Homemade Pastrami - ALMOST from scratch!

Pastrami starts with a beef brisket, which is brined for anywhere from 3 to 14 days depending on who is doing the prep. This process is called "Corning" and turns the brisket into "Corned Beef". The difference between Corned Beef and pastrami is that if you want to eat Corned Beef from here you just boil the meat, and if you want Pastrami then the Corned Beef is seasoned and then smoked to turn it into a Pastrami. Having tried this process from start to finish, and having had a large brisket in the refrigerator for an inordinate amount of time, and owing to my limited patience, I find that it is very easy and economical to simply skip the brining or corning process and buy a pre-packaged already brined /corned beef. Then all of this (with a very little planning) can be done in one day.
Thanks and Kudos to Chuck Martling for his recipes and methods on this one, from which my recipe is adapted...

1. Buy a packaged brined but un-cooked corned beef.
Take a look at the beef and make sure there is good marbling if you want more flavor, or a thin layer of fat running through the middle.

2. Rinse off the corned beef/pastrami and allow it to soak in cold water for at least one hour- two is better. This will help remove the salts from the packed brine that helped with the transformation from brisket to the beef being “corned”. Don’t skip this step; it will make the difference between your eating a corned beef or our goal of smoking a nice Pastrami.

3. Rub the pastrami with recipe below while the smoker gets up to temp
Adapted from Chuck Marting's recipe rub #3 ( www.bossmanbbq.com ) below:

· 2 Tbsp Freshly ground Black Pepper (or more)
· 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 tsp whole coriander seed toasted in a pan and crushed in a mortar/pestle
· 1/3 Tsp Ground Thyme
· 1 Tsp Granulated Onion powder
· 1 Tsp Paprika
· 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
· *1 Tsp Juniper berry (Added/optional)

4. Smoke the beef at 225-250...with a mix of Oak and Sugar Maple woods for flavor. If desired you can, use a spray bottle to mist the pastrami with apple juice, Dr. Pepper or any other type of basting spray you would prefer to help keep the pastrami moist.

When the pastrami reaches an internal temperature of 140, remove it from the smoker, add 1 cup of apple juice and then double wrap it with aluminum foil before returning it to the smoker.
Let the pastrami continue to smoke until an internal temperature of 160-165 is reached (about 1 1/2 -2 hours), then remove it and allow it to set for 45 minutes to an hour.
Note: the final product pictured below is pretty lean and has okay flavor. If you are trying to duplicate that old deli pastrami from your youth, look for more marbling in the brisket you buy, or get one cut from the side where there is a layer of fat through the middle... you can see it through the package you buy. The rendering of the fat through the slow-smoking process adds flavor!

I usually let this refrigerate overnight... after slicing it cold, I wrap the slices in foil and heat them at 300 - 350 for about 7 - 10 minutes for a hot pastrami sandwich....

Note: According to Steven Raichelin in his "How To Grill" cookbook, pastrami is more of a method than a meat... it can be made with other meats or poultry... he has a recipe for turkey pastrami in his book that I will try soon!.

1 comment:

  1. oh god. i need to take you to visit a slaughter house...