Smoked Meat vs. Pastrami: Tastin’ the Difference

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  January 26, 2023

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It’s time to settle the debate: which smoked meat reigns supreme? We’ll compare and contrast smoked meat and pastrami and give you the answer you’ve been looking for!

Smoked Meat is a type of cured, salted, and smoked beef, while Pastrami is a type of smoked meat made from cured, salted, and smoked beef brisket.

pastrami vs smoked meat

Smoked meat vs pastrami

Preparation Method

Smoked meat is typically prepared by salting the meat and then smoking it over a low heat for several hours. This method of preparation gives the meat a smoky flavor and a tender texture. Pastrami, on the other hand, is prepared by curing the meat in a brine solution and then smoking it. This process gives the meat a more intense flavor and a firmer texture.


Smoked meat originated in North America, while pastrami originated in Romania. Pastrami was brought to the United States by Jewish immigrants in the late 19th century.

Curing Process

Smoked meat is cured with salt and spices, while pastrami is cured with a combination of spices, sugar, and salt. The curing process for pastrami is more involved than that of smoked meat, and it usually takes several days to complete.

Flavor Profile

Smoked meat has a mild, smoky flavor, while pastrami has a more intense, peppery flavor. The spices used in the curing process of pastrami give it a unique flavor that is not found in smoked meat.


Smoked meat has a tender texture, while pastrami has a firmer texture. The curing process of pastrami gives it a more dense texture than smoked meat. The texture of pastrami is also more chewy than that of smoked meat.

What is Smoked meat?

Smoked meat is a type of meat that has been cooked using smoke from burning wood. It’s a popular cooking method that has been used for centuries, and is still widely enjoyed today. Smoked meat can be made from a variety of different meats, including beef, pork, chicken, and fish.

The process of smoking meat involves exposing it to smoke from burning wood, which gives it a unique flavor and texture. The smoke helps to preserve the meat, as well as imparting a smoky flavor. The type of wood used to create the smoke can also affect the flavor of the meat, with different types of wood imparting different flavors.

Smoked meat can be cooked in a variety of ways, including hot smoking, cold smoking, and barbecuing. Hot smoking is done at a higher temperature and is used to cook the meat quickly. Cold smoking is done at a lower temperature and is used to impart a smoky flavor without actually cooking the meat. Barbecuing is done at a higher temperature and is used to cook the meat more slowly.

Smoked meat is often served as part of a meal, either as a main dish or as part of a side dish. It can also be used in a variety of recipes, such as sandwiches, salads, and soups. Smoked meat can also be used as an ingredient in sauces, marinades, and rubs.

Smoked meat is a delicious and versatile way to enjoy a variety of different meats. It’s a great way to add flavor and texture to any meal, and can be enjoyed by everyone. So, if you’re looking for a unique and flavorful way to enjoy your favorite meats, give smoked meat a try!

What is Pastrami?

Pastrami is a type of cured and smoked meat that originated in Romania. It’s usually made from beef, but can also be made from lamb, turkey, chicken, and even tofu. The meat is cured in a brine, then seasoned with a mix of spices like garlic, coriander, black pepper, and paprika. It’s then smoked and steamed, giving it a unique flavor and texture. Pastrami is often served as a sandwich, either on rye bread or a bagel, with mustard and pickles. It’s also popularly used as a topping for pizza and salads.

Pastrami has become a popular food in the United States, especially in New York City. It’s often served in delis, where it’s piled high on a sandwich. It’s also a popular topping for burgers and hot dogs. Pastrami can be purchased pre-sliced or in larger pieces, which can be sliced at home.

Pastrami is a great source of protein and is low in fat. It’s also a good source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins. It’s a great way to add flavor and texture to sandwiches, salads, and other dishes.

Pastrami is a delicious and versatile food that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether you’re eating it on a sandwich, topping a pizza, or adding it to a salad, it’s sure to make your meal more flavorful and enjoyable. So why not give it a try? You won’t regret it!


In conclusion, it’s clear that both smoked meat and pastrami have their own unique flavors and textures that make them both delicious. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to decide which one they prefer. If you’re looking for a smokier flavor, go with smoked meat. If you’re looking for a more intense flavor, opt for pastrami. Whichever you choose, you won’t be disappointed!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.