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Need Help First Pastrami Attempt

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I was excited about my first attempt at making pastrami using a brine method.  I found some recipes on the net and picked different ingredients from each.  Then made it up and put it in the fridge yesterday.  All the recipes I have read called for pink salt (pragues powder #1) which I was not able to locate at any food store.  Instead, I found Morton's Tender Quick and used that.  I read the directions on the back and followed those but now I am doubting myself on whether it's correct or not.  So I could use some expert advice on whether the following recipe will turn out to be safe to eat.


5 - 7 pound brisket trimmed


1 gallon of water

1 cup of kosher salt

1 cup of Morton's Tender Quick

2 teapoon course ground pepper

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

8 cloves of garlic

1 cut red onion

6 bay leaves

1 teaspoon allspice


Heated water, dissolved ingredients, cooled water and placed in a 2 gallon ziploc bag with brisket.  I was going to leave it in the fridge for 12 - 13 days.


I know everyone will have a different opinion on the ingredients but my main concern is whether the amount of Tender Quick is too little or too much.  Based on my readings it appears that some say 1 tablespoon per pound and if that's the case then I have too much MTQ (1 cup = 16 tablespoons?) instead of 5 - 7 tablespoons.  Then reading the back of the MTQ package it states, for brining dissolve 1 cup in to 4 cups of water.  I just added the 1 cup but now not sure if it meant 1 cup for every 4 cups of water.  If so, then I have too little of MTQ in 1 gallon of water (16 cups).  


Oh so much to learn!!!  At this point any advice is greatly appreciated!!!

post #2 of 14

Since this is a wet cure, you'll be fine with the amount of TQ used.  12-13 days will be more than enough given that you've added additional salt as well.


As long as you refrigerate while brining, and hot smoke when done, you'll have some good sammichs soon...

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info cranky buzzard.

If this turns out well and I decide to make more what amount of MTQ would you recommend?
post #4 of 14
crazyred, morning..... You are not supposed to dissolve any curing ingredient in hot water..... the water should be at room temp.... has something to do with screwing up the sodium nitrite.... they say at smoker temps above 130 ish, it breaks down or something... I haven't found any reference to what happens, just don't do it......
post #5 of 14

That pastrami is going to be salty. make sure and do a fry test before smoking , soak in cold water changing water every half  hr and do another fry test till you get salt level where you want it.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice everyone. I have read posts saying to fry test a piece but how exactly is this done?
post #7 of 14

Slice a piece off of one side about the thickness of thick sliced bacon , fry it and taste it

post #8 of 14
I will be watching ,, coffee by myself .have fun
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

12 days curing
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

20+ hours in water to reduce salt
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

24 hours with dry rub
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Now today it's on to the pit for some smoke
post #13 of 14
So how were the results? I have been kicking the idea of trying to make pastrami myself.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Actually, it turned out better than I thought it would.  Everyone in the family and even the in-laws enjoyed it.  I will definitely make it again and modify the curing salt with pragues powder.  Thanks for everyones input on this.

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