I have been indisposed for awhile and was glad to get back to smoking. I have made pastrami a couple of times but the Bradley site (I use a Bradley Smoker) warns against using an inside round for pastrami as it is too lean. That made sense to me but I am trying to cut fat from my diet and it led me to wonder if round couldn't successfully be made into pastrami. I searched this forum and found a recipe for Deb's Pastrami.
I started by using her brine formula:
1 gallon cold water
1 cup kosher salt
2-1/2 tsp prague powder #1
3/4 cup white sugar
6 bay leaves
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp juniper berries
2 tsp black peppercorns
I cut it in half as I was only using a 3 pound inside round roast. I cut the roast in half and placed it in the brine.
I let it sit in the refrigerator for 6 days. I injected the thicker part with the brine twice. Deb's recipe calls for 7 days but I had a smaller piece of beef than she called for with a whole brisket.
I took it out, rinsed it and soaked it in cold water for 30 minutes. Then I dried it with paper towel.
I used Deb's rub:
1/3 cup Butchers Grade COURSE black pepper (not table ground)
1/3 cup juniper berries
1/4 cup coriander
Again, I cut it in half due to the smaller meat sizes.
I then wrapped in cellophane and put it in the fridge for 2 days.
I took the wrapping off and put it back in the fridge overnight.
Then, I put it in the Bradley Smoker with no smoke at 140 F for one hour.
Then, I smoked it for 1 hour and 40 minutes over apple and hickory at 200 F.
I continued at 200 F in the Bradley for another 1 hour and 20 minutes without smoke. Deb recommends 3 hours of smoking but She Who Must Be Obeyed likes lighter smoke.Through all of this, I followed Deb's recommendation and sprayed it a couple of times with apple juice. Here it is afterwards.
I wrapped the pieces in foil and added some apple juice to the packages. This is not in Deb's version but I figured the leaner round could use the moisture.
I put the meat in the oven at 230 F (it is still cool here in the Canadian Rockies and I figured I might as well heat the house as the great outdoors). It took 7 hours to get it to Deb's recommended internal temperature of 180 F. I pulled it and let it cool in the foil for an hour.
I tried a test slice and it was great!
The final verdict is that Deb's seasoning recommendations are great. The flavour was a deep rich pastrami flavour. The round meat came out moist and tasty. There is no doubt that the texture is not as good as a brisket but it isn't bad and, for those of us who are trying to cut fat from our diet, pastrami made from inside round is a viable alternative. This tastes great and the loss of texture is definite but not terrible.