In a loft of the Factory Lehman of Barcelona, the fifth barrel of the boys of Rooftop Smokehouse breeds dust. Already installed in this old industrial complex, the barrels where the oak wood used to burn with duck, octopus or beef pieces were only material for the memory. From when they started, back in 2014, to try smoking on the roof of their apartment in the Sant Antoni neighborhood. Now these barrels have been replaced by more modern furnaces and the fireplace of 1850 of the Factory Lehman, restored, has become the new outlet of fumes. No longer should you look for Rooftop Smokehouse products in pop ups or ephemeral events. They sell on line and have opened their own local, Pastrami Bar / El Paradiso, where cocktails are combined with snacks from their star product: pastrami.
The best-selling Jewish kitchen is an expensive and slow-working product, warns Carla Rodamilans, a member of Rooftop Smokehouse along with two chefs from Hoffman School, Buster Turner and Jakob Zeller. To make pastrami you have to count, first of all, with a calf’s breast of good quality. He is left for three weeks in brine, smoked for 16 hours and finally dried for two days. “If it is not smoked it is not pastrami,” Rodamilans points out, which marks the differences with corned beef, similar to pastrami but instead of being smoked, is boiled in vinegar. It is a craft process that is difficult to accelerate without distorting the product. They sell it through their website in a box with the kit to make the canon sandwich: in addition to pastrami, pickles or pickles, beer mustard and sauerkraut or fermented cabbage. It costs 24 euros and only lacks the rye bread. Kosher food, it is considered a heresy to eat pastrami with bread smeared smeared with mayonnaise: there is nothing that would betray more to a WASP (in the United States, of Protestant and Anglo-Saxon origin). For something in Hannah and his Sisters, the character of Woody Allen was enough to stock these two ingredients, along with a Bible and a crucifix, to complete his conversion to Catholicism.
Although the origins of the pastrami are settled between the Jews of Eastern Europe and those who emigrated to the USA, lately abounds in Barcelona: a search on TripAdvisor gives up to 56 results. Many locals have turned it into a claim of their menu, such as the Elsa and Fred gastrobar, which accompanies it with candied onions, arugula and mustard; The Bar Rufian, who opts for the glass, the Tropico, which serves with eggs benedict, or the restaurant of the concept store Iluzione, which is played with a focaccia of pastrami. It is even available in some supermarket chains. “We run the risk of vulgarizing a good product,” warns Mario Ponce, Pastrami Barcelona. Shortly after opening the Hungarian delicatessen Paprika Gourmet, its promoters, Daniel Moreno and Veronika Fazekas, began to provide pastrami to establishments and individuals of all Spain under this brand. “In the first year of Pastrami Barcelona we had about 15 restaurants as clients, now we are going for 50 and we have arrived in Madrid, Valencia, Murcia, Basque Country and even Almeria,” says Ponce. Pastrami Barcelona buys the product an Austrian manufacturer. And they also have their own bar, Cal Marius 449, where a portion of snacks serve croquettes and pastrami pumps.
According to Ponce, the pastrami boom is due to the “nobility” of the product itself: it is difficult for someone to taste it and does not like it, he argues, and has a genuine flavor that has nothing to do with veal, like Iberian ham does not taste like pork. Hollywood has done the rest, beginning with Meg Ryan’s feigned orgasm in When Harry Met Sally, he took a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s in New York to everyone on the town. As if the legion of films were not enough to promote the product, Pastrami Barcelona is very active in the networks, with hashtags like #pastramilovers or #pastramibcn.