Pastrami is a style of beef brisket that is cured and then smoked in order to preserve its texture and flavour. It is most commonly eaten as a deli sandwich on rye bread with mustard and a side of pickles.
Pastrami starts off as a traditionally cheap cut of beef known as brisket. The brisket is cured, a process in which salt is used to preserve the meat and improve its texture and flavour. The cure can be in the form of a dry rub or a brine. After the curing process, the brisket is referred to as corned beef. It is the smoking/cooking step which differentiates the two meats. Once the meat is smoked, it is referred to as pastrami.