Montreal (OK, Schwartz's) Smoked Meat Recipe Wanted

Anyone ever try to make this? If so, does anyone have a recipe?

I haven’t been to Montreal since my college days, so the memory of Schwartz’s smoked meat sandwich, while fond, is dim.

I remember Schwartz’s as being phenomenally good. Better than Katz’s. Yes, if anyone has the recipe, please chime in.

I remember my father taking me to Ben’s. It was soooooo good!

I don’t recall ever having Ben’s.

As for comparing Schwartz’s and Katz’s pastramis, it has been too long since I last had Schwartz’s, but I do recall it enough to know that Katz’s is more like the pastrami that I used to eat in the delis of Pittsburgh when I was growing up. I miss the days when delis would have corned beef brining in barrels and fresh smoked pastramis (and fresh smoked lox) instead of the industrial stuff that most places pass off today.

Guess that I’ll wing it using a dry cure from Ruhlman’s book and add some spices. Hmmm, might as well cure some pork belly at the same time.

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This is a starting point. There was a more recent article, review in the Times…maybe last month.

I have made pastrami several times from scratch…an untrimmed, cryovacced brisket…and have once found and bought the navel, which is the “true” pastrami cut…much fattier, grissled and much more waste.

Having been to Schwartz’s a couple of times and Katz’s and Carnegie many many times…I think the main difference is that Schwartz’s uses brisket…a denser, less fatty cut…my efforts ultimately seem to be closer to that since I use brisket, for many reasons. It is harder to cure, but…true in taste, though leaner.

There are lots of recipes out there on the net. Maybe the owner of the place in Brooklyn is a good start…though I think a good pastrami recipe and a whole brisket will get you as close to Schwartz’s as you’re likely to get.

I prefer real pastrami…but…am thrilled with what I make at home.

The history of pastrami (an mix of various Jewish nationalities’ traditions that melted in the “pot” in the Lower East side when they all arrived in the very early 20th century) is fascinating. Save the Deli is a good start to reading about it and a fun read, though no recipes. Corned beef (which uses only brisket) is also a product of that same melt. People think the Irish created it, but it wasn’t part of any Irish tradition until they discovered it, too, in the same neighborhood in NYC, at the same time! That’s fact, apparently.

Good luck. A worthy effort, for sure.

P.S. And real “lox” is pickled, not smoked. and saltier…and that’s what most did until much much later. “Nova” is smoked, though.

I am really looking forward to finally learning how Schwartz’s does it. After we crack this secret recipe, we should go for the Colonel’s blend, and then on to Coca Cola.

Seriously though, there are other smoked meat recipes that are just as good (Dunns, Chenoys, The Main, etc). Just doing a Google search for recipes turns up a nice selection. This one sounds authentic to me. I am sure that each restaurant has their own blend of “pickling spice”, but I bet that the McCormick would do just fine.

Good luck and let us know how it turned out.

Though corned beef is brined, neither “real” pastrami nor the Montreal stuff is brined. Rather, a dry rub is applied and it cures for up to two weeks…depending. So, this recipe…won’t create Schwart’s…or most pastramis. Though some people say pastrami is just smoked corned beef…and use the corned beefs available in cryovac in supermarkets, it isn’t.


You are correct that a true pastrami is dry cured, not brined, but the end result is the same, cured beef, so I am not sure that makes a whole lot of difference. Ruhlman doesn’t seem to think so, since he brined the short rib that he pastramied. His reasoning is that a wet cure is less likely to have problems than a dry cure. The big differences are the smoking process, which also makes sense, since I seem to recall being told (many, many years ago) that that the word pastrami comes from the yiddish (and who knows where before that) for smoked meat, and the spicing.

I grew up in a family that was i the fish business, so yes, I know that smoked salmon is nova, not lox.

Anyway, thanks for the leads. As soon as I finish the short rib pastrami that I made (with a wet cure), and allow my blood pressure to recover from the salt (yum), I’ll start on a dry cured pastrami.

The Colonel’s is probably the last fried chicken that I would eat. I guess cracking the code makes sense just to make sure not to recreate it. Same for Coca Cola, unless you are talking the original recipe from the turn of the century, in which case i cannot justify the cost of the cocaine for a soft drink. Good luck to you on those. [wink.gif]