Difference Between Corn Beef And Pastrami

Corn beef and pastrami are both popular delicacies. They are both made of beef and they can be eaten in a number of different ways. But are the two same? Absolutely not and they aren’t cooked in the same way either. We often consume our favorite foods without giving much thought to how they are made or with what. Here is the difference between corn beef and pastrami so you can tick at least one dilemma off your checklist.

Cutting the Meat

Let us begin with the cut of meat. We all know that certain cuts of meat are more pleasurable than others. Likewise, certain cuts are more suitable for specific types of dishes. Corn beef typically uses the brisket or the cuts of meat from the breast of a cow. Pastrami uses the meat from the navel of a cow. The breast cut would usually be fleshier and the navel cut would be fattier. These are the primary reasons why the specific cuts are chosen since they would hold better given the different cooking methods.

Make Sure the Meat is Cured

Both corn beef and pastrami require the beef to be cured. Usually, the cuts of meat are brined using water and salt. One could just soak the beef in a saline solution or one can use different methods if one has mastered the same. There can always be some seasoning or spices added to the salt and water to facilitate the curing process. The meat is dried after curing in both methods.


Corn beef requires the beef to be boiled. Pastrami requires the beef to be smoked. You can use your choice of spices or seasoning for the respective beef cuts during or before cooking. As you would imagine, boiling the breast cuts would make them tender and smoking the fatty navel cut would be helpful as the fat would hold on well and react nicely when cooked over a long period of time.

How They Are Consumed

Finally, the difference between corn beef and pastrami lies in how we eat them. We normally eat corn beef with cheese and cabbage, other vegetables and grains of our choice. Pastrami is mostly consumed in the form of a sandwich. You can certainly use any preferred sauce or additional ingredients in the sandwich.

Both corn beef and pastrami are relatively easy to make but very difficult to master. Like hotdogs and burgers, there is no dearth of restaurants making corn beef and pastrami but only a few can be considered unforgettable.

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