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Montreal Smoked Meat


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Montreal Smoked Meat: Legend or Hype?
montreal smoked meat delis best guide

Above: Montreal smoked meat. Some people salivate like Pavlov's dogs at the sight of it, others complain that it's a pastrami wannabe, but what is it exactly?

Photo by Flickr user LWY
It's not pastrami. It's not corned beef. It's Montreal smoked meat. And though some claim the local fast food delicacy is an overrated, underspiced pastrami wannabe, others salivate faster than Pavlov's dogs at the very mention of a smokey, sweet-meets-salty sandwich stacked with a dozen plus slices, prepared in that distinctively Montreal way.

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.

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