Jun 26 2011

DIY Pastrami

Posted by Seth in Food

I’m a fat Jewish guy – of course I love Pastrami.   Normally I enjoy it over at Harold’s Deli, but Lee and myself  got some good deals on corned beefs at the restaurant depot (I’m talking sub $2 a pound).  These things were bohemoths, the smallest ones we could find weighed in at 15 pounds. 

Besides boiling to make some delicious corned beef, I decided to throw part of one in the smoker and make some Pastrami.  It’s pretty routine as far as bbq goes..  rub, smoke, slice, and eat! 

Because I bought a corned beef already in the brine (you can go ahead and work for weeks to do your own, have fun with that), and there is salt in the rub, I want to get some of the salt out of the meat before cooking.  Put the corned beef brisket in a big pot of water and let it soak in the fridge for 4-6 hours before smoking, changing the water out a few times. This will get a good bit of the salt out of the solution.

The rub consists of:

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorn
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 8 cloves minced garlic

Finely grind the seeds and peppercorns in a spice grinder. Take the brisket out of the pool of water and dry it (if you went this route), then combine all of the ingredients above and rub the brisket nice and good. 

Pastrami, out of the smoker and rested

Place it in a 225 degree smoker, but don’t do a heavy smoke like you would a pork butt or bbq brisket – you want a light smoke for pastrami.  I went with hickory and apple, light amounts at a time.  You can t ake the pastrami off of the smoker when it reaches 165 degrees, and place in a tin foil tent and let rest for 20 minutes, then slice against the grain.  The end temperature is a big subject of debate on the Internet, it seems.  For BBQ brisket, I’d let it go to 185.   I took this Pastrami off at 165, I will probably let it go to 175 next time to see the difference.  It wasn’t bad at all, don’t get me wrong, but I think the extra 10 degrees would help with tenderness.

Pastrami sliced up. Sorry for the crappy pictures, I forgot to take a picture with a real camera before I ate it all.