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Trivia: What is Pastrami?

What is pastrami?
Turkey Pastrami

Pastrami is not a particular kind of meat! It is a way of preparing meat. The spicing and drying was a way to preserve meat before refrigerators.

Raw pork, mutton, beef brisket or round, or turkey meat is brined, spiced with garlic, coriander, black pepper, paprika, cloves, allspice, and mustard seed, smoked and then steamed.

The Turkish word for wind-dried pressed meat is “bastırma”. It was called “pastrama” in Romania. In the mid 1800s, more than 75,000 Jews immigrated to the United States, most landing in NYC.

“Pastrama”, made from goose meat,  was a common food among Romanian Jewish immigrants. Beef cuts were less expensive, so the recipe was altered to make beef pastrami.

It is thought that “pastrama” was changed to “pastrami” to rhyme with “salami”.