It’s National Pastrami Day. Where to get a sandwich in DC

WASHINGTON — Jan. 14 is National Pastrami Day, and the North American Meat Institute and Beef Checkoff would like you to get your pastrami on.

They’ve even put together a Guide to Pastrami.

Americans’ love of pastrami dates back to its arrival in the U.S. in the late 1800s when, according to the Meat Institute, it was first served in New York City by Lithuanian immigrant Sussman Volk, who was given the recipe by a Romanian friend in repayment for a favor.

Pastrami became mainstream in the 1920s and 1930s when delicatessens in New York City’s theater district started selling pastrami sandwiches on rye with mustard and a pickle.

The pastrami sandwich became closely linked with Jewish culture and celebration, and pastrami was commonly served at weddings and bar mitzvahs — always on rye.

Like corned beef, pastrami is brined and cured beef brisket. Unlike corned beef, which is boiled, pastrami is slathered in spices — predominantly coriander, mustard seed and paprika — and smoked.

New York’s famous Katz’s Deli, the oldest surviving New York deli, stacks about 15,000 pounds of pastrami on rye every week.

Looking for a good pastrami sandwich in D.C.? Here are the 15 best places to get one, according to Foursquare reviewers.

Want to try pastrami without the rye? Beef Checkoff and the Meat Institute have a breakfast, lunch and dinner pastrami hack in this video:

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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