* If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

How To Reheat Pastrami – I Test 5 Methods [Pics]

Pastrami meat is best served hot. If you like it cold, you’re in the wrong place!

But what’s the best way to reheat pastrami that you’re keeping in the fridge?

How can you warm it up without drying it out?

I’m about to tell you.

I experimented with several different methods of reheating pastrami to find the best possible way.

A note on my experiment

I bought pastrami from my local grocery store, then kept it in the fridge overnight. The next day, I experimented with six different reheating methods to see which worked best. These methods include:

  • Microwaving
  • Steaming
  • In the oven
  • In a skillet
  • In a water bath

I tasted the pastrami once I’d reheated it and took notes based on the taste, the moistness, and the texture of the meat.

Fresh pastrami is juicy and tender, and I wanted to achieve results as close to freshness as possible.

Overall, none of the reheating methods were terrible, but (spoiler alert!) I was especially pleased by these two methods:

  1. Reheating pastrami in the microwave resulted in moist, hot pastrami that tasted great and was ready very quickly.
  2. Using a steamer took a bit more effort than the microwave, but the results were very similar and easier to control, which is good news for people who don’t like using the microwave!

Note that in this article, I performed my tests using prepackaged, sliced beef pastrami. 

However, the results will be similar for turkey pastrami or pastrami straight from the deli.

I talk more about what to do with whole pastrami at the end of the article.

Reheating pastrami in the microwave

To reheat pastrami in the microwave, lay it out on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. You can layer several slices on top of each other, but don’t go overboard, or they won’t heat evenly. Microwave the pastrami for 20-40 seconds until all the slices are warm.

How to reheat pastrami in the microwave:

  1. Lay pastrami on a microwave-safe plate. You can lay several slices on top of one another.
  2. Cover the pastrami with a wet paper towel.
  3. Microwave for 20-40 seconds until all the slices are heated through. Big stacks of slices will need longer.

Using a wet paper towel to reheat pastrami in the microwave effectively lets you steam the meat, which is an excellent way to heat it and retain its moisture.

An alternative to a wet paper towel is to sprinkle the pastrami with some water, then cover it in a layer of pierced plastic wrap.

Be careful not to microwave the meat for too long, or you run the risk of drying the meat out while trying to heat it.

I would check on the pastrami every 20 seconds.

My verdict

By far, this was my favorite way to reheat pastrami. 

It was fast and easy, and it produced lovely, moist meat.

All the other methods required more effort, and there was no real difference in the meat quality.

Reheating pastrami by steaming

To reheat pastrami in a steamer, set it up and bring the water to a gentle simmer. Then lay the pastrami flat in the steamer and cover it with a lid. Steam the pastrami for 1-2 minutes before checking on it. Steam for longer if needed.

If you don’t have a steamer – don’t worry!

There are a few ways you can make a steamer, and I’ll cover one way here. You might find other ways online that work for you, too.

How to reheat pastrami by steaming:

  1. Set up your steamer and turn it on.
  2. Bring the water in the steamer to a gentle simmer.
  3. Place the pastrami slices in the steamer. You can layer a few on top of each other if you need.
  4. Put the lid on the steamer and steam for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Check on the pastrami and steam for longer if required.

If you don’t have a steamer, here’s how to use a makeshift steamer:

  1. Get a saucepan and create an elevated platform by folding a length of tin foil that fits into your pan in an accordion shape.
  2. Cover the bottom of the pan with water and bring the water to a simmer.
  3. Place the pastrami slices flat and on a single layer on the foil platform.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid and steam for 1-2 minutes.

You can also just use a colander above a simmering pan of water, but be careful to keep the pastrami as flat as possible so it doesn’t break.

My verdict

While this is essentially the same process as with a wet paper towel in the microwave – and, in my opinion, the two taste very similar in terms of quality – using a steamer removes the danger of overheating the meat and drying it out. 

If you have a steamer or you’re willing to make one yourself, putting a little more effort into reheating your pastrami can be worth it.

Reheating pastrami in the oven

To reheat pastrami in an oven, preheat it to 350°F (180°C). While it’s heating, wrap your pastrami in foil and sprinkle over a tablespoon of water or stock before closing the parcel. Heat your pastrami for around 5 minutes, checking on it frequently so as not to overheat it.

If you’re using a toaster oven, the pastrami will heat up quickly, so don’t forget to keep an eye on it!

Note: if you have whole pastrami, the oven is the best way to reheat it. I give instructions later in the article (here).

How to reheat pastrami in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Place your slices of pastrami in tin foil. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of water, then wrap tightly.
  3. Let heat in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through.

Heating the pastrami with the right amount of liquid is the key to making oven-heated pastrami juicy because the liquid creates steam, which keeps the meat moist.

The first time I tried this method, I didn’t add as much water as I listed above, which made my pastrami a little bit dry around the edges. 

I wasn’t a fan of this result.

If you like drier meat, try heating the pastrami with about half as much water as I have described.

Don’t pack too many slices in one foil wrap, or the middle portion will struggle to heat up!

I wouldn’t pack more than 5 or 6 slices together.

My verdict

This method is a bit time-consuming, but the pastrami tasted very good, and wrapping a few slices together in one package means you can heat lots of pastrami at once. 

If you and your friends want hot pastrami for sandwiches quickly, this is the method for you.

Reheating pastrami in a skillet

To reheat pastrami in a skillet, heat the pan over medium-low heat and add a few tablespoons of water or stock (enough to cover the bottom of the pan). When the liquid is warm, add the pastrami and cover the pan with a lid. Heat the pastrami for 1-2 minutes or until it’s warmed through.

You can stack slices with this method, but not many. I’d say 3-4 slices maximum.

How to reheat pastrami in a skillet:

  1. Heat your pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add a few tablespoons of water or beef stock, enough to cover the bottom of the pan. For crispier meat, use oil*; for less crisp meat, use enough water or stock to cover the pastrami completely.
  3. Add slices of pastrami, then cover with a lid for 1-2 minutes, or until the pastrami is heated through. 

I used water to reheat the pastrami, which made the meat nice and moist. 

But for a bit more flavor, you can use beef or chicken stock for the same effect and add more of either if you want very soft meat. 

Don’t forget to cover the pan because this traps the moisture and creates a steaming effect.

*If you like crispy pastrami, use oil instead of water or stock.

This will allow you to fry the meat, crisping the edges, but the pastrami won’t be as moist.

If you use oil, you don’t need to cover the pan with a lid.

My verdict

This is my least favorite method of reheating pastrami, but that’s only because of how involved it is. 

The pastrami tastes good using this method, and it offers a way to get crispy pastrami if that’s your thing. If it isn’t, make sure not to skimp on the water or beef stock, as this helps the meat stay juicy!

Reheating pastrami in a water bath

To reheat pastrami in a water bath, first check the packaging is suitable for use in hot water. Then bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to low, submerge the pastrami in its packaging, and cover the pot. Heat the pastrami for 5 minutes. 

This is the recommended way of reheating (unopened) Katz delicatessen pastrami. If it’s opened, they suggest using the microwave.

How to reheat pastrami in a water bath:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil (large enough to fit your packaging).
  2. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to low, submerge the pastrami, and put the lid on the pot.
  3. Wait about 5 minutes, then remove the pastrami from the water bath. The meat should feel warm through the package.

Before you try this method, check the packaging your pastrami comes in to make sure it’s safe to put in boiling water.

  • Vacuum sealed packages are safe, as are Katz delicatessen packages. 
  • Ziploc bags are NOT safe for this method, and if that’s all you have, then this reheating strategy probably isn’t for you.

If your pot is big enough, you will be able to put a few packages of pastrami in at once, like with the oven method.

My verdict

I had the right kind of packaging, and I found this to be a pretty good way to warm my pastrami. The pastrami stayed moist, which is the way I like it. 

One downside was that it was hard to tell when the meat was warm enough without opening the packaging – it was a bit of a guessing game!

How to store pastrami

You should store pastrami in the fridge. Keep it fresh by storing it in an airtight container or wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Pastrami will last for 4-5 days in the fridge or up until the use-by date on the packaging. Whichever is sooner.

Never leave pastrami out at room temperature for more than 2 hours, or it can start to harbor harmful bacteria.

Can you freeze pastrami?

Yes, you can freeze pastrami. Pastrami freezes well, and stored in air-tight packaging, it will last for three months in the freezer. After that, the flavor quality will start to decline, but it is still safe to eat. Keep the pastrami in a freezer bag or wrapped in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

For ease of access, freezing pastrami by the slice is your best choice.

How to freeze pastrami:

  1. Separate your pastrami slices with wax or parchment paper
  2. Place the separated pastrami slices in a heavy-duty freezer bag or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and tin foil.
  3. Remove as much air from the packaging as possible before sealing the pastrami and putting it in the freezer.
  4. Use the pastrami within 3 months.

To remove the air from a freezer bag, the best thing to do is find a straw and suck the air out. This is kind of like a human-grade vacuum seal!

If you happen to have a vacuum sealer handy, then use that.

The less air that can reach the pastrami, the longer it will last. Vacuum sealing removes 100% of the air, so there’s 0% chance of the meat developing freezer burn.

Separating the slices with wax paper means you can easily take out 1 or 2 pieces as you need, rather than having to thaw a big block of meat.

What about freezing whole pastrami?

If you want to freeze whole pastrami, simply wrap it in tightly plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil and put it in the freezer.

Whole pastrami is hardier than sliced pastrami, so it will last for longer in the freezer. I would consume whole pastrami within 6 months. 

How to thaw and reheat frozen pastrami

To thaw the pastrami, take it out and leave it in its packaging before putting it in the fridge to thaw overnight. If you have slices you’re trying to thaw in a hurry, run the package under cool running water. Don’t let the meat thaw at room temperature, especially a big chunk of pastrami.

Once the meat is fully defrosted, you can reheat it in the microwave. Cover the meat with a damp paper towel and reheat it in 20-second intervals until heated through.

Alternatively, you can steam it or heat it in the oven (see above for instructions).

Don’t re-freeze your pastrami once it has completely thawed.

How long does pastrami last?

Pastrami will last for 4 to 5 days in the fridge if appropriately stored and up to 3 months in the freezer.

As was also mentioned, pastrami goes back pretty quickly outside of the fridge. It’s best to throw any pastrami in the trash if it’s been left at room temperature for 2 hours or longer.

How to reheat a whole pastrami

The best way to reheat a whole pastrami is with a roasting pan and a rack. 

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C), then put the rack in the pan and pour chicken/beef broth into the pan until it touches the bottom of the rack. Place your pastrami on the rack, cover the pan tightly in aluminum foil, and allow it to heat in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half.

Note: I would always recommend slicing the meat when it’s cold and then reheating the slices. 

The meat is easier to cut when it’s cold, slices are easier to reheat, and it means you only have to heat the required amount of pieces.

Can you eat cold pastrami?

Usually, pastrami is served warm, but if you’d rather not bother with the hassle and just eat it cold, feel free! Like most deli meats, eating cold pastrami isn’t harmful, and cold deli meat tastes good in a sandwich. Just be sure to put any uneaten meat back in the fridge.

How to reheat a pastrami sandwich

If you haven’t finished a pastrami sandwich that you put together or ordered, there’s no need to worry! 

You can heat a pastrami sandwich as you would a grilled cheese sandwich: put it in a pan and heat it, flipping occasionally until it’s as hot as you want. Alternatively, you can take the sandwich apart and warm the bread and meat separately, meat in the microwave and bread in the toaster oven.

Leave out any ingredients you don’t want to heat until you reassemble your sandwich.

How To Reheat Pastrami

Pastrami meat is best served hot. If you like it cold, you’re in the wrong place!
But what’s the best way to reheat pastrami that you’re keeping in the fridge? How can you warm it up without drying it out?
I’m about to tell you.
I experimented with several different methods of reheating pastrami to find the best possible way to reheat it.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 3 mins
Total Time 4 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person
Calories 147 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 5 slices pastrami

Instructions
 

  • Lay pastrami on a microwave-safe plate. You can lay several slices on top of one another.
  • Cover the pastrami with a wet paper towel.
  • Microwave for 20-40 seconds until all the slices are heated through. Big stacks of slices will need longer.

Notes

Using a wet paper towel to reheat pastrami in the microwave effectively lets you steam the meat, which is an excellent way to heat it and retain its moisture.
An alternative to a wet paper towel is to sprinkle the pastrami with some water, then cover it in a layer of pierced plastic wrap.
Be careful not to microwave the meat for too long, or you run the risk of drying the meat out while trying to heat it. I would check on the pastrami every 20 seconds.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 147kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




Related Posts