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Which Tastes Better: Pastrami Or Corned Beef?

The pastrami vs corned beef debate has been going on for ages.

While some people prefer the first one, others think the latter tastes better.

Let’s figure out how they really distinguish from each other so that you can make your own decision on which dish better suits your taste buds’ preference.

What is pastrami?

Hillshire Farm Ultra Thin Sliced Pastrami Deli Meat, 7 oz

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Pastrami is a type of smoked meat that has been seasoned with various spices such as pepper, garlic, coriander, and others.

It originated in the former Ottoman Empire region of Romania as well as Bulgaria.

The first mention of this iconic dish came from Romanian immigrants who brought their recipe that resembled Turkish pastırma.

However,  since they could not get Turkish spices, they used garlic powder instead of ground cloves or cayenne pepper instead of paprika.

Originally, pastrami is made by curing beef brisket with salt and spices like black peppercorns for up to six months before being hot or cold smoked at low temperatures over wood chips or sawdust for several hours.

Today’s pastrami can also be cured with sodium nitrate which gives it a reddish-brown color and helps prevent spoilage.

Pastrami has been around for centuries and continues to be one of America’s favorite foods today.

What is corned beef?

Libby's Corned Beef, 12 oz

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Corned beef is a type of meat that has been cured with salt and spices.

It is typically made from the brisket, but it can also be made from the round cut.

It originated in Ireland where it was used to make corned beef and cabbage for St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

The word “corned” comes from the Old English word “coern,” which means coarsely ground grain, usually barley.

When mixed with water, dried corn kernels become a paste called masa harina which is used as a key ingredient in tortillas and tacos shells.

Corned beef became popular because it could be preserved by salting and pickling like ham or bacon, so people didn’t have to worry about spoilage.

Corned beef is flavorful and can reach the tenderest texture when being stewed or roasted under low heat for a long period of time.

What are the differences between pastrami vs corned beef?

Pastrami and corned beef are too popular, but not everyone can differentiate these two processed meat products.

Let’s look at the table below and go into detail to compare them:

 PastramiCorned beef
OriginTurkey with the original dishes called pastirma The more popular variant today is from RomaniaIreland, as one of the holiday dishes, served on St.Patrick’s Day
IngredientsCan be made from either beef brisket, lamb, or turkeyMade from beef brisket, or sometimes other cuts like round
PreparationThe beef is brined, partially dried, seasoned with herbs and spices, then smoked or steamedCured with salt and/ or other spices, then boiled
TasteDeeper, spicier, and smokySweet, sour, salty, and a little spicy 
ColorDarker because it has been dried, then smoked or steamedLighter

What are the similarities between pastrami vs corned beef?

Despite some special features of each kind of processed meat, there are also several similarities between Spam and corned beef.

Let’s take a look:

1. They were meant to preserve meat for the long term

Pastrami and corned beef have been around for centuries.

And originally, the curing process didn’t mean to make the beef taste better or not, but to lengthen the shelf life of fresh cuts.

To cure beef to make pastrami or corned beef, you will also need the same base ingredients, essentially salt or brine, with other spices depending on your preferences.

2. They are high in sodium

Obviously, any canned products, especially those that have been cured with salt or brine, contain a high amount of sodium.

This can help your meat last longer, but can also pose some risks to your health, such as heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure.

Therefore, consider eating pastrami or corned beef just occasionally.

3. Both can be served sliced thin on rye bread or piled high on a sandwich

There are many ways to cook pastrami and corned beef, even though they are already cooked and you can take a bite right from the can.

If you are a busy person and love these products because of their convenience, prepare a sharp knife and thinly slice them to serve with bread and some sauces or cheese on top, it will be so great.

Which one is better?

Product ComparisonHillshire Farm Ultra Thin Sliced Pastrami Deli Meat, 7 ozLibby's Corned Beef, 12 oz
Product ImageHillshire Farm Ultra Thin Sliced Pastrami Deli Meat, 7 ozLibby's Corned Beef, 12 oz
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Two of the most popular types of beef brisket are different in many ways, but they also share a lot.

Pastrami and corned beef have similar textures and base flavors; both can be served hot or cold depending on preference.

There is no clear answer to which one tastes better and this debate will never be settled because it really comes down to personal taste buds’ preferences.

So just try both and let us know which dish does your palate enjoy more?

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