Cali's Pastrami King

By D.J. Costantino


D.J. Costantino
The O.G.: Wexler's pastrami on rye with mustard and house pickles
The O.G.: Wexler's pastrami on rye with mustard and house pickles

Micah Wexler and his team are making a full ton of pastrami every week, and the city of Los Angeles can’t get enough. With their third location opening in Century City this year, the pastrami king has developed a method to keep feeding the demand. This is true Jewish deli food, bolstered by training in Michelin-starred kitchens. “Everything we do here, we try to be traditional and take things back to their roots. Our cooking doesn’t put ‘spins’ on everything. We want to make the best fucking pastrami anyone has ever had,” says Wexler. Here is how he does it.

  1. The Beef: Wexler uses hormone and antibiotic-free whole beef brisket.
  2. Cure: Brine for one week in salt, sugar, and spices.
  3. Rub: After the brined brisket is rinsed, Wexler coats it with a blend of black pepper, coriander, and juniper berries, among other spices. Th en he dries it overnight. Th e smoke won’t adhere to or penetrate the meat unless the exterior is dry.
  4. Smoke: The next day, the meat receives a three-hour treatment in a hot smoker cabinet with oak.
  5. CVap: The brisket goes into a CVap oven for a 10-hour program. The result is tender with integrity. The brisket is ready for slicing without falling apart.
  6. For the O.G.: 6½ ounces of sliced pastrami piled high on rye from Etchea Bakery, a Kosciusko mustard schmear, and house pickles

Respect the Classics
Wexler and his business partner Mike Kassar have mad love for the old-school dishes they ate growing up. Here are some of the duo’s all-time favorite Jewish deli foods and where to find them:

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Borscht 
Langer’s Deli + Restaurant  | Los Angeles

Potato Knish 
Yonah Schimmel’s  | Lower East Side, Manhattan

Matzo Ball Soup
Greenblatt’s Deli + Fine Wine West Hollywood

Matjes Herring 
Sable’s Smoked Fish  | Upper East Side, Manhattan

Hard Salami
Shaevitz Kosher Market | Chicago

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