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Help with Pastrami?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys and Gals,

I've been wanting to try making Pastrami in the smoker and have google the web looking for info - There's plenty but very little to do with what type of wood to smoke the brisket with.

I'm sure some of you have experience with this tasty treat and I'm asking for your help with this project.

I'm in the process of brining the brisket and have a week or so before I'm ready to smoke it, so....I'd appreciate any recipes for rubs you might have and also what type of wood chunks/sawdust, etc, temperatures and times - Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 21
Hi Bob!
I use the same pastrami recipe for beef and venison. I've never used a rub after corning, (before smoking)...I bet a basic pickling spice mixture would be good. Just a guess.

This is the recipe I use

Corned venison (or beef)
This will do 4 to 6 lbs of meat

5 TBS Tender Quick

2 TBS brown sugar

1 TBS black pepper (ground)

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground bay leaves

1 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Trim fat from meat. Mix all ingredients together, rub into all sides of meat. Place meat in plastic bag or glass container, refrigerate. Let meat cure for 5 days per inch of meat thickness.
Rinse in cool water.........You can slice and fry it or cook in crock on low til tender.
if you want to make pastrami smoke it low for 6 to 8 hours, depending on how big it is.
I smoke at around 220 degrees, use hickory or apple or both, pull the meat off at 170 degrees, wrap and let it rest for a couple of hours.
There are a LOT of corned beef recipes, they are all good. This is just the one I have been using for a long time.
Make sure you rinse the meat before cooking to get rid of some of the saltiness.

Can't wait to see your pastrami, take lots of pictures for us.smile.gif
post #3 of 21
As far as wood... I'd not use mesquite...course i don't care for it anyway. Alot of folks feel hickory is strong too. Consider a fruit wood...apple or cherry, or pecan if ya have it. Maple is a nice gentle smoke. Pastrami is more about the cure/pickle than the smoke.
post #4 of 21
so i take it then........corned beef isn't smoked, but paster-reeni is?

thats the only diff.?
post #5 of 21
Pretty much so. You can use spices on the meat while smoking...I know some folks do and some don't.

I agree with Rich about hickory, it doesn't take much.smile.gif
post #6 of 21
i have HAD paster rini..........no smoke flavor..........

to me........corn beef has a bit of a red color?
like a cure?

where, paster-reeeeeniiiiii........looks like roast beef well done.........

or am i wrong, again, as usual, normal, .........agin

i don't care for pastrimi, when i have had it........alwful dry to me.......momma loves it
post #7 of 21
I am a Hickory man myself but I don't know if there is a traditional wood for smoking Pastrami. I just picked up a couple of tubs of Juniper berries and some various pepper corns and I am in the process of looking for the best deal on brisket. I was thinking of using the whole brisket if nothing more than for per pound price, but I may opt for just buying a few flats. (I have seen some interesting deals lately)

I have used the brine method before and was thinking about maybe trying the dry cure/ more like a paste method this time or maybe a side by test. Although I think that a brine is safest and easiest for me. (Kind of stick with what you know mentality)


This is a good link to get things rolling, I will try to find one with the Juniper berries and post it too

I say that the brine needs to be boiled to release the flavors of the ingreidents and then cooled before adding the meat to the brine. I also think that there needs to be the dry rub to help make that wonderful bark on the pastrami. I have never injected a brine into a meat, but I am also kicking that idea around. I may screen and finely filter some of my brine and inject the meat before the regular brine bath.

I don't have a solid recipe that I use for the brine or the rub. I know that this kind of goes against all common sense in case I want an exact reproduction next time, but I always tend o drift away from the recipe anyways. I just kind of look at a few different recipes and blend them together.

Here is another link for some varity in spices. Someplace on this site there are a few more recipes including I think one that I may have posted.

post #8 of 21
zapper........the whole packer i was just addressing in a jerky theard.......EXACTLY.......its cheaper to buy that way.........flats get abit pricey
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Thanks for your replies and wisdom - I've printed the recipes and procedures and sort of agree with fruitwood or pecan as the logical choice - Hickory is wonderful on BBQ but seems a bit much for Pastrami as I know it. Did a couple slabs of spareribs this weekend and smelled like I'd been fighting a brushfire for two days - I loved it!

The Juniper Berry trick sounds interesting - I use them for making gin from good quality Vodka and I love their Piney aroma when I'm extracting the oil - Sounds like they'd go really well with Allspice and cracked black peppercorns.

So, thanks again - I'm off to the virtualweberbullet site for more tips!

post #10 of 21
Over on the sausage smoke ring there are some guys that do many old world Italian meat smoke/cure products (Have their own websites too) They use to suggest making Pastrami every St. Patricks day..The would buy the corned beef on sale the day after the holiday. The said too place it in a pan of water in the fridge and soak two hours ..and change the water after an hour.(remove some of the salty taste) Then pat it dry rub with garlic powder and cracked pepper and put it in the smoker..hickory smoking @ 225 to a internal temp of 165-170 degrees...cool it and make some great Ruben sandwiches with your new pastrami..Of course you could use the wood of your choice.. http://home.pacbell.net/lpoli/ and www.schmidling.com These guys do a lot of good stuff..I never made the Pastrami but many said it turned out great...and an easy way to take cheap brisket to $8 a pound
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks a million Old Bill....Not only was there great info on Pastrami but One link actually had a recipe and procedure for Cappicolo - Something I've been serching for for quite a while, so that's a great bonus.

I peeked at your profile....mighty nice mess of fish you got there!

Thanks again

post #12 of 21
Thanks Bob..I fish weekly in Galveston bay. We eat a lot of seafood. I made some corrections to the info about the Pastrami...Put it in cold water in the fridge for an hour ..change the water and leave another hour. Pat dry and rub with garlic powder,corriander and cracked pepper and smoke at 225 until the internal temp is 165-170.

Yep old Len does cure and smoke some good meat...Its a great web site..
post #13 of 21
Here is my procedure, sorry its so long, but the results are Heavenly!!

What I do first is trim the brisket of any hard fat areas. I also trim almost all the fat off the brisket. Remember were making a pastrami not a smoked brisket so the process is different. After trimming the brisket I inject it with a special brine mixture that will help transform the brisket into a beautiful corned beef.

Brine Injection
· 31/2 Cups. Water
· 2 Tbsp Tenderquick (or your choice of curing salts)
· 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
· 2 ts Granulated Garlic
Prepare the above brine and place in your refrigerator until cold. While waiting for the brine to cool, make the following rub which will be the first of three rubs you will make for this process.

Rub 1
· 3 Tbsp Freshly ground Black Pepper
· 1 Tbsp Ground Coriander
· 1 Tsp Ground Thyme
· 1 Tbsp Granulated Onion powder
Mix the above rub and take out 2 Tbsp to mix with your next rub. Save remainder of this rub for when you smoke your pastrami on the big day. Prepare Rub 2 to be applied to your brisket.
Rub 2
· 1/4 C. Tenderquick
· 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
· 1 Tbsp Paprika
· 2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
· 2 Tbsp Rub #1 from above
Once you have the rub ready, inject your brisket with the brine you prepared earlier. Try to inject as much of the brine into the brisket as you can. Once you have finished injecting the brisket, and its holding as much of the brine as possible, coat it with rub 2 all over.
Cover and refrigerate the brisket for five days. If you can’t wait this long you can remove it after three days, but I feel waiting the full five days gives the pastrami a much fuller flavor. Once in the fridge turn the brisket at least once a day from top to bottom.
! Rinse off the pastrami and allow it to soak in cold water for at least one hour. This will help remove the salts and rub that helped with the transformation. Don’t skip this step; it will make the difference between your eating a corned beef or our goal of smoked pastrami. While the pastrami is soaking, prepare your smoker for the cook as well as prepare rub 3 for the smoking debut.
Rub 3
· The remainder of rub 1 from our first preparation day.
· 1 Tsp Paprika
· 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
· 1 Tbs Freshly Ground Coarse Black Pepper (or more, if you like your pastrami with a heavy peppery crust on the outside)
Remove the pastrami from its soak and apply rub 3 all over it. Now place that bad boy on your smoker! I smoke it until an internal of 145 is reached using a combo of Oak and Sugar Maple for smoke.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Great Stuff Bossman, Thanks! The rubs themselves are worth the effort just to have on the shelf. I've printed these puppies and added them to the big book of recipes!

Old Bill, Thanks for the revision and again for the links - Our company is moving to the Dallas Ft Worth area in June, maybe we can hook up and I'll haul your bait bucket for you and we can swap some lies!

post #15 of 21
Never tried this, but will someday.

The Deli's in NY brine and smoke their own, before serving, they steam their pastrami in large steamers. I thought about using a chinese bamboo steamer next time I make it.PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #16 of 21
The steamer would make it very moist, but in my humble opinion, NOTHING beats a good smoked pastrami. But then again I'm a little diffrent, I love my pastrami sandwiches on tosted sourdough bread! Sorry Rye just doesnt cut it for me biggrin.gif
post #17 of 21
yeah i need a strong rye

but the only sourdough worth a darn,in my humble experience...... is in san fran............and i live i iowa
post #18 of 21
Typically the pastrami is cured or brined and then rubbed and smoked. (That is what makes a pastrami) It then ends up in the fridge or freezer for longer term storage. Different places serve it differently for the "hot pastrami sandwich". Some places make the sandwich and then send it through a conveyor type toaster oven to heat the meat, some places slice and then dip the meat into hot water before putting it on the bread for the sandwich. Some places slice and then steam the sliced meat before putting in on the sandwich and some places actually steam the entire pastrami before slicing for the sandwich. This steaming of the entire pastrami for serving does seem to make the most tender and moist pastrami, almost fall apart tender sometimes. What I have found to be the problem with steaming the whole pastrami is that it needs to be eaten at one serving or day (I could do it, but 5lbs is a little bit on the large side for a single serving) The other problem with steaming the whole pastrami before slicing is that I really don't have a knife sharp enough to prevent the meat from just falling apart when I slice and it is harder to slice thin. An up side to steaming before slicing and slicing thick is that it can be servred as a meat on a plate and eaten with a fork like corned beef and cabbage instead of making the traditional sandwiches out of it.

Pastrami is a versitile meat and can be served and eaten in many ways. Typically I chill and pre-slice about half of whatever size batch I make and package it in three or four serving sized batches. I sometimes will steam these servings for sandwiches, and most folks seem to like them this way just fine. But I kind of also like the sliced meat dried out a little bit too for a different type snack. I think that leaving a little of the meat loosly wrapped in the fridge to dry, kind of concentrates the flavor. (Almost like a pastrami jerky, but not as tough) I try not to heat the whole pastrami as the main dish for a meal just because it does seem to get eaten up awful fast that wayPDT_Armataz_01_29.gif Sandwiches will draw out the time it takes to eat it all up!
post #19 of 21

Noob question here

Steaming the pastrami makes perfect sence.
One question though, how the heck do you do that?
post #20 of 21
i have a rice steamer i use to reheat pulled pork, and brisket.....

you can also get one of them cheap bamboo steamers at any one of several asian stores here in des moines.......maybe even wal-mart
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