Pastrami vs Roast Beef

Pastrami vs Roast Beef

Beef comes in different varieties and the most common types of beef are pastrami and roast beef. It is very essential to be able to tell these 2 types of beef apart so that when cooking you know which method to use. Pastrami and roast beef have different characteristics which can be noticed by the naked eye. They differ in terms of appearance as well as taste. In order to gain an in-depth analysis of the differences as well as similarities simply check out the detailed article below.


What is pastrami?

Pastrami is meat that is brined then seasoned with herbs or spices. It is later smoked or steamed. It is similar to corned beef however, corned beef only undergoes the brining stage. Pastrami is often made using beef but you can find it in different varieties like turkey and lamb. It is believed to have originated in Romania where the people were looking for ways of preserving meat so that it can last for a longer period of time. This is because during that time there were no refrigerators so they had to be innovative. Pastrami has a bold flavour as compared to corned beef although they both undergo the same brining process.

What is roast beef?

Roast beef as the name suggests is beef that is roasted. It is a common English dish served during lunch time or dinner. Roast beef is derived from the meat of a cow and it doesn’t undergo any special treatment like pastrami.

Differences between pastrami and roast beef


Pastrami is of Romanian origins whilst roast beef is an English cuisine.

Production process

Pastrami undergoes the curing stage just like corned beef whereas roast beef doesn’t. Pastrami is made by brining the raw meat, drying it then seasoning it with herbs and spices. It is then later smoked and steamed. On the other hand roast beef is simply beef that doesn’t undergo any special treatment until it is just roasted.

Furthermore, pastrami can be made using different types of meats like beef, lamb and turkey. Whereas roast beef is simply made using beef.

Roast beef can be made using different cuts of the beef, whereas pastrami is mainly made using the brisket.


Pastrami is spicy. This is mainly due to the fact that it undergoes the brining process and it is seasoned with herbs and spices which give it a distinct flavour. Roast beef on the other hand is natural beef which takes up the flour of whatever it is cooked with. Therefore it’s safe to say pastrami has its own specific flavour whilst roast beef doesn’t necessarily have one since it can be cooked using different recipes.


Pastrami has a reddish pink colour as compared to roast beef. This is because the ingredients used when curing it give it that distinct colour.

Furthermore when you walk into a grocery store you can find thinly sliced pieces of pastrami whereas it’s very rare to find roast beef that is sold as thin slices.

Cooking methods

Pastrami can be boiled and roasted. However, roast beef is always roasted it can never be boiled.

Furthermore, the most common way of having pastrami is on a sandwich whereas the most popular way of having roast beef is with a side dish. So commonly it is served at dinner time or lunch.

Similarities between pastrami and roast beef

Although pastrami can be found in different varieties the most popular version of pastrami is beef pastrami. So both roast beef and pastrami can be derived from the meat of a cow.

Furthermore, both pastrami and roast beef can be used to make sandwiches.

Difference between pastrami and corned beef

Often people confuse pastrami for corned beef this is because they look almost the same. Corned beef is cured meat just like pastrami but the difference is that pastrami has other additives to it like herbs and spices which give it that distinct flavour. Furthermore, pastrami has a bold flavour when compared to corned beef this is because it takes up all the flavours of the spices and herbs used when making it. In the United States of America corned beef is served as a traditional meal on St Patrick’s Day whereas pastrami is commonly served on sandwiches.

Nutrients and health benefits of eating pastrami and roast beef

Beef is high in protein

Protein is a macronutrient that is needed by the body on a daily basis. It helps to strengthen the bones and muscles. It also helps in building and repairing worn out tissues. The protein found in roast beef contain 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Therefore by eating beef you will be helping your body to attain them.

Beef is high in iron

Beef contains a lot of iron be it roast beef or pastrami. Iron is an essential mineral that is needed by the body. Iron helps to produce haemoglobin in the body which helps the red blood cells to transport oxygen from the lungs to your entire body. To avoid diseases like anaemia it is advisable to eat foods which contain a lot of iron for example beef.

Beef is high in vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is an essential vitamin needed by the body. It helps with cognitive development. It also helps the body to produce new red blood cells. The other interesting thing about vitamin B-12 is that it is essential in converting food into energy. Eating beef will help you in gaining vitamin B-12 in your body.

Beef is low in carbohydrates

Beef, particularly roast beef is low in carbohydrates. This is a good thing if you are trying to watch your weight. So you can always eat roast beef if you want to live a healthy lifestyle.

NB: although beef is very healthy it contains a lot of saturated fats which can affect your cholesterol levels which an ultimately lead to heart diseases. So it is very important to limit your intake of beef.

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