How to Reheat Pastrami

Pastrami is most definitely one of those meats that’s best served hot. If you prefer your pastrami a bit chilled, you’re gonna need to look elsewhere.

If you’ve got a ton of leftover pastrami from yesterday’s lunch, or you’re stealing half of your spouse’s sandwich from the fridge, you’re likely wondering if you can reheat it.

Is it possible to reheat pastrami without drying it out? Of course!

The best method to reheat leftover pastrami is actually the microwave. Take your cold slices and wrap them in a damp paper towel. Heat on low for 5-6 minutes as slowly as you can.

However, if you’re looking for a different method for whatever reason, the following list should help you out with that cold pastrami.

Microwave

Tossing your cuts into the microwave is by far the quickest and easiest method on this list. Just about everyone has one in their kitchen and knows how to use it. The humble microwave may have a bad rep when it comes to reheating food, but there are some things it does best with.

Using the microwave will keep your pastrami tender, heating it quickly while maintaining that perfect texture. Nuke it for too long, especially those perfectly thin slices, and you risk drying it out or getting a nasty rubbery texture.

  • Place a layer of paper towel on a microwave-safe plate
  • Lay your pastrami slices on the plate. You can stack them, but not too many to ensure you get an even heat
  • Lay a damp paper towel on top of the slices
  • Heat your pastrami for 20-40 seconds on low power
  • If you’re heating up a lot of slices at once, add 20-30 seconds on top of that
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The damp paper towel on top of the pastrami acts like a meat steamer, trapping in the moisture so the slices don’t end up dry or hardening.

Alternatively, if you don’t have any paper towels, you can cover a microwave-safe bowl or container with plastic wrap and poke some holes in it, with a tablespoon of water or maybe broth in the bottom.

Oven

You really can’t go wrong with an oven for reheating pastrami. Especially if you have an absolute ton of slices you need to warm up. Worthy of note, however, the oven will likely make your pastrami a bit crispier – especially if you opted for thin-cut slices.

The best part of this method (and the skillet) is that you can toast your bread for the sandwich at the same time as heating up your pastrami.

If you keep your baking time short and sweet, you won’t burn your meat.

Just the pastrami

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Layer aluminum foil into a baking sheet or cookie tray
  • Spray the sheet with cooking spray
  • Layer your pastrami onto the sheet
  • Sprinkle water or brother over the slices
  • Layer another sheet of aluminum foil on top
  • Heat for 5-10 minutes, or until thoroughly heated

Whole sandwich

This method really isn’t that different than just heating up the pastrami slices alone. Just wrap the sandwich in aluminum foil, and heat for a maximum time of 10 minutes.

You’ll want to do a little shorter cooking time for the whole sandwich, to make sure you don’t burn or dry out the bread.

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Stovetop

Reheating your pastrami sandwich in a skillet on a stove burner is a great way to get a second helping out of your leftover pastrami. Because the pastrami is a high-protein food, it likely won’t dry out too easily.

One at a time

  • Preheat your skillet over medium-high heat
  • Spray the skillet with cooking spray
  • Layer the pastrami into the skillet
  • Cook for 3 minutes on each side
  • If you want to toast your bread as well, slap some butter in the skillet and fry your bread on each side for 1-2 minutes, until you reach your desired golden hue
  • Remove from heat and serve immediately 

Another method, if you want to do it grilled cheese style

Whole sandwich

  • Preheat your skillet over medium-high heat
  • Spread butter or oil in the skillet
  • Take your already built sandwich and place it into the skillet 
  • Cook for 3 minutes on each side
  • Remove from skillet and serve immediately
  • Optionally, you can add cheese at the last 60 seconds to let it melt

The skillet is an excellent reheating method for a lot of food, not just your delicious pastrami sandwich.

While this method is incredibly fast and easy, you don’t want to heat up your pastrami too quickly. You can dry it out that way.

Final thoughts

Most people will agree: pastrami is best hot. These methods will help you reheat your leftover pastrami, making it just as hot and delicious as it was when first made.

Whether you pan fry it, slap it in the microwave, or toss it into the oven – you really can’t go wrong. So long as you’re careful and pay attention, not letting the pastrami heat up to fast or dry out.

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Pastrami can be heated up by itself, or together as a whole sandwich like a grilled cheese. Many say this is the way to go.

Knowing how to reheat pastrami in many different methods will be a gift to yourself, your friends, and your family if you often serve up pastrami sandwiches. Even without fancy kitchen equipment, you can have a fan favorite deli treat right in your own kitchen – time and time again.