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Corned Beef guidance

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I'm seeing these pre-brined / spice pack corned beef packs in stores.

Does anybody have a good guideline on how to take one of these and cook them up? Temps / different rubs?

Any hints for the steaming part? I dont have a good steamer set up.

I was going to to montreal smoked meat, but I'd like to start with something pre-set up to get the right texture. Plus I'm feeling a bit lazy for prep, and I want something good to cook up and maybe freeze for future lunches besides pulled pork, brisket etc.

post #2 of 12
I just use the spices that come with it and add garlic and if you want some CBP. But before I do that I slice a thin slice and do a fry pan test for salt. If ok i rub as above and smoke at 225' to about 165' and wrap. If not soak in cold water 4 hours and test again.

You can use a make shift steamer if you have a rack that fits in a skillet with a lid. I usually don't steam mine but others do. And this is best sliced as thin as you can get it.

When your'e done you have made pastrami.

Good luck!
post #3 of 12
Oh baby, I love these things.

Here's one of my recent smokes.
Let me know if you have any questions. I'll do what I can to help you.
post #4 of 12
If you can get them at a good deal it can be one of the greatest things you have ever smoked.
Nothing like making a bit of nice home smoked pastrami.
I've made these many times and they are, well, wonderful.
You don't need to steam them but I always do, you could take a perforated pan and remove the handle if you can, and place it in a bigger pan with an inch or so of water.
You could also place a grate on a sheet pan and add a bit of water, wrap the entire thing in foil and steam it that way. An hour or so usually will work but 2-3 is best.
post #5 of 12
Take the corned beef and rub with

1 Tablespoon Coriander
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Electric smoker
130 degrees dampers wide open
Close to ¼ open and apply smoke for about 2 hours
Gradually Increase to 200-220
Internal temp should reach175 degrees
Cool at room temp. for 1-2 hrs then let refrigerate overnight.

  • Trim the fat side to 1/8".
  • Rinse and soak for one-4 hours before cooking, then apply the rub.
  • Smoke at 225-250°F to 165°F internal temperature.
  • Wrap in foil and let rest in a dry cooler for two hours.
  • Slice thin across the grain.
post #6 of 12
My last pastrami and my best to date was smoked then steamed

All the packaged corned beefs will list the sodium content. The pan test is a good thing to do to taste the salt but first look at how much sodium is in a serving which is usually 4 oz. I have used the Crown brand that lists 220mg of sodium per serving but most brands average 1100 mg. I saw one brand the other day in the market that listed 1300mg/4oz. The pan test will also help you know if you have soaked the corned beef long enough.

Remember that these meats are intended to be cooked in water so a lot o salt will be leached out in the cooking process. With dry cooking in a smoker this isn't going to happen.

We each have our preference for finishing temperature. I like mine to go to 200-205 and was reminded why I like it that way when having pastrami at a local deli. The texture was rubbery to me. I like mine melt in your mouth tender. Same with brisket and chucks. Just my preference.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Will any of those pre-packaged corned beef packs do? Is ther anything I need to look for?

Also I noticed that some people don't steam. What does steaming get you? Do you cook till 200 then steam?

I can't wait to try this. I never liked sauerkraut before but I'm going to give that a go too (not making my own... yet...)
post #8 of 12
Do a search on pastrami and corned beef. There is a lot of info and so many seasoning recipes to choose from. Really hard to go wrong. I'm afraid your gonna have to do a number of them to finally get to the one you really consider your best and then it may take quite a few more to try and get it that good again.... and then when you do... well you know......
post #9 of 12
I usually just get whatever prepacked CCBs they have at the supermarket. Not a lot of choices around here. If they look exceptionally fatty, I'll pass. Since they're not exactly cheap, I don't want to pay $3.99lb for fat that I'm not going to eat.

I rarely put kraut on mine. It's still tasty without it. I will usually make it like a panini or even a grilled cheese with even plain ol white bread and add some swiss cheese and 1000 Island dressing.

I think I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow. Thanks.
post #10 of 12
I take a chunk or two of deer and make either corned beef (deer) or pastrami out of it.

The corned deer I soke in a brine for a few day's in the fridge then boil it until it falls apart, tried to slice it on the meat slicer but it ends up falling apart, makes very good Rueben and Panini sandwiches.

The pastrami I use my same brine recipe, after a couple day soak, take it and roll it in crushed black pepper then give it a good smokin'. Makes gret sandwhiches!

I know your thinking of buying it semi pre done but you could pick a nice roast, cut out any fat and from what I have found have a better final product.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck!!!
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok so I picked up a couple of corned beef briskets that have 1400 mg of sodium.

My last question is:

Can i soak / test these ahead of time and when I have them at the saltiness I want, wrap them up and have them in the fridge ready to go a couple days before I smoke?
post #12 of 12
Don't see why not. They will still be plenty salty so will not be a breading ground for germs. Just keep them cold during the soak and after and they should hold up for several days.

I would set your smoker to between 225-260 and pop that baby in. You aren't looking to smoke heavy like a regular brisket but a good dose of smoke is really tasty.

If you want more pastrami instead of smoked corned beef do a rub of crushed coriander and black pepper corns. Other spices can be added to your taste. Some use garlic powder and or onion powder. I often add some mustard seeds to my rub. You don't have to go too heavy here. I often over do it even when trying to tone it down. As the meat shrinks the spices get concentrated over the surface.

Again my preference is to cook it to an internal of at least 200. My last one which was my best was smoked then steamed to 200. The steam added back a lot of moisture. The meat was super juicy and tender. Just let it cool before slicing and always slice against the grain.
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