Roast Beef vs Pastrami: 8 Differences You Need to Know Now

Are you in the mood for some delicious meat sandwiches? You might consider roast beef or pastrami. These two are popular choices in the meat world, but some people might confuse them.

Despite the apparent differences on countless levels, the common confusion is spreading more and more.

This article will give you what you need if you are interested in a roast beef vs. pastrami comparison. We will widely discuss the distinctions and primary characteristics of both types of meat. So stay tuned for more insight.

Roast Beef vs. Pastrami
The main differences between Roast Beef and Pastrami are their meat cut, ease of preparation, serving options, origin, fat content, taste, and nutritional value. Both are considered deli meats, but roast beef is served fresh, while pastrami is preserved and dried.

What is Roast Beef?

Roast beef is one of the most popular meat dishes around the world. It works fine as a main dish but can also be a great sandwich.

This dish depends on cooking fresh meat in the oven, but you will need high temperatures for optimum results. The original recipe for roast beef comes from England, but this yummy dish has found its way worldwide.

Cooking roast beef is relatively easy, as it is roasted. It must be seasoned with fresh spices, herbs, and garlic. To make roast beef, you will need fresh meat from a cow.

The best roast beef is always made of fine meat cuts. Such a thing makes it an expensive dish. It would be best if you opted for tenderloin, ribeye, or sirloin cuts.

Ideally, roast beef should look a bit brownish on the outside. However, inside, it should have a bit of pink color. This appearance should be accompanied by tenderness and juiciness in the texture of the meat, too.

What is Pastrami?

Pastrami falls into the category of dry and cold-cut meat. It is famous for its smoked taste and richness in spices. Making pastrami does not require a fine cut.

You can make it with any cut, but it is usually made with a plate cut. This cut comes from the navel part of the brisket. It is also possible to do it from the shoulder.

Making pastrami requires seasoning the beef with various ingredients. You will use salt, garlic, and a mix of spices like cloves and black pepper. You can also use coriander and a little sugar in the seasoning process.

Stories about the origin of pastrami indicate that it is either a Romanian or Turkish meal. The recipe for making pastrami has undergone some modifications. This is why you might come across two types of pastrami: red and black.

 Red pastrami is more common than black. The darker type of pastrami is made with all the same basic ingredients but with increased amounts of black pepper and molasses.

A vital part of making pastrami is brining the meat. Once the brining is over, the pastrami is put in a smoker to give it the well-known smoky taste. This flavor distinguishes pastrami from other dry-cured meats, such as corned beef.

What are the Differences between Roast Beef and Pastrami?

Meat lovers will appreciate the variety of tastes and nutritional value of roast beef and pastrami. Telling the differences between roast beef and pastrami is easy, as the taste, color, and origin are always different.

1. Meat cut

This factor is one of the most obvious differences in the comparison. Roast beef is always made from fine and expensive meat cuts such as tenderloin.

Pastrami, on the other hand, is made from any cuts. It is usually made from belly or shoulder cuts.

2. Ease of preparation

The cooking of roast beef is more straightforward. You will only have to prepare and season the beef cut with spice and send it straight to the oven. It will be roasted at high temperatures to be a bit crusty on the outside and tender on the inside.

Preparing pastrami, on the other hand, is more complex. There are many steps and ingredients involved. You are supposed to perform multiple processes, such as drying, seasoning, brining, smoking, and steaming.

3. Freshness

Pastrami is a dried and well-preserved type of deli meat. Roast beef is always made of fresh meat.

4. Serving options

Roast beef is primarily used as a main dish at dinners. However, it can be served as a sandwich too. Serving roast beef in a sandwich requires a thin slice of the meat. 

Pastrami, on the other hand, is a trendy sandwich. It is always cut thin. In addition to sandwiches, pastrami can be used in a recipe for scrambled eggs.

5. Origin

Roast beef and pastrami both come from very different parts of the world. The roast beef recipe originated in the United Kingdom.

On the other hand, the origin of pastrami has yet to be discovered. Some clues refer to Romania, while other pieces of evidence refer to Turkey.

6. Taste

Another thing that makes deli meat completely different is its taste. The taste of roast beef is typically delicious and rich. It indulges you with its juiciness and the slight effect of the added spices.

On the other hand, pastrami has a more intense and smoky taste. This is a result of the high concentrations of garlic and spices. Also, pastrami tastes saltier, as it is brined and seasoned with much more salt.

7. Fat content

Due to the differences in the cut sources, the fat levels will typically vary. Fine cuts such as ribeye and tenderloin are not known for being high in fat. Pastrami from a cow’s belly will typically contain higher fat levels.

8. Nutritional value

Pastrami contains more calories than roast beef. Roast beef has less fat and contains way less salt. However, while pastrami remains richer in protein, the low levels of sodium and fat make roast beef a bit healthier. 

The latter is the main course, unlike pastrami which is served as a sandwich. It is not a secret that any meat sandwich contains numerous unhealthy sauces besides the bread.

Roast beef vs Pastrami: Are they the same?

Roast beef and Pastrami are not the same types of meat. Both can be used to make some yummy meat sandwiches, but they differ on numerous levels.

They come from different parts of the cow and are prepared differently. The roast beef meat comes from the ribeye and contains less fat, while pastrami comes from the navel part, which is a bit fatty.

Pastrami has a more complex making process while cooking roast beef at home is easier. Consuming roast beef is healthier, as it is served as a main dish without all the extra sauces and bread.

Additionally, it has a lower fat content and minimal sodium or salt, unlike pastrami, which must be soaked in salt.

Pastrami came from either Romania or Turkey, while roast beef came from the UK.

Lastly, roast beef and pastrami taste delicious but have a more intense flavor.

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