Hey folks! I've been reading and smoking and reading and smoking.
I figured I had enough guests for Thanksgiving that I'd run out of Turkey after just a few days of leftovers. So I shopped for a brisket or a corned beef around Seattle on Wednesday. On the way to Market House Meats (which was closed, dammit) I decided to browse in a store I assumed I didn't like, Safeway. They had about five nice looking corned beef briskets but one really stood out - I dreamt about it all day as I came up empty at other stores and went about my day. It was Turkey Day Eve, so I hoped no one even looked at the briskets! I ran back after 'work' and it was still there. Half a packer, from Double R Ranch (which looks halfway legit)... It was 5 lbs, double thick, with the flap of flat removed, and great marbling and color. A grocer of a certain age stopped and vocally admired the cut while I paused in another aisle!
I used Meathead at Amazingribs' recipe pretty closely. After tasting I wish I had soaked and debrined more than ten hours. I might also use a little less paprika next time, but it did take it in a basturma direction, which also seems legit. I have eaten at Katz's, and it was not my tip top fave, mostly because the carver gave me hunks of meat instead of thin slices.
My fave deli in New York is 2nd Ave Deli, and come to think of it, I do have the 2nd Ave Deli cookbook on the shelf, I should read their method!
I coated with olive oil, applied the rub liberally, and sat it uncovered in the fridge for ten hours (recipe calls for two days).
While it came up towards room temp, I heated up the Memphis Advantage (thank you craigslist!) to 225. Same temp the whole time, no crutch/wrap. I alternated a few hours each of hickory, then maple/cherry, then hickory. Twice I mopped with a little watered down cider.
Stalled for five long hours at 151. Stalled, but I read about the stall, so I watched it stall. Then at 10PM, ten hours into the slow ride, I measured 163. 11PM 170. Midnight 182. 1AM 185. 2AM 190. 3AM 190. Another stall. More help from the stored knowledge of SMF. I pulled it at 3AM, an hour after it first measured 190 'good for slicing'. I had wanted to take it to 203-205 for that experience, but 15 hours seemed smokey enough and the recipe calls for steaming anyway. Even at 163 the probe was going in easy. =) This was a nice piece of brisket!
I double wrapped it in foil and toweled it til dawn, then put it in the fridge untouched (!!) for a couple of days. I passed the time by eating leftover turkey and shopping for pork. Joined Restaurant Depot today and got a pair of shoulders for pulled pork... also pecan and mesquite pellets from cash and carry... didn't like their big grey injected packers though. I spotted a nicely marbled big packer at Restaurant Depot I might wanna go back and get for texas brisket. lol.
Ok, my friends bailed on the pastrami feed today because of the game (Hawks won!). So, 'reluctantly', lol, I steamed and made a NY-style sandwich for myself (okay, NY flavored, I only stacked it one inch) on a decent marble rye (cash and carry had three to choose from, the Couer D'alene bakery had caraway seeds and smelled right). Mustard, a swath of horseradish for no good reason, and very thin onion slices. The steaming really did finish off the look and feel, very glad I did that mystery step. It did soften the crust but that was more than made up for by the tenderness it gave the beef. Mmmmmm. Mmmm, as it says in the title. I only steamed a third of the pastrami loaf, and before the final slicing, I cleaved the point and flat apart so I could slice each across the grain.
^ before and after steaming part of the pastrami:
Edited by ampexian - 11/29/15 at 10:49pm