What's so special about it? Some say it's sweeter than pastrami, less spicy and more smokey, but for your humble guide, the major difference is in the cut. Think marbled brisket, muscle fibers barely held together by a web of evenly distributed fat injecting flavor into every bite. No mouthfuls of blubber, no dry moments -- unless you get a lean cut, it won't necessarily be dry but don't say I didn't warn you if it is -- just a mass of crumbly, messy meat between two slices of rye.
Gawd it's good.
But where does one go for an authentic Montreal smoked meat experience? I propose to you four juicy sure bets.
Extremely important note: wherever you choose to order a Montreal smoked meat sandwich, always check if your deli of choice sells "regular" smoked meat and "old-fashioned" smoked meat. If you notice both varieties are available, always, I repeat, ALWAYS pick "old-fashioned" for a better taste of what Montreal smoked meat is supposed to be.