When you picture a pastrami burger, what does it look like? Utah's pastrami-topped burgers have been discussed at length on A Hamburger Today, particularly those at the mini-chain Crown Burger. There, the pastrami is thinly sliced and piled high, looking like a tangle of lunchmeat atop a thin patty. That's more or less what we expect when we think of pastrami burgers. But at a recent press lunch at Mathieu Palombino's Bowery Diner, we met the pastrami-topped Bowery Burger ($7.95 at lunch)—which sports a thick slice of the stuff.
If you're slicing that pastrami so that it almost matches the burger in scale, you'd better be pretty confident in it. Smoked meats make up a big part of Bowery Diner's menu, and the pastrami cures for seven days "in a top-secret brine," says Palombino. "The first day, we inject the meat with the brine, and then immerse it in more brine, in the refrigerator, for six days. We then cover it in a crust of coriander seeds and black peppercorns and set it to cook in our smoker overnight."
That's layered on a 4-ounce patty (made from short rib, chuck and brisket) that's griddled to temperature and topped with Swiss. In the Tomcat bakery bun, pastrami, cheese, and beef fuse together in a juicy, faintly smoky meat core.
Have you ever seen a pastrami burger in this form? We may have to add a new section to Adam's burger style guide.