If you ask a New Yorker what to order from Katz’s, chances are you’ll get one answer: a pastrami sandwich. But what is pastrami, exactly? And why did we get so world renowned for this specific type of sandwich? Well you're in luck - read on for an inside peek at our most famous deli meat (or just watch the video below!).


To start, we make our pastrami in-house, from scratch. We never use any third party brands (like Boar's Head, Hillshire Farms, etc.) that supply most other deli's. And secondly,  we always use a particular cut of meat, the navel cut. This comes from the underbelly of the cow, and is often considered a tough, hard-to-cook meat. But if you’re patient like we are, it has a rich, complex flavor and texture that’s perfect for the pastrami process.


We begin by submerging the navel in saltwater brine, which includes many different spices. This infuses the meat with flavor and gives pastrami its distinctive pink color, even when fully cooked.  The meat stays in the brine for weeks, absorbing flavor.


Then, our team drains the brine and rubs each piece of meat with a blend of traditional Old World spices. This gives pastrami the dark, spiced “bark” you see on the outside of every piece.  



After each piece is rubbed, the meat is slowly smoked for hours in our customized house smokers. During the smoking process, the proteins and fats are slowly cooked and rendered and absorb the smoky flavor. Now, the navel has officially been transformed into Katz’s pastrami!


But we’re not done just yet…. Next, our pastrami is boiled for 2-3 hours, which further tenderizes the meat and sheds any excess salts from the brining process. Lastly, the pastrami is held in steam tables at our counters until it is ready to be carved and served. By now, the meat is incredibly tender and almost jiggles when touched.


Once at the counter, our master carvers slice up each piece of pastrami into our legendary sandwiches, carved to order. When they’re not busy with sandwiches, our carvers are also slicing up pounds of pastrami to ship nationwide via Katz’s nationwide shipping program.


At long last...a pastrami sandwich is born! Here at Katz's, we serve our pastrami on seedless rye bread with a healthy schmear of deli mustard. It's best eaten hot while etc... If this sounds like a lot of work….well you’re right, it is! And every single piece of Katz’s pastrami is done this way, just like is has been done for five generations and counting.