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Difference Between Pastrami and Corned Beef

Pastrami vs Corned Beef

If you are a food enthusiast, then knowing the differences between corned beef and pastrami is very basic knowledge. But for many of us who only care about whether the food we eat is delicious or not, this knowledge might be very interesting.

Corned beef is prepared through getting the meat from the upper front leg of the cow or otherwise known as the beef brisket. Like the corned beef, pastrami can also be prepared from beef brisket. Their similarities do not end here, aside from sharing the same beef cut, both corned beef and pastrami are preserved through a brine solution which is simply salt and water combined. This is because, technically, pastrami is from the Romanian word “pastra” which means “to preserve.” And the “corned” in corned beef basically means salt which in the olden times were referred to as “corn.”

But no matter how similar they may be, they have differences. Their first difference is the preparation after soaking the meat in a brine solution. From that process, to create corned beef you will need to boil the meat. On the other hand, to create pastrami, you will need to coat it with peppercorns and then have it smoked. Although nowadays there are many ways how to prepare pastrami, this is generally how it is prepared by many.

Another difference between beef pastrami and corned beef is the other sources of their cow meat. Although they can both be made from beef brisket, specifically flat-cut brisket, pastrami does not necessarily have to be from beef brisket. Unlike corned beef, pastrami has another alternative in its meat sources. You can prepare pastrami from another cow part which is called the deckle or plate. This is the point cut part of the brisket, the one that has more fatty parts.

Another noticeable difference is the number of variations in these two dishes. There are different ways on how you can prepare pastrami. Chefs have accepted that there is really no precise method on how to create pastrami. Unlike corned beef, you can have a lot of variations of pastrami. For instance, there is what you call beef pastrami which is the most common type and the most similar to corned beef. But aside from it you also have; salmon pastrami, turkey pastrami, and tuna pastrami. The bottom line is, it does not matter how you prepare pastrami as long as it looks and tastes like pastrami, you can call it pastrami.


1.After soaking beef brisket in a brine solution, to prepare pastrami you coat it with peppercorns and have it smoked; on the other hand, corned beef is boiled.

2.Pastrami and corned beef are both made from beef brisket. But unlike corned beef, pastrami can also be made from deckle.

3.There are many types of pastrami, for example, beef pastrami, tuna pastrami, turkey pastrami, and salmon pastrami. As long as it tastes and looks like pastrami, it is accepted as pastrami unlike corned beef.

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  1. Corned beef is a type of pastrami.

    There, I answered the question without all the bullshit

  2. I ate a Ruben at a nice restaurant in Lake Tahoe north and it was so fatty I couldn’t eat it. But in Oklahoma they are lean and delicious.

    • That difference may be due to using the point (Lake Tahoe) which is fatty versus the flat (Oklahoma) which is very lean. It is also possible they did not remove enough of the fat cap from either muscle. I typically keep about 1/4 inch fat on the flat (for smoking purposes) and completely remove the fat cap from the point.

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