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I visited Montreal for the first time fourteen years ago. I thought I knew a lot about Texas barbecue back then, but I knew nothing of Montreal-style smoked meat beyond what the guidebooks said. The general advice was to visit Schwartz’s Deli (established 1928), by far the city’s most famous purveyor. Or you could try Main Deli—nicknamed “the Main”—across Saint Laurent Boulevard if the lines at Schwartz’s are too long. I braved the line at Schwartz’s and left Montreal with good memories of one of its culinary staples. But I still didn’t have a real understanding of how its smoked meat, or viande fumée, was prepared, or how it differed from its close cousin, New York pastrami.Last month, I flew back to Canada with a…
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