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Best corned beef in Montreal suggestions


SteveW
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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

Snowdon Deli on Decarie corner Isabella has corned beef but I would not be able to comment if it is "the best". I've always enjoyed it more than their smoked meat.

But can you also get a smoked meat & a pastrami sandwich so you can report back to this board your findings?

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Any good Irish Bars/Restos serving Corned Beef and Cabbage in Montreal?

In SF I have a couple of Irish bars that serves it with boiled potatoes (or mashed) and carrots and/or peas, and of course a mound of sweet cabbage, with plenty of mustard and white sauce it leaves the "deli" smoked meats etc far behind.

Supposedly there were (are?) a lot of Irish folks in Montreal ..... How the heck did the "Smoked Meat" become anything of interest here, not exactly French either....

In SF my Italian butcher from time to time makes Corned beef, mighty fine boiled until tender.

And "smoked" it ain't.

Any butcher in Montreal that makes it?

Edited by sf&m (log)
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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

Snowdon Deli on Decarie corner Isabella has corned beef but I would not be able to comment if it is "the best". I've always enjoyed it more than their smoked meat.

But can you also get a smoked meat & a pastrami sandwich so you can report back to this board your findings?

Poutine, I have the feeling the pastrami sandwich you are talking about, is what they also call their regular smoked meat(a couple of eating establisments in Montreal, also call their regular smoked meat 'pastrami'). I checked very closely their menu of sandwiches, when I tried their corned beef last week, & I didn't see pastrami listed(if I saw it, I would also ordered it). Snowdon Deli carry both regular & old fashioned smoked meat(their old fashioned smoked meat is not actually listed on their menu). I find the Snowdon Deli smoked meat(old fashioned & regular), the best in the city. As I said last week, their corned beef is also very very good.

-Steve

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Supposedly there were (are?) a lot of Irish folks in Montreal ..... How the heck did the "Smoked Meat" become anything of interest here, not exactly French either....

Interesting question...I would guess that the answer lies in the Irish immigrants being largely assimilated into the French Canadian working class without developing much of a public culinary culture. (Though they probably did contribute to working-class Québecois cuisine -- e.g. weren't they the originators of pâté chinois?).) AFAIK, today's Irish pubs have little or nothing to do with the mass of 19th century Irish arrivals here. Some of those pubs may serve corned beef, but I have no idea which ones do. Check the Old Dublin, perhaps.

Eastern European Jews, on the other hand, were also low on the economic ladder but did bring/develop a significant deli/lunchcounter culture. They came more recently than most of the Irish, and didn't assimilate nearly as much. Hence the persistence of smoked meat.

Edited by Mr. Fagioli (log)
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Also, as the "Corned Beef and Cabbage – The Feeding of a Myth" article I linked to above points out, CB&C is more American than Irish, as is implied by the dish's other common name: New England boiled dinner.

There is also the Newfoundland variation called Jiggs Dinner.

Salt beef ( a crude, very salty corned beef, bone in) is simmered with cabbage, carrots, parsnip, turnip, and potatoes. They like it very salty, but if this is under control, it makes a fine meal.

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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.

Well, here's a reply with chauvanism (sic), Toronto dissing, and New York envy.

However, a bagel is just a bagel, made from wheat flour, water, yeast, salt, and a few seeds. It can be a fine medium for pastrami, whether formidable or soft textured. Several types are available in most large cities with east European bakeries. And as for putting smoked meat on a bagel, rather than pastrami, well, the consensus of many of the previous posts is that there is little difference between the two.

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Well, here's a reply with chauvanism (sic), Toronto dissing, and New York envy.

You forgot the tongue in cheek. Cannot fathom how you manage to detect New York envy, though. Nice place to visit but... (And, yes, I have lived there.)

However, a bagel is just a bagel, made from wheat flour, water, yeast, salt, and a few seeds.

What a crock of BS. There's great variation among Montreal bagels; New York and Montreal bagels are different beasts entirely. The ingredients differ: Montreal bagels contain malt (many new-fangled bagels don't or don't in more than homepathic quantities), are boiled in honey water (many new-fangled bagels aren't) and, I've been told, use a special yeast. Proportions differ (compare St-Viateur's and Fairmount's, the former doughier and spangled with seeds, the latter far sweeter and heavily encased in seeds). They are cut and formed differently. They are baked differently. Do you also claim a baguette is just a baguette? A roast chicken is just a roast chicken? Ice cream is just ice cream?

It can be a fine medium for pastrami, whether formidable or soft textured.  Several types are available in most large cities with east European bakeries. And as for putting smoked meat on a bagel, rather than pastrami, well, the consensus of many of the previous posts is that there is little difference between the two.

Whatever are you talking about? I have never seen, here or in New York, pastrami or smoked meat served on a bagel. Now, the world being what it is, somebody probably serves it that way, but you're talking like it's a classic combo. Well, it ain't. In fact, it verges on the sacrilegious. (Google search on "smoked meat on a bagel" turns up four hits, none from delis. "Smoked meat on bagel" turns up one hit, on the eG Vancouver forum of all places; it's apparently offered at Siegels. Pastrami search results are nearly as insignificant.) The bread of choice for such sandwiches is rye. Accept no substitutes!

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Traditionally "Pastrami" has always been prepared from the "Navel Cut" from the Beef Forequarter. It's becoming more common in the last few years made from the Whole Jobber Trimmed, "Beef Brisket" or even from the so called Flat Brisket where the Fat cap has been removed.

"Corned Beef", was done originally thru Canada utilizing the still popular British Beef cut called the "Silver Tip" also from the Forequarter and still sold in England, Ireland and France as Salt Beef or Corned Beef.

The difference between "Salted Beef" or "Corned Beef" is sometimes the type of cure used. In Corning Kosher/Deli Cuts it customary to season with Pickling Spices and Garlic to enhance the flavor.

All the products being used for Corned Beef, Smoked Beef, or Pastrami are always Cured before being cooked or processed.

The Corned Beef is Cooked by Simmering in Hot Water, while the Pastrami is allowed to Hang long enough to shed the excess Curing Liquid, then Coated or Rubbed with a Dry Cure before being Smoked at very low temperature long enough to break down most of the collagen until it reaches a Internal Temperature of anywhere from 190/215 Degrees Fahrenheit. Removed from the Smoker, allowed to Cool then packaged or served.

It tastes better if allowed to Steam before being sliced and served.

eGullet has the most informative thread about making Pastrami under "Chef Fowke".

"Brian Fowke", actually holds your hand and carefully walks you thru the process of Butchering, Curing, Smoking and finally making you start to wish you could taste his final result and it's only available on eGullet. It's the ultimate Pastrami adventure.

Hope that someone more capable then myself will list the link. [if I remember correctly he even mentions Montreal]

I'm originally a New Yorker who believes that Montreal's Bagels are now with the demise of so many Old Fashioned NYC Bagel Bakers the very best anywhere.

I actually compared at Kaplan's Deli in Vancouver several weeks ago "Montreal Smoked Beef, Pastrami and Corned Beef" on the same Sandwich and loved them all but it was still to much to finish at one meal.

Irwin

Edited by wesza (log)

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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The bread of choice for such sandwiches is rye. Accept no substitutes!

Dark pumpernickle is ok too.

My family ran a jewish deli for a few years here in Winnipeg - we brought ALL of our deli meats from Montreal. Unfortunately, building a huge new plant right before the Mad Cow issue brought about the demise of our supplier.

But they definately made a good corned beef. Never smoked (smoking would then make it smoked meat no?). It was definately highly seasoned though.

They also made pastrami (using a shoulder roast - I'm assuming because kosher briskets are so damn expensive and they saved them for the corned beef and smoked meat). And their smoked meat was amazing. We sliced it thick and steamed it. You could order a 100, 200 or 300 gr sandwich - big hit.

Of the three, I'm really not a fan of Pastrami .... the ones I've had seem to have almost a sour note that I don't like.

Occasionally somebody would order one of the meat sandwiches on a bagel, or worse white bread! :blink: With lettuce? Margarine? Oy.

Our new supplier is in Toronto - good corned beef but the smoked meat needs some work.

Edited by Pam R (log)
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From what I hear, both smoked meat & pastrami originally came from Romanian origins(who knows they both might of began at same location).

By my recollection, I have never seen any eating establishment in Montreal offer a smoked meat bagel sandwich. However I've seen smoked meat on pizza & pasta dishes(might of also seen smoked meat on poutine).

-Steve

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