Skip to comments.How to Make Wexler’s Deli Pastrami Sandwich in 8 Simple Steps
Posted on 05/17/2014 10:42:20 AM PDT by nickcarraway
We deconstruct Micah Wexler's "O.G." pastrami at Grand Central Market
To put a spin on the famous Carl Sagan quote, if you would like to make a pastrami sandwich from scratch, you must first invent the universe.
Thats not to say that former Mezze chef Micah Wexler and his team at Wexler's Deli are inventing the cosmos at their new-wave Jewish delicatessen inside Grand Central Market, but in deli terms they may be closer to it than anyone else in town (other than the grad students at CalTech, perhaps).
Order "The O.G." ($10) and youll experience the pastrami sandwichfirst brought to New York by Jewish-Romanian immigrants in the 1870sin its purest, most elemental form: two slices of fresh-baked rye bread, house-cured and smoked pastrami, and a generous swipe of mustard. That's all, baby.
If you have the necessary time, dedication, andmost of allskill, you could technically recreate the sandwich using the steps below. But lets be honest, youre better off letting Wexlers Deli do the work. They have egg creams and half-sours, after all.
1. Bake rye bread Wexler had Hawthorne-based Etxea Basque Bakery prepare his own recipe for a caraway-speckled traditional Jewish rye baked on hearthstone. Baker Charlie Garacochea, whose great-grandfather immigrated from the Pyrenees to open a bakery in Venice in 1908, provides Wexlers Deli with 10 to 15 massive six pound loaves everyday.
2. Buy whole slabs of brisket Wexler (who uses around 150 lbs of brisket per day) orders his meat from a ranch in Colorado, where the cows are sustainably raised without hormones or antibiotics. The corn-finished meat is nicely marbled and has a snowy white cap of fat on top, which ensures the meat remains moist and flavorful.
3. Brine for three days The trimmed brisket gets a long bath in curing salt and pickling spices. What comes out of the brine can then be steamed and turned into corned beef, which Wexlers Deli also serves as a sandwich. But this batch is destined for the smoker.
4. Let sit for a day. Rub generously with spices The meat is allowed to dry by sitting in the fridge for a day. This helps the coat of spices applied afterwardblack pepper most prominentlyto form a beautifully thick crust during the smoking.
5. Smoke for three hours The cured and dried brisket luxuriates in a smoky sauna for three hours, officially turning it into pastrami and developing a distinctive blackened appearance.
6. Slice very carefully Brisket cuts consist of two parts, Wexler explains, the deckle and the flat. The latter section is fattier and the former is leaner. The brisket is sliced with a very sharp knife so as to include a little bit of each. Slices are cut thick, but not too thick. You don't want to be eating a pastrami steak, Wexler explains.
7. Spread mustard onto bread After sampling dozens of mustards, Wexler chose Kosciusko, a spicy brown Polish mustard from Chicago. It has enough sharpness to give your sinuses a nudge without overwhelming them.
8. Assemble and ess gesunt!
Sounds like a lot of work.
Be nice if there was a way around all that smoking step, otherwise making corned beef would get you most of the way there.
Or you could go to Langer’s.
Interesting timing as I’ve just been researching homemade pastrami recipes.
There was one that did not require a smoker. They oven-smoked it somehow.
I plan to try making pastrami next week. Have to time it properly as the smoker phase needs to occur on a weekend when I can attend it.
Now you’ve done it. Off to search for something to eat.
Or Toojays here in FL.
Mouth is watering !
Oh boy - I think I’d KILL right now for a nice thick pastrami on rye (hold the mustard) from the Carnegie Deli. Like holding heaven in your hands.
“Oh boy - I think Id KILL right now for a nice thick pastrami on rye (hold the mustard)
Hold the mustard??? I think that’s sacrilegious. :-)
Toojays? Where is that? I’m in Florida, and always interested in visiting the great food oases.
” I submit that a Carnegie Deli pastrami on rye can be the very definition of the Platonic Ideal. Never mess with perfection! Would Heaven hang aluminum siding on the Pearly Gates? :-).
You’re making me hungry-—I haven’t been to The Carnegie Deli in YEARS. (I’d still want spicy brown mustard,though.)We had a deli near us that had the best Rumanian pastrami I ever had-—but they closed. C’est la vie.
I realize doing so doesn't make it kosher anymore but that's OK, I'm not Jewish. You gotta add swiss cheese.