Pastrami vs. Corned Beef: What’s the Difference?

Meat Type: Pastrami: Typically made from beef brisket, although other cuts may be used. The meat is first brined, then rubbed with a mixture of spices, such as coriander, garlic, and black pepper, before being smoked.

Corned Beef: Also made from beef brisket, it undergoes a curing process called corning, where the meat is soaked in a seasoned brine that usually contains ingredients like salt, sugar, garlic, and pickling spices.

Brining and Spicing: Pastrami: After brining, pastrami is coated with a spice rub before smoking, which gives it a distinctive flavor and reddish-brown color.

Corned Beef: It is brined with a different set of spices, often including mustard seeds, coriander, and bay leaves, but it doesn't undergo the smoking process.

Cooking Method: Pastrami: In addition to brining and spicing, pastrami is traditionally smoked, which contributes to its unique taste and texture.

Corned Beef: After corning, it's typically boiled or simmered until it becomes tender. It can also be used in dishes like corned beef and cabbage.

Flavor and Texture: Pastrami: It has a smoky, peppery, and more robust flavor due to the smoking process. The spices used in the rub also contribute to its distinctive taste.

Corned Beef: It has a milder flavor, influenced by the pickling spices used during corning. The texture tends to be more tender, especially when cooked low and slow.

Regional Variations: Pastrami: Often associated with Jewish and Eastern European cuisine, especially in the United States, where it's a popular deli meat.

Corned Beef: Commonly associated with Irish and British cuisine. It gained popularity in the United States, particularly in dishes like corned beef and cabbage, which is often associated with Irish-American cuisine.

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