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Pastrami lovers across the country look forward to their favorite sandwich on January 14th as they recognize National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day.

Popular delicatessen meat, pastrami is usually made from beef. Others make their pastrami sandwich with pork, mutton or turkey. Before refrigeration, butchers originally created pastrami as a way to preserve meat. To make pastrami, they placed the raw meat in brine. Then they partially dried it and seasoned it with various herbs and spices to be smoked and steamed.

A wave of Romanian Jewish immigration introduced pastrami (pronounced pastróme), a Romanian specialty, in the second half of the 19th century. Early English references used the spelling “pastrama” before the modified “pastrami” spelling was used. 

New York kosher butcher, Sussman Volk earns credit for producing the first pastrami sandwich in 1887. He claimed to have gotten the recipe from a Romanian friend in exchange for storing his luggage. Due to the popularity of his sandwich, Volk converted his butcher shop into a restaurant to sell pastrami sandwiches.

Classic Pastrami
  • When served, the deli typically slices the pastrami and places it between two slices of rye bread. Sometimes, the classic New York deli sandwich (pastrami on rye) is served with coleslaw and Russian dressing.
  • When pastrami and coleslaw combine, it’s called a Rachel sandwich. Similar to a Reuben which is made with corned beef and sauerkraut.  
  • In Los Angeles, they serve the classic pastrami sandwich with hot pastrami right out of the steamer. They slice it very thin and wet from the brine then layered on double-baked Jewish-style rye bread. It is traditionally accompanied by yellow mustard and pickles.
  • In Salt Lake City, in the early 1960s, Greek immigrants introduced a hamburger topped with pastrami and a special sauce. This pastrami burger remains a staple of local burger chains in Utah.

HOW TO OBSERVE #HotPastramiSandwichDay

Serve up your favorite pastrami sandwich. What toppings will you add? Try making several versions. Here are some other suggestions for celebrating…

  • Add sliced green apples and sharp cheddar cheese to your sandwich.
  • Invite friends to build their own sandwich.
  • Give a shout out to your favorite restaurant and deli with the best pastrami sandwich.
  • While you’re at it, what’s the best beverage to wash down a hot pastrami sandwich?
  • Are you a master sandwich maker? Share your sandwich stacking tips.
  • When it comes to the bread only the best will do. Pastrami and rye is classic. What other bread makes terrific pastrami sandwiches?
  • Mix up a variety of spreads. Make them hot, spicy, sweet, sour or creamy and find out which one compliments pastrami best.
  • Read the Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli by Ted Merwin while munching on your creation.
  • Watch a food show while enjoying your delicious pastrami sandwich. 

Use #HotPastramiSandwichDay to post on social media.

Try one of these too. Monte Cristo Day, National Sandwhich Day, National Hoagie Day, Jen’s Super Sandwich, Easy Philly Cheesesteak, National Sandwich Month, Ultimate Family Sandwhich, Chipolte Turkey Panini, National French Dip Day, National Cheesesteak Day, Hot Pastami Sandwich Day, to enjoy throughout the year.


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