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Pastrami Dry Cure question

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey guys.

After curing my own brisket flat and smoking/steaming it and enjoying the results, I'm ready to try again. I have a butcher that will provide me with the navel end of the brisket and I wanted to try dry-curing. After myriad google searches, I came across a few things that suggested some of the better delis dry cure their meat and there were people that had tried it and had good results. Anyone have a good recipe for a dry cure? Or and advice? Thanks!
post #2 of 6
well i myself have'nt dry cured anything .... but this is the site that my grandpa got all his sausage making eq. / ingredients / cure from & he swears by em.

from sausage maker.com >>
Dry Curing Tips
  • Semi-Dry & Dry curing depends on a combination of proper temperature and humidity.
  • Humidity levels from 60-80%, as specified by the recipe, will allow the sausage to dry from the inside out.
  • If the humidity is too low the sausage will dry on the outside first, trapping the moisture in the center. This will cause the meat to spoil.
  • A hygrometer is helpful for gauging the humidity level of the drying environment.
  • Semi-Dry & Dry curing requires Insta CureTM No. 1 or 2.
  • Insta CureTM No. 2 works like a time release capsule. Sodium nitrite is released over time to prevent the meat from spoiling.
  • The casings should shrink with the meat. The best casings for this are natural casings or protein-lined casings.
  • Stuff the casings tight to remove any air pockets. If not avoided, these could trap mold.
  • Mold on the outside of the casings is normal because of the high humidity. However, you want to wipe this off with a vinegar solution. Any mold accumulation will prevent moisture from escaping from the sausage.
  • You do NOT want any mold to form on the inside of the casing. If this happens, it cannot be removed and you will have to discard the meat.
  • To increase the humidity in your drying chamber, take a handful of salt, place in the bottom of a cookie sheet and cover with water. This is placed at the bottom of the chamber and can be refreshed as needed.
  • Properly prepared dry cured sausage will lose 30-35% of its green weight. The time required to do this will vary depending upon temperature, humidity and the diameter of the sausage.
Which cure do I use--#1 or #2?

Insta Cure #1 is used to cure all meats that require cooking, smoking, and canning, and is also used when making jerky. Meats requiring Insta Cure #1 would include poultry, fish, hams, bacon, luncheon meats, corned beef, pates, etc.

Insta Cure #2 is specifically formulated for dry cured products. These products don't require cooking, smoking, or refrigeration. Insta Cure #2 can be compared to the time-release capsules used for the common cold—the sodium nitrate first breaks down into sodium nitrite and then into nitric oxide to cure the meat over extended periods of time.
How much cure do I use?

When mixed directly into the meat, 1 level teaspoon of cure should be used for every 5 lbs. of meat, whether it will be smoked or dry cured sausage. If you are making a brine solution, like for a ham, use 4 ounces of cure for each gallon of water.

Dont know if any of this would/will apply to pastrami as well , but im sure someone will come along & let ya know.
post #3 of 6
Here's the dry cure I use for both beef and venison. This one is venison.


The cure...this is enough for 5lbs of meat
5 tablespoons Tender Quick
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

I mix the cure, rub onto the meat and shake off any excess..

I wrap it and let it cure...this batch cured for 5 days.
Then I soak in fresh water for a couple of hours...

Before smoking, I season it with a mixture of garlic, allspice, crushed juniper berries, onion powder, crushed bay leaves and mustard seeds...

Then put it on the smoker with a bit of hickory...

After smoking, I wrap in foil and fill the pouch with beef broth. It steams a bit and makes sure the pastrami is moist.
I let this sit for at least 30 minutes...

post #4 of 6
Last pastrami I did I used combo of dry cure and brine injection. The recipe and pics are in this link. I really liked it.

post #5 of 6
kingudaroad, I must have missed your flatiron/top blade pastrami. It looks wonderful. Having fabricated a few flat irons from top blades I'm surprised that the dense tendon completely melted out.

When you look at that tendon you think you could resole shoes with it.
post #6 of 6
Thank you scubadoo. I was quite surprised myself. I think the long steam finally wore it down.
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