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National Pastrami Day January 14 Celebrates Pastrami’s Role in American Culture and Menus

/EIN News/ -- Washington, DC, Jan. 11, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- January 14 marks National Pastrami Day, a celebration of pastrami’s role in American culture and menus, and in honor of the occasion, the North American Meat Institute and Beef Checkoff have released a new online guide highlighting fun facts, trivia and interesting preparation ideas. 


Like many popular American dishes, the recipe for pastrami travelled the ocean, this time with a Romanian immigrant who traded it to a Lithuanian immigrant in repayment of a favor.   Known as “pastirmi” in Romania, the succulent beef dish may have been changed to “pastrami” in keeping with the more widely known “salami.”  While corned beef and pastrami are sometimes served side by side, corned beef is made from brisket and boiled, while pastrami is made from beef navel and smoked.

New York delis in the theater district helped popularize pastrami in the 1920s and 1930s.   Restaurants like the recently closed Carnegie Deli and the still-thriving Katz’s Deli on New York’s Lower East Side served leaning towners of pastrami on rye with a pickle on the side.  The pastrami sandwich became closely linked with Jewish culture and celebration and pastrami was commonly served at weddings and bar mitzvahs – but only on rye.  

Pastrami’s ability to satisfy led well known and even prompt food lover and Citizen Kane Director Orson Welles to declare “There could be no picture making without pastrami.”  Although the classic pastrami sandwich is simple pastrami on rye, that doesn’t stop creative chefs from innovating with pastrami, and today it is enjoyed around the country.  Here are some fun and delicious ways to enjoy this national classic:  

  • The Rachel Sandwich -- Pastrami and coleslaw are combined in a Rachel sandwich, a variation of the Reuben sandwich (which is made with corned beef and sauerkraut).
  • The Pastrami Burger-- In Salt Lake City, Greek immigrants introduced a hamburger topped with pastrami and a special sauce in the 1960’s.  This pastrami burger remains a staple of local burger chains in Utah.
  • In a fusion of Asian and deli cuisine, the Brooklyn Wok Shop in Brooklyn, New York, serves pastrami dumplings.  
  • Popular San Francisco and New York restaurant Mission Chinese Food offers a Kung Pao Pastrami which is one of its most popular dishes.
  •  Empellon Tacqueria in New York serves Pastrami Tacos.

Is your mouth watering yet?  Grab a friend, visit your local deli and celebrate #NationalPastramiDay and while you’re there, check out the new Guide to Pastrami.  

About The Beef Checkoff: 

The Beef Checkoff Program ( was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. In states with qualified beef councils, states may retain up to 50 cents of the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. 

About the North American Meat Institute:

NAMI, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is a national trade association that represents compnaies that process 95 percent of red meat and 70 percent of turkey products in the US and their suppliers throughout America.  In addition, NAMI conducts scientific research through its Foundation designed to help meat and poultry companies improve their plants and their products.  The Institute's many meetings and educational seminars also provide excellent networking and information-sharing opportunities for members of the industry.  

"Internal links within this document are funded and maintained by the Beef Checkoff. All other outgoing links are to websites maintained by third parties." 



A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Eric Mittenthal
                    North American Meat Institute

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