Buying pastrami from the store? These are our top 3 brands

Pile this thinly sliced beef on a sandwich.
Published June 5, 2019

We have a self-described pastrami expert on staff. He hails from New York and swears his home state is the best place to find the perfect piles of thinly sliced, seasoned, smoked beef for sandwiches. Recently, he even ordered a huge delivery from a deli in his old stomping grounds. We asked him to join our panel this week and taste some of the pastrami offerings from local grocery stores to see how they compared to his hometown favorites.

Prima Della

Lean, but not dry with just the right amount of seasoning along the edges is how our pastrami-loving panelist described this serving. “It looks like the real deal and the flavor doesn’t disappoint,” he said. Another appreciated that the slices were tender and sweet. He described the flavor as “fresh and robust.” Another said, “This would be great on a Reuben, just enough rub.”

Serving size: 2 ounces

Calories: 90

Fat/fiber: 3.5g / 0g

Sugar/sodium: 2g / 460mg

Carbs/protein: 0g / 15g

Shopping information: $5.13 for a half-pound from Walmart.

Would they buy? All four judges said yes.

Trader Joe’s


Serving size: 2 ounces

"This has a nice layer of pastrami seasoning along the edges and gives a good flavor,” said one judge. He liked the marbling of fat in the meat but still craved a moister texture. One said it would be great on a Father’s Day sandwich with lots of mustard. Another judge had several samples of this offering, saying he would definitely buy the brand for a sandwich tray or to pack for a family outing.

Calories: 80

Fat/fiber: 2g / 0g

Sugar/sodium:0g / 340mg

Carbs/protein: 2g / 13g

Shopping information: $4.99 for an 8-ounce package.

Would they buy? Three of the four judges said yes.


Judges would have preferred this brand had more fat and less salt. One said it left him craving a drink after the tasting. It had a good roast beef flavor, but not a lot of varied seasonings. “It’s a little too bland,” said one taster. One judge liked it the best, though. He said, “This is moist, aromatic and tastes deli-fresh. I think it’s the perfect blend of lean and fat. It’s excellent.”

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Serving size: 2 ounces

Calories: 80

Fat/fiber: 2.5g / 0g

Sugar/sodium: 1g / 390mg

Carbs/protein: 1g / 12g

Shopping information: $4.99 for an 8-ounce package from Trader Joe’s.

Would they buy? Two of the four judges said yes.

Also sampled

Gordon Choice ($14.49 for a 2-pound package from Gordon Food Service); Boar’s Head ($6.89 for a half-pound from Publix); and Dietz & Watson($5.50 for a half-pound from Winn Dixie).

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Elaine Cloud Goller, writer, director, performer and realtor; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Daniel Figueroa IV, Digital Producer a the Tampa Bay Times.