s really started to bug me.  I have no idea what happens in the manufacturing process to cause this malady, but I suspect it has to do with that phrase one often sees emblazoned on packages (“injected with a XX% solution of XXXX”), which I generally believe is used to soften (and/or flavor) meat muscle and is most like a salt-derivative product, but it’s also a way for manufacturers to add 10% or more weight to their product at little or no cost.

I don’t like it.  In an effort to please the masses, food manufacturers are making products as  ‘palatable’  (and tender) as possible.  Hence, these products no longer taste or chew like animal flesh.  Think of brine injected meats as the Fox News of the meat manufacturing world.

For my money, I’ll keep spending the extra 20% or so to get whole muscle, no additive, deli meats.  While they are still being made.

Best Provisions LLC is located on Avon Avenue, right behind Millie’s Restaurant, which offers Spanish cuisine from 6 AM seven days a week, and free delivery, if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

Prima Della Pastrami Review

Best Provision Factory

Prima Della Pastrami Review

Aerial, Best Provision Factory

Prima Della Pastrami Review


Vienna Beef Corned Beef and Pastrami


Vienna Beef Pastrami ReviewIf you’re even an occasional reader of this site, you know two things for sure –  I have a diminishing interest in purchasing most ‘deli meats’ because of real or perceived notion they aren’t ‘real.’  By that I am generally referring to two things –  ‘roasts’ that are formed from meat and other ingredients into a shape that is easy for uniform slicing and appearance, and also the growing trend to enhance weight and flavor with injections of brine solutions, which I personally feel just ruins the texture of real meat muscle.

The second thing you would be aware of as a regular visitor here is that I am fond of the products made by Chicago’s premier hot dog manufacturer, Vienna Beef.  They make  great hot dogs, sausages, and a compliment of condiments.  So I thought I would try out their deli corned beef and pastrami.

In the deli counter, the roasts appeared to be whole muscle briskets.  The price currently exceeds $14 per pound.  Examining the ingredients, there does not appear to be any fillers or brine, and it looks like  a whole roast, when sliced, as the slices are not uniform in appearance, as far as both shape and fat content.  I inquired of Vienna about the composition and ingredients of these two deli products, but they did not reply.

I’m gonna guess, and hope, that they are whole muscle cuts.  My only reservation is the price, but all meats are stupid priced these days.  If you’re making an overstuffed sandwich, with 8 ounces of meat, it breaks down like this:  a pound each of pastrami and corned beef, roughly $31.  One half pound of cheese, $6.00.  Rye bread.  $3.  Sauerkraut $0.00, as I make it myself.   So $40 /  4 sandwiches?  $10 a pop.  Wow.

Course go to any large city deli, and the same serving will cost between $17 – $27.  Wow even more.  BTW?  You see the ‘iridescent’ quality in the top slice of meat below?  Over the past 20 years, I must have asked dozens of people what causes that, and never received a satisfactory answer.  Do you know?

Look for Vienna Beef products in your favorite grocery deli counter;  we have some great corned beef  whole brisket or slices from Omaha, and pastrami from the Bay Area’s favorite meat company, Saag, in our little store; for something a little different, try Montreal Smoked Meat.   Appreciate your reading and business.


Vienna Corned Beef Review

Pastrami (top) and Corned Beef Slices


Vienna Beef Review

Corned Beef & Pastrami Combo Reuben






Vienna Beef Corned Beef and Pastrami


Superior, WI – Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meat Review


Shorty's Pizza Superior ReviewIt’s always difficult to find the true origin of a local favorite;  I don’t think anybody has ever established where the first Coney Island style hot dog was created….or the first pizza place in the U.S……who created the Jucy Lucy in Minneapolis, the Italian Beef in Chicago, or the muffaletta in New Orleans.  Lots of places claim to be first in each of these categories.

The same goes for “Montreal Smoked Meat,”  a favorite in the Quebec city, similar to pastrami, but slightly different. Montreal Smoked Beef is prepared by salting and curing beef brisket with spices for a week, then hot smoking it before steaming it just before serving. The brisket is thin-sliced and usually served on rye bread with yellow mustard.  There are many different claims as to who originated the dish which was first offered up North around 1910.

Less than three hours from the Canadian border, the Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior (MN/WI) have been a hot  destination for the neighbors from the north for decades and decades, who visit for vacations, shopping, and healthcare.  Yet there has never been a local restaurant that serves Canadian specialties;  it’s kinda hard to even find Canadian beer.  Until now.

Located in Superior, WI, Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meat recently opened to offer the Twin Ports  Montreal specialties and other U.S. and Canadian favorites, including poutine, nearly the national snack dish of Canada.  Poutine is a bowl of fries, dotted with quality cheese curds, and smothered with brown gravy.

With all new construction and equipment, including 16 drink stations, the owners have made a big investment in the North end of Tower, and a commitment to “doing it right.”

“Montreal style” pizza is a slightly thicker crust and New York cut, something Northern Minnesotans aren’t used to.  Big hunks of fennel sausage decorated the pie, which was also ordered with pepperoni and onions.

The Montreal smoked meat sandwich was moist and full of flavor, as was the caraway rye it rested on.  Sandwiches are served with a pickle spear and slaw.

No complaints on the poutine, either,with ample-sized curds and house-made gravy.

On the beverage side, Shorty’s offers craft, domestic, and imported beers. Including a Canadian one or two.  Cocktails are available, and Jaeger mixes are featured.

Shorty’s is located on Tower Avenue in downtown Superior, and is open at 11 AM daily, with  menu specials and a soup of the day Monday through Friday.

Shorty’s Menu

Shorty's Pizza Superior Review

Sausage, pepp, onion pie

Shorty's Pizza Superior Review

Smoked Meat on Rye

Shorty's Pizza Superior Review


Shorty's Pizza Superior Review

Shorty’s Bar Area

Shorty's Pizza Superior Review

Pizza Ovens


Photos copyright 2014  Used with permission.

Shortys Pizza and Smoked Meat on Urbanspoon

Shortys Pizza and Smoked Meat Review

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