Easy Tiger in Austin is many things. A bakery and coffee shop, a beer garden, and table tennis tournament grounds. They also have a great food menu with homemade sausages and sandwiches. The most impressive might be the pastrami sandwich. The slices of cured smoked meat are a little thicker than what you’d get from a deli, and they provide a good mix of lean and fatty slices. It’s topped with sauerkraut, swiss, and “Easy Island” dressing, and it all comes between two slices of house made rye. A whole sandwich is $14, but I had all I needed with just an $8 half (pictured).
Pastrami is normally cured in a wet brine for several days. The meat is then rinsed, rubbed with black pepper and coriander before being smoked then steamed to doneness. Easy Tiger changes things up a bit. The meat is dry cured more like Montreal style smoked meat. It gets that aggressive rub, but there’s a lot more than pepper and coriander going on. Instead of steaming the meat to completion the whole thing is smoked in an electric cabinet smoker with hickory chips until tender. This dry cure method can leave some excessive residual saltiness if not rinsed (sometimes even soaked) well. Easy Tiger’s version is definitely on the salty side, but there are so many other bold flavors like the pepper, the kraut and the smoke that you’ll hardly notice. Just don’t forget a beer to wash it down and a croissant to-go on your way out the door for tomorrow’s breakfast.