Best Ways To Heat Up Pastrami For A Sandwich

What is the best ways to heat or reheat pastrami meat. There are a few ways you can go about doing this. I think the best way is to steam it up, but that way does take the most work.

Pastrami is a deli meat that is cooked in a five step process. The meat can come from beef brisket or round, lamb or turkey. Pastrami meat is basically dried, smoked, seasoned, dried more and then steamed.

Now when you want to reheat pastrami to make for a sandwich. There is a few ways this can be done.

What are the best ways to heat up pastrami?

The quickest way to heat up pastrami is to use a microwave. Cover the pastrami on a plate with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 1 – 2 mins. This works great for sliced pastrami.

This is one of the best ways if you are simply going to reheat a few slices for a sandwich. It is also the fastest, but it does have its flaws. Which I can go into more detail.

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Best Ways To Heat Pastrami Slices

Here are four ways you can use to heat up cold pastrami slices. The quality of pastrami meat you are using can make a difference. Lower quality pastrami doesn’t always work best in a microwave for example.

  • Steam
  • Oven Bake
  • Pan Fry
  • Microwave

Try to bring the meat up to room temperature before cooking. Bring meat out from fridge and lay it out first thing. Then as you prepare the pastrami will start to warm up.

Steaming Pastrami

Hands down one of the best ways to heat up pastrami. Steaming the meat gives it a extra tenderness. This is actually how some New York delis will serve their pastrami.

You can steam pastrami on a stove top or by using a Instant Pot. Instant Pot can be faster, but it still steams the water using pressure. So it will boil at a higher temperature.

The amount of time it takes to heat up is slightly faster than boiling water on the stove. That is one advantage to using a Instant Pot. You can also use the keep warm feature.

This will keep any extra pastrami slices warm for serving at a party or throughout the day. So you can use the Instant Pot like a slow cooker/warmer.


Now one problem you might not have a steam basket. You can use aluminum foil to either elevate the meat. Also you can wrap your pastrami in foil and then drop it in the water.

As long as meat isn’t touching the boiling water. It just needs to be exposed to the steam.

  • Use a small amount of water in a pan, 1 – 2 inches will work.
  • Place Pastrami Inside (In steam basket or foil)
  • Bring water to a boil
  • Keep a lid on the pan during the steaming.

Doesn’t need to be a hard boil. Bring water to a simmer and let it go for the remaining time.

A small serving, will not take long. Go about 10 – 20 mins with a smaller serving. Do 20 – 30 minutes will larger ones. Until the meat is nice and hot. Then it is ready to be served.

Instant Pot

Steaming pastrami is totally do able in a Instant Pot or pressure cooker. As long as it has a steam setting. Then all you will have to do is add some water, place the pastrami inside and turn it on to steam.

That is the basics to how it is done, but there is still some more preparation required. Since you don’t want the meat to be sitting in the water.

You will need to raise it up off the bottom of the pot. Instant Pots come with a trivet. The trivet that comes with the Instant Pot is very basic. It is a simple metal rack with small legs.

Aftermarket trivets can be a lot better. The ones with built in handles are very useful. As they allow you to remove whatever food you are steaming a lot easier.

You can still use the basic one and steam pastrami. Put the trivet in the pot first, add the water next (just enough water to reach the bottom of the trivet).

Then you can place the pastrami on top of the trivet and start to steam it this way. Another option is to use alumium foil. Make a bowl or pouch for the meat to rest inside.

Not a fully enclosed foil wrap, because you want the steam to get inside. But a foil wrap will help to keep the pastrami from touching any extra water.

Also the water does tend to drip from the Instant Pot lid while steaming. So you could cover the top. Leaving holes in the foil wrap to allow just enough steam to get inside.

You can steam pastrami in a Instant Pot for 40 mins. Depending on the size of the Instant Pot and how much pastrami you are going to steam.

Other great reasons for using the Instant Pot for steaming pastrami. You can use the delay timer and start the cooking automatically. The keep warm feature can be used to keep pastrami heated for serving.

Oven Bake Pastrami

You may like the pastrami to be a little crispier. Like the edges to get a nice crust to them. Heating the pastrami using a oven can achieve this or not. Depending on how you want to go about doing it.

A oven is a good way to heat pastrami, especially large amounts of it, which might take longer to steam.

Also using a oven you can toast bread at the same time. A whole pastrami sandwich can be cooked inside a oven. This will not only heat the meat but cook the entire sandwich.

Using a oven is very simple, less hassle way of doing it. The meat could end up too dry if you are not careful.

That is one draw back of the oven, but this can be easily avoided by baking for a short period of time.

Preheat oven to 250 – 300 degrees F. Use a baking sheet and place aluminum foil down. Lay the slices of meat on top of the foil. Bake for 5 – 10 minutes.

When baking a whole sandwich with the meat already placed on bread. Place sandwich on baking sheet with foil. Bake at 200 degrees for 8 – 12 minutes.

Pan Fry Pastrami

Pastrami can be heated in a frying pan, this can be a fast way to heat it. But you don’t wan’t to do it too fast.

Bringing the heat up slowly works best. The pastrami doesn’t need to be cooked neccesarily.

Similar to the oven you can make a pastrami sandwich in a pan together. Like making a grilled cheese. Put together the sandwich first and then heat it up in a pan.

Use butter or olive oil and the bread will toast. Make sure to allow the meat to heat up before the bread becomes too done.

If you want to make a pastrami sandwich with cheese, pan frying or oven baking is one of the best ways. Because the cheese will melt with the meat, and the bread can be toasted.

Use medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Put butter or some olive oil in the pan first. When it is heated add the pastrami meat in the pan. Wait until meat starts to sizzle slightly.

Add in any cheese and melt for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve meat on to bread and the sandwich is ready. I like to add in the step and toast the bread.

This can be done in a separate pan, toaster or together with the meat in sandwich form.

Microwave Pastrami

The easiest method to use with the shortest cooking time. Microwaving pastrami will keep the meat tender. As long as its of good quality and not too thin.

Thin slices will heat very quickly in a microwave. Generally you want to microwave the pastrami for 1 – 2 minutes. These times work well for most servings and cuts of pastrami.

Use a paper towel and cover the meat first. Place on a plate and microwave on low power. Go for about 30 seconds and check on how warm it is.

You may need to go an additional 20 – 30 seconds. Depending on how many servings you are heating up.

If you are going to make a couple sandwich for yourself. Heat up just enough for one sandwich. Then the second time you will have a good idea just how long to heat it up for.

If you are worried about it drying up and becoming chewy. Dampen the paper towel first. Microwave for 1 minute and check on the heat level. You will notice if it starts steaming in the microwave.

One thought on “Best Ways To Heat Up Pastrami For A Sandwich

  1. Can I drop a 1 lb plastic container of Market Basket “Deli” Shaved Brisket Pastrami into boiling water to heat it up?

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