(Videography by Todd Rosenberg)
There’s been a resurgence in demand for all things smoked, partly due to the amount of press places like Mile End in New York and Schwartz’s in Montreal receive (the latter doesn’t smoke their meat anymore, by the way. I’ve been inside their kitchen and seen the proof). But I’ve always felt that smoked food deserves praise – barbecue is a great example – and I was reminded of this last week while devouring a plate of smoked Arctic char at The Publican. While most of the smoking we know of refers to brisket and pork, it’s hard not to love meat that’s been first cured for a week, then gently smoked and roasted.
All month long we’ve been visiting the Chicago French Market, checking out some of my favorite bites. For today’s final installment, we hit the Fumare Meats counter, where they also sell plenty of cured and encased meat to go, but their Montreal-style smoked meat (a.k.a. pastrami) is a sight to behold. The lunch lines are now infamous, and the simple sandwich – rye, mustard, meat – is ethereal in its simplicity. It’s minimalist Jewish soul food; the kind of three ingredient dish that gets my heart racing. The sandwich is something you should eat, and if you want to impress your next house party, pick up an entire smoked brisket and hand slice it yourself at the shindig. You’ll be the most popular kid at the dance.
Note: I’m taking a little vacation this week, and will be back after Labor Day. Have a deliciously safe holiday weekend.