‘If you think to eat killer pastrami you need to visit a landmark deli in Manhattan, you haven’t been to Fette Sau BBQ in Brooklyn. Or The Granary in San Antonio. Or The Local Pig in Kansas City.
‘America is experiencing a pastrami renaissance with soulfully cured, assertively spiced smoked meat turning up at top barbecue joints across the country. Darkly crusted with crushed coriander seed and fiery with black pepper. Meat so moist it squirts when you cut into it and so flavorful, you don’t really need mustard, pickles, or rye bread.
‘But I get ahead of myself, because I really wanted to begin this story not in New York or even the United States, but at the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul. It was here, on my Barbecue! Bible research tour, that I came across arm-long strips of meat caked with orange aromatic spices hanging unrefrigerated from shop rafters. I had eaten versions of this cured meat—usually beef, once camel—throughout the Middle and Near East, where it goes by the name of basturma (sometimes written pasturma). It was cured and dried, not smoked, and the spicing differed dramatically from the pepper-coriander rub on American pastrami. But the two—etymologically and gastronomically—shared a common ancestor.’