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SteveW

Best corned beef in Montreal suggestions

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A friend was asking me not too long ago, where can I find the best corned beef sandwiches in Montreal. I'm clueless. Any suggestions?

-Steve


Edited by SteveW (log)

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Why eat corned beef when you can have smoked meat? The corned beef at Snowdon Deli is pretty good. But, again, why have it when smoked meat is available.

Porkpa

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Why eat corned beef when you can have smoked meat? The corned beef at Snowdon Deli is pretty good. But, again, why have it when smoked meat is available.

Porkpa

Duh, that's not his point. Why have any smoked meat when we have smoked turkey?

I would also like to know if we have pastrami here, or since everyone prefers smoked meat there is no corned beef and no passtrami!!

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This is a good thread! Forgive my ignorance - what is the differnece between pastrami and smoked meat and corned beef? I had a smoked meat at SHCWARTZ and it was OK, reminded me of the STAGE DELi in NYC but a little more heavy. Is it the same as hot pastrami?

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Why eat corned beef when you can have smoked meat?

Because they're not the same thing?

Smoked meat is made by dry-curing brisket with a spice rub that probably includes coriander, pepper, paprika, garlic and salt, after which it is smoked. Corned beef is made by brining brisket, flank or plate in heavily salted (and sometimes sugared) water, after which it is simmered for several hours in fresh water. Smoked meat and cabbage probably wouldn't hack it here and certainly not in New England.

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Why eat corned beef when you can have smoked meat?

Because they're not the same thing?

Smoked meat is made by dry-curing brisket with a spice rub that probably includes coriander, pepper, paprika, garlic and salt, after which it is smoked. Corned beef is made by brining brisket, flank or plate in heavily salted (and sometimes sugared) water, after which it is simmered for several hours in fresh water. Smoked meat and cabbage probably wouldn't hack it here and certainly not in New England.

Smoked meat is clearly not the same same as corned beef brisket, but can someone tell me the difference between smoked meat and (smoked) pastrami? The foodf network show on the Stage Deli tells us that the pastrami gets a slow simmering after it reaches the restaurant.

I haven't seen any definitive answer here, or in other threads, about what makes Montreal smoked meat so distinctive.

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Why eat corned beef when you can have smoked meat?

Because they're not the same thing?

Smoked meat is made by dry-curing brisket with a spice rub that probably includes coriander, pepper, paprika, garlic and salt, after which it is smoked. Corned beef is made by brining brisket, flank or plate in heavily salted (and sometimes sugared) water, after which it is simmered for several hours in fresh water. Smoked meat and cabbage probably wouldn't hack it here and certainly not in New England.

Smoked meat is clearly not the same same as corned beef brisket, but can someone tell me the difference between smoked meat and (smoked) pastrami? The foodf network show on the Stage Deli tells us that the pastrami gets a slow simmering after it reaches the restaurant.

I haven't seen any definitive answer here, or in other threads, about what makes Montreal smoked meat so distinctive.

Traditionally pastrami uses the plate cut, while Montreal smoked meat uses the brisket cut(although some pastrami is made with brisket). Plate & brisket are similiar cuts. Plus the spices are different for pastrami & smoked meat. I have a feeling corned beef could be slightly different in different parts of the world(just a guess).

-Steve


Edited by SteveW (log)

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Why eat corned beef when you can have smoked meat? The corned beef at Snowdon Deli is pretty good. But, again, why have it when smoked meat is available.

Porkpa

Originally the question didn't come from me(a friend asked me). Until now, I hadn't sought out corned beef in Montreal. Now I'm curious what's available here.

-Steve

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As I said originally, the corned beef at Snowdon Deli is pretty good. I haven't had it anywhere else.

Porkpa

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Why eat corned beef when you can have smoked meat?

Because they're not the same thing?

Smoked meat is made by dry-curing brisket with a spice rub that probably includes coriander, pepper, paprika, garlic and salt, after which it is smoked. Corned beef is made by brining brisket, flank or plate in heavily salted (and sometimes sugared) water, after which it is simmered for several hours in fresh water. Smoked meat and cabbage probably wouldn't hack it here and certainly not in New England.

Smoked meat is clearly not the same same as corned beef brisket, but can someone tell me the difference between smoked meat and (smoked) pastrami? The foodf network show on the Stage Deli tells us that the pastrami gets a slow simmering after it reaches the restaurant.

I haven't seen any definitive answer here, or in other threads, about what makes Montreal smoked meat so distinctive.

Traditionally pastrami uses the plate cut, while Montreal smoked meat uses the brisket cut(although some pastrami is made with brisket). Plate & brisket are similiar cuts. Plus the spices are different for pastrami & smoked meat. I have a feeling corned beef could be slightly different in different parts of the world(just a guess).

-Steve

But is there a taste difference? Which is better?

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Why eat corned beef when you can have smoked meat?

Because they're not the same thing?

Smoked meat is made by dry-curing brisket with a spice rub that probably includes coriander, pepper, paprika, garlic and salt, after which it is smoked. Corned beef is made by brining brisket, flank or plate in heavily salted (and sometimes sugared) water, after which it is simmered for several hours in fresh water. Smoked meat and cabbage probably wouldn't hack it here and certainly not in New England.

Smoked meat is clearly not the same same as corned beef brisket, but can someone tell me the difference between smoked meat and (smoked) pastrami? The foodf network show on the Stage Deli tells us that the pastrami gets a slow simmering after it reaches the restaurant.

I haven't seen any definitive answer here, or in other threads, about what makes Montreal smoked meat so distinctive.

Traditionally pastrami uses the plate cut, while Montreal smoked meat uses the brisket cut(although some pastrami is made with brisket). Plate & brisket are similiar cuts. Plus the spices are different for pastrami & smoked meat. I have a feeling corned beef could be slightly different in different parts of the world(just a guess).

-Steve

But is there a taste difference? Which is better?

It's a matter of taste which is better. I've heard some people say pastrami is better, while I've heard some other people say smoked meat is better(from the people who have tried the best of both). However many people in Montreal diss pastrami. From what I gather, the difference in taste between pastrami & smoked meat is minimal. They both have Eastern European origins.

-Steve

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As I said originally, the corned beef at Snowdon Deli is pretty good. I haven't had it anywhere else.

Porkpa

I went to Snowdon Deli yesterday, to try their corned beef. I found it very good. Went to Snowdon Deli many times before, & never noticed they had corned beef(never looked out for it until yesterday). It's not as heavily spiced as their old fashioned smoked meat. Otherwise to me, their corned beef tasted similiar to smoked meat. I asked the Snowdon Deli counter person, what's the difference between smoked meat & corned beef, & he quickly responded corned beef is pickled(instead of dry-cured.

-Steve

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How come we don't call it corned meat or smoked beef?

Good point.If ya ever down to St.Johns' NFLD try the boiled corned beef with peas

pudding.Can be found in most pubs,but on a cold windy day,its the best comfort food you can never beat!

Another "corned"item" we used to eat in the maritimes was "corned pork necks"

Anyone ever tried that?

Just to add another note to the topic,do you think that Schwartz's smokes their briskets,thus giving it the name Smoked Meat?

Perhaps it was years ago,but I think thay have since changed.Doesn't matter,its good whatever they call it.

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It's a matter of taste which is better. I've heard some people say pastrami is better, while I've heard some other people say smoked meat is better(from the people who have tried the best of both). However many people in Montreal diss pastrami. From what I gather, the difference in taste between pastrami & smoked meat is minimal. They both have Eastern European origins.

-Steve

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I have heard many Montrealers, stuck in Toronto, dissing pastrami, and also our bagels, sometimes even New York bagels.  I think there is a bit of inferiority complex here, and there, as everyone wants to meet or exceed the New York Deli standard.

Feel free to speak for Toronto but you're way off base describing Montrealers thusly. Chauvanism? Sure. Inferiority complex? No way.

First off, Montreal bagels are demonstrably superior to NY's, not to mention Toronto's also-rans. (I say this is someone who grew up eating NY-style bagels and who still eats them whenever I'm in the vicinity.) Yeah, you can claim they're different animals and each is good in its own way, and you'd be right. But forced to choose only one for the proverbial desert island, a majority — probably a vast majority — of foodies would opt for Montreal's finest. But, hey, don't take my word for it. Next time you're at the St-Viateur bagel factory, spend a few minutes perusing the wall of newspaper and magazine clippings: food critics from the world over (well, OK, the Eastern Seaboard over) agree on the superiority of the product. Heck, some of them even wax poetic about the Old World connection, the wood-fired oven, the irregular shape, the crumb, the perfect dosing of honey and seed. And name me one NYC or Toronto bagel shop that has a novel named after it.

I'd also bet that most Montrealers don't feel an inferiority complex in the smoked meat vs. pastrami shootout, if for no other reason than most of them don't give pastrami a second thought. In fact, I doubt the majority of native smoked meat eaters — francophones, you know — have knowingly eaten pastrami. And those who have tend to prefer the taste they grew up with, hence the dissing. (Personally, I think both pastrami and smoked meat are a waste of good brisket.)

And, by the way, I've never heard any Montrealer claim that our deli scene, even in its heyday, begins to approach the New York standard. It's just that Montrealers know their local versions of those two deli staples, bagels and smoked meat/pastrami, are second to none, and they're proud of it. And, yeah, a little smug, too.

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How come we don't call it corned meat or smoked beef?

Good point.If ya ever down to St.Johns' NFLD try the boiled corned beef with peas

pudding.Can be found in most pubs,but on a cold windy day,its the best comfort food you can never beat!

Another "corned"item" we used to eat in the maritimes was "corned pork necks"

Anyone ever tried that?

Just to add another note to the topic,do you think that Schwartz's smokes their briskets,thus giving it the name Smoked Meat?

Perhaps it was years ago,but I think thay have since changed.Doesn't matter,its good whatever they call it.

According to legend, Montreal smoked meat was created by Ben's Delicatessen in 1908. Not sure if it's totally accurate.

-Steve

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Getting back to the original question!

Corned beef in Montreal is not as commonly ordered and available as smoked meat. Smoked meat is available in almost every local restaurant/deli across Montreal and beyond. South shore Laval, etc.... I cannot even be sure were they sell corned beef. I think The Main might serve it.

As for pastrami, as a Montrealer the Pastrami I have seen is near me is bland salty bags of water. Always from crayovaced water filled brine injector junk.(In Montreal like most smoked meat but worse). This does of course not include any NY deli, I have not been.

Corned beef is a broad topic because many maritime communities, Newfoundland, Caribbean countries have their own version. But we are most likely thinking of the corned beef that is seasoned like smoked meat but not smoked.

My preference is smoked meat the natural stuff that is not found every where.(I have no idea where to find real smoked meat/pastrami in TO.)

I make corned beef at home. I definitely like to use the brisket. The name of the cut that they use in NY can be confusing because different regions use different names for the same cut. For brisket People differentiate between the 2 muscles in a brisket. You need both, one for the lean and one for the fat.

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Getting back to the original question!

Corned beef in Montreal is not as commonly ordered and available as smoked meat.  Smoked meat is available in almost every local restaurant/deli across Montreal and beyond. South shore Laval, etc....  I cannot even be sure were they sell corned beef.  I think The Main might serve it.

I've checked at The Main, they don't carry corned beef.

-Steve

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A traditional corned beef is a brisket that is pickled and then braised or boiled till tender. Once done cooking it's often left to cool in the broth. I've seen bottom round roasts and eye round roasts that are pickled and passed off as corned beef, but the texture and fat content are clearly different.

A pastrami is usually the plate (as mentioned above). This cut is the boneless version of short ribs removed in roast style (one piece). The pastrami is usually pickled (brined) like a corned beef, but then let air dry for some time (maybe a few days) and then smoked. BTW, smoking as used for the pastrami and smoked meat is actually a very long process of cooking the meat at about 250 F until tender. The long, slow process allows the collagen in the tissue to disolve making for that tender result for a usually tough cut of beef. The pastrami has a very different texture than smoked meat, and is usually seasoned more strongly. By different texture I mean that it's usually cut very thinly on a slicer, and not hand cut like smoked meat.

Smoked meat is a brisket that is seasoned with a dry rub, and then cooked very slowly (as pointed out above) until tender. Here in Montreal, it's sliced by hand across the grain, and tends to have a coasrse texture. It's seasoned less than a pastrami, but more than a corned beef.

As to which is better.... well... it's a question of taste. I really enjoy a good corned beef sandwich, and I love Schwartz's. I also make my own smoked meat which I think compares favorably, when I'm not in Montreal (I live in Pennsylvania). I find pastrami a little strong for my tastes, but my wife loves it.

If you're interested in learning about smoking meat.... check out the forums at Big Green Egg. There's a great bunch of very knowledgable people who hang out there, and are always willing to answer a question, or give a recipe.

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A traditional corned beef is a brisket that is pickled and then braised or boiled till tender.  Once done cooking it's often left to cool in the broth.  I've seen bottom round roasts and eye round roasts that are pickled and passed off as corned beef, but the texture and fat content are clearly different.

UmConumdrum - let's be clear. Corned beef is BRINED and then smoked, not pickled. Pickle = the final act of preservation before eating. Brining is a pre-cooking preparation.

Also, let's be serious - smoked meat and psatrami have TOTALLY differing amounts of fat. Pastrami is ALWAYS lean.

Sorry if my english is not perfect i am asking my husband to proofread!!!

Also, for the fact finders. Pastrami is the same as BASTURMA in Turkey and the other countries in the region. It is the only one of the bunch that can be halal!

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Corned beef is BRINED and then smoked

Traditional corned beef is not smoked. Nor, as claimed upthread, is it spiced (though there may well be people who add spices to the brine). Normally, after brining it is rinsed well and long simmered in fresh water, the best way to rid it of some of its salt.

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Corned beef is BRINED and then smoked

Traditional corned beef is not smoked. Nor, as claimed upthread, is it spiced (though there may well be people who add spices to the brine). Normally, after brining it is rinsed well and long simmered in fresh water, the best way to rid it of some of its salt.

Carswell, the corned beef that you describe here I've tried before years ago, at someone's home(several times actually). The corned beef that I tried at Snowdon Deli earlier this week was a very different animal(tasted very similiar to their smoked meat, but not their old-fashioned smoked meat). I'm not 100% certain, but I believe Snowdon Deli told me, that their corned beef is pickled & then smoked.

-Steve

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Suckles,

You say "pastrami is always lean". Nothing could be further from the truth!! Any afficionado knows that the best pastrami always has a degree of fat - in some cases a lot more than little. Katz's delicatessen in Manhattan is more often than not considered the "ne plus ultra" of quality pastrami. You can order it lean or extra lean there, but neither the meat slicers nor the customers will recommend that you do so. Even at Katzs', a degree of fat adds to the overall taste.

Porkpa

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Traditional corned beef is not smoked. Nor, as claimed upthread, is it spiced (though there may well be people who add spices to the brine). Normally, after brining it is rinsed well and long simmered in fresh water, the best way to rid it of some of its salt.

Carswell, the corned beef that you describe here I've tried before years ago, at someone's home(several times actually). The corned beef that I tried at Snowdon Deli earlier this week was a very different animal(tasted very similiar to their smoked meat, but not their old-fashioned smoked meat). I'm not 100% certain, but I believe Snowdon Deli told me, that their corned beef is pickled & then smoked.

There's a pizzaria in the nabe that serves chopped romaine with ranch dressing, croutons from a box and bacon bits, all topped with — depending on the "chef"'s whim — grated mozzarella or "parmesan" from a can. They call it caesar salad but that doesn't mean it's the genuine article.

Corned Beef again surfaces in writings from the late 1600's as a specialty, a costly delicacy - expensive because of the salt - and made to be eaten at Easter, and sometimes at Hallowe'en. Surprising to this writer, was learning what the term "corn" really means. The name comes from Anglo-Saxon times when meat was dry-cured in coarse "corns" of salt. Pellets of salt, some the size of kernels of corn, were rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it. Today, brining -- the use of salt water -- has replaced the dry salt cure, but the name "corned beef" is still used, rather than "brined" or "pickled" beef.

But back to the myth: It was in the late 19th century that it began to take root. When the Irish emigrated to America and Canada, where both salt and meat were cheaper, they treated beef the same way they would have treated a "bacon joint" at home in Ireland: they soaked it to draw off the excess salt, then braised or boiled it with cabbage, and served it in its own juices with only minimal spicing - may be a bay leaf or so, and some pepper.

- Corned Beef and Cabbage – The Feeding of a Myth

To corn, rub with salt:

A 4 lb. piece of beef: brisket, flank or plate

Put it in an enameled pot or stone jar, covered with a supersaturated solution of:

4 quarts hot water

in which:

1½ lbs. salt

(½ lb. sugar)

has been dissolved. Let it cool. Cover and weigh it so that the meat is submerged in the fluid. It will be corned in 48 hours.

- The Joy of Cooking (1964 edition)

Corned beef is beef that is first pickled in brine and then cooked by boiling. Usually, cuts of meat are used that feature long muscle grain, such as the brisket.

[...]

19th century corned beef recipe

    * Fifty pounds (23 kg) of beef

    * Three pounds of coarse salt

    * One ounce of saltpetre

    * Three-quarters of a pound of sugar

    * Two gallons of water

Mix the above ingredients together and pour over the meat. Cover the tub closely.

- Wikipedia: Corned beef, which bizarrely defines pastrami as New York style corned beef and smoked meat ("less commonly smoked beef," cook-em-all!) as Montreal style corned beef

Cured meats (scroll to bottom for "deli style" corned beef recipe, which includes spices but is not smoked.

Google "corned beef" recipe and you'll get tons of hits. Wade through the results, eliminating those that use corned beef (e.g. corned beef hash, corned beef pizza) and focusing on those for making corned beef, and a few things become clear. First, traditional (Irish/English) corned beef is made with salt, saltpetre, water and sometimes sugar, though modern recipes often include bay, garlic and mild spices. Second, for deli or Jewish style corned beef the spices and sugar are really ramped up and the brine sometimes includes vinegar. Notwithstanding Wikipedia's odd definition, few if any recipes involve smoking the brisket (actually, none of the 20 or so I looked at did).


Edited by carswell (log)

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