Love and Olive Oil

Sandwich Club: Pastrami on Rye

Pastrami on Rye Sandwiches from @loveandoliveoil
If Taylor were to start his own food blog, it would most definitely, without a doubt, be about sandwiches. Or, maybe beer and sandwiches. But definitely sandwiches.

However, since having two food blogs in one family is certifiably unpractical, we’ve decided to give him a space on this blog to share his love of sandwiches (aka good things between bread). This will be the first in a monthly series we are calling Taylor’s Sandwich Club. While the recipes may be simple, he loves learning the history and stories behind his favorite classic sandwiches.

And so, without further adieu, take it away Taylor!

Taylor: My introduction to pastrami sandwiches came from a summer job I had in college at a place called the Hofbrau in Morro Bay, CA. While the restaurant specialized in roast beef sandwiches and fish and chips, they also had an array of other meat options such as pastrami and corned beef.

One day we made the wrong sandwich for a customer, and rather than letting a perfectly good sandwich go to waste, I dug in and gobbled it down. From that moment on I was hooked on pastrami. The thing I love about that Hofbrau sandwich, and the one we created here, is that it is amazingly simple. Bread, cheese, and meat. That’s it. The Hofbrau steamed their sandwiches, but in lieu of a proper steamer, we wrapped ours in foil and baked it for a few minutes to warm the meat, melt the cheese, and soften the bread.

While the modern version of pastrami is entirely American, the word pastrami has its roots in a Turkish word that describes a meat that is spiced and dried, presumably as a way to preserve the meat before refrigeration. Jewish immigrants brought the tradition with them to the United States in the 19th century. Over time, the word pastrami has come to mean a meat that is cured in a brine, and then smoked and steamed, or baked.

I decided that if I was truly going to understand pastrami, I needed to make some myself. The process really isn’t that complicated, it just takes a little time. We used this recipe from Food 52 and adapted the quantities for a smaller piece of brisket. Since we don’t have a smoker, we opted to bake our pastrami instead, and it still turned out great. To impart some smoke flavor, the original recipe calls for shiro dashi, but you can also use a little bit of smoked salt to add some smoky goodness. The flavor of the homemade pastrami was incredible, but I’ll admit that I would have preferred thinner slices than what I was able to accomplish with my knife skills. If only Lindsay were willing get rid of a few dishes so we would have space for a meat slicer…

Pastrami on Rye Sandwiches from @loveandoliveoil

(Lindsay) Me again. I think this image needs some explanation.

A few years ago, while browsing the random toy and party favor aisle at the store (what we were doing there I have no idea… looking for cat toys, perhaps) Taylor managed to sneak these into the cart. Army men cupcake toppers. He just thought they were SO funny. They’ve been sitting on the shelf ever since, and he’s been threatening to stick them on top of one of my treats right before I photograph it. And yet he always forgets… until now.

After I’d snapped a few shots of this meaty sandwich, while I was adjusting my framing, he pulled out the little green men and stuck them on top of the sandwich and coleslaw, giggling the whole time. I cracked up at the sheer silliness, and yet, brilliance, of the resulting shot. I especially love the soldier waving at you from his perch atop a towering stack of meat and bread and melted cheese… perfection. Taylor wins the internet with this one.

So, yeah… don’t be surprised if all of Taylor’s sandwiches include army men.

(Taylor) Or zombies!

Pastrami Sandwiches

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  • 8 slices rye bread
  • 1 pound sliced pastrami
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Top 4 slices of bread with pastrami and cheese, top with remaining bread slices.
  2. Wrap each sandwich in aluminum foil; bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and meat is warmed through. Serve immediately with a side of coleslaw.
All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. Outstanding

  2. Great addition little green men and I am so hungry right now. That looks delicious.

  3. I always enjoy seeing other guys writing blog posts about food! And that sandwich looks delicious!

  4. Such a fun series!! Those toy soldiers are hilarious. 

  5. We love pastrami here, and sandwiches! I just wanted to share that I showed the army men photo to my youngest son and he got a real kick out of it. = )

  6. I adore you guys! And this post. And this sandwich!!

  7. This post is giving me agonizing hunger pangs! I’m facing a lunch of peanut butter — life is so unfair!

  8. I’m snickering at your sandwich/cupcake toppers.  Those are much too cute, and I can see both my husband and my kids going crazy over something like that.

    Sandwiches are the best.  I would eat only sandwiches if all the bread wouldn’t make me huge.  I have to say though, I would demand some mustard with mine (good dijon!), and probably some minced shallots.  It’s just not a sandwich without them!

  9. Not only does this sandwich look aaammmmazing, but the little army men totally cracked me up! 

  10. I love a good sandwich too :D This looks so simple but delicious. I’d have this instead of the usual peanutbutter-n-jelly any day!

  11. DROOL! This looks awesome.

  12. Great post Taylor, Hmm my mouth is watering, MIght just have to go to the Hofbrau after Ladies Day Golf tomorrow in Morro Bay. And the fog this am reminds me of the summer you and Lindsay spent here!  I once owned a meat slicer when I regularly made turkey breasts for lunch meat. One tip for the thinnest slices possible, if you do not own one, is to refrigerate the meat before slicing. I look forward to your monthly sandwich posts.

  13. haha! I love this! I’m all for sandwich recipes! Bring ’em, taylor! And the army men, well, we’ll just accept your weird with your wonderful ;)

  14. I love the Army men. Isn’t there an “artist” who makes foodscapes with miniature people, etc.? I think his photos have been published online and in books. This is an idea whose time has come!
    (This sandwich looks delicious.)

  15. I love your army men picture! So funny :-) That sandwich really looks good though!

  16. Looks so good! Curtis wants me to make pastrami now and he can’t wait to see more army men on food! :)

  17. Haha I LOVE this post! If my hubby had a blog it would also be about sandwiches and beer.
    Especially pastrami sandwiches…he is totally obsessed, so he’ll love this.
    And those army men? BEST PICTURE! Pinned!

  18. This actually looks amazing. My mouth is watering!
    Bea x

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