A Little History of Smoked Meat
Montreal smoked meat, or simply smoked meat in Montreal, is a type of kosher-style deli meat product made by salting and curing beef brisket with spices. The brisket is allowed to absorb the flavours over a week and is then hot smoked to cook through, and
finally, steamed to completion.
Although the preparation methods may be similar, Montreal smoked meat is cured in seasoning with more cracked peppercorns and aromatic spices, such as coriander, and significantly less sugar than New York pastrami. The meat is typically served in the form of a rye bread sandwich slathered with mustard. While some Montreal smoked meat is brine-cured like corned beef, with spices applied later, many smoked meat establishments prefer dry-curing directly with salt and spices.
Along with bagels, smoked meat has been popular in Montreal since the 19th century and has taken such strong root in that city, many Montrealers, and even many non-Montrealers, indentify it as emblematic of the city's cuisine. The location is also a veritable melting pot for Montreal where all cultures converge and people of disparate classes share tables when eating. Current and former residents and tourists make a point of visting Montreal's best-known smoked meat establishments, even taking whole briskets away as take-out. So loved is smoked meat by native Montrealers that renowned Montreal writer Mordecai Richler once jokinly described its flavour from Schwartz's in his novel Barney's Version, as a "maddening aphrodisiac" to be bottled and copyrighted as "Nectar of Judea".