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Corned Beef to Pastrami...

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

icon_rolleyes.gifCan anyone please give me a quick tutorial as how to turn the brisket sold as corned beef into pastrami. I know it has been suggested that it be allowed to soak in water for days(?) before smoking? How many days? Rub? Smoke at 250 to an internal temp of ? then......
post #2 of 15
Hey Dog, I only soak it overnight and then fry test it for saltiness. As far as rubs go I use the basic CBP and corriander rubbed on heavily and then let it sit in the frig overnight. I smoked the last one with hickory and oak till the internal themp was 205°
post #3 of 15
I use Coriander... onion powder.... garlic powder..... CBP...... and crushed juniper berrys. If I'm going to slice it I will take it to 180 185. I've never soaked any of mine but I watch for low sodium content and I also like it salty. If in doubt..... do the ol Ron Man fry test and cut off a small piece... fry it up and if it's too salty soak it some more. I also leave all the fat on it that comes with it. I did a corned beef for the 4th and took it up to 205. Tender no matter how you sliced it... and Red made me some homemade corned beef hash out of it. I highly recommend it.
post #4 of 15
I generally use the Grobbel's corned beef and it seems pretty consistent in the saltiness. I will just wash it thoroughly under cold running water until all the liquid "stuff" on it is off, making sure to get into any cracks and folds it may have. I'll leave the fat cap on.

Then I'll put on Garlic Powder, Ground Coriander and Course Ground Pepper and put them all into the MES, with the biggest one in the top right where the vent is since it's a bit hotter there (and this one is fat cap down to protect the bottom of the brisket, all the rest go in with cap up to help with the basting), and 1-2 more of the biggest depending on what "big" is on the top shelf, then put the smallest over the water on the bottom shelf (the coldest area as long as it is over the water- get it off the edge and especially over the element it becomes the hottest area), then the rest split up on the middle two shelves (I have the 40" MES by the way). For ease of clean-up and to save time I have newspaper spread out on the counter with 2 shelves laying on each. When I'm done, I just bring the loaded shelves out and put them into the MES, and then roll up the papers and toss them. No mess from the rubs or leaking juices.

I've preheated the MES the whole time I was getting the meat ready and by then it's usually at my set temp of 210 degrees on the MES, which in actuality on my MES will hang it somewhere between 220 and 235 on my remote thermometers. I'll generally start with hickory chunks and cherry chips for smoke for the first couple of hours and then switch to apple and cherry chips for the rest of the smoke. If it's cold/windy outside I'll also put in a briquette of Kingsford with Hickory as it lasts a pretty good long time. For the wood overall, I'll put in less wood more often rather than more wood less often for the better TBS qualities it gives me. Vent is wide open usually, but as I ramp the wood down toward the end it goes to 3/4 open.

I always slice these, so I'll bring them up until all of them are over 170, which puts some of them at about 180. Then I shut the vent and turn off the MES and let them just hang out in the steam bath for about an hour. After that, I refrigerate them until the next day to make slicing/packing easier and also the next day I'll trim all the fat off of them and split them if they were a point/flat combo and trim that fat too. Then the slicing thin against the grain and into vacuum bags and into the freezer.

If you were going to eat it that night then obviously you wouldn't cool it off too much first and you could slice it with the fat on and let the trimming happen on the plate. Fat in moderation is taste after all, but fat doesn't freeze well long-term. Depending on what you're smoking with, you might not use the chips or whatever, but then at the end instead of letting them sit by themselves in the moist environment a MES can give, I'd take them out and wrap them in foil for 1/2-1 hour to let it rest in its own juices. I would probably wrap it about the 165 degree range in fact so you're capturing those juices.

Good luck with your smoke. I'm sure it will come out great! If you like sweet/salty/spicy combo, try some of it with a mix of ketchup, mayo worchester and horseradish with a dash of salt and pepper. Yum!
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
OK....thanks for the tips. Would anyone know the lowest sodium content I can expect from commercially packaged corned beef?
post #6 of 15
The last one I did. I did a fry test and it wasn't too salty at all. I used black pepper and garlic powder. Smoked it to 195. Since it was late I wrapped them both and put them in the fridge. Next day I steamed them up to 195 again. It was moist, tender and now almost gone...hahaha

Everybody loved it.
post #7 of 15
I found Crown brand in my market.


It is labeled as kosher style. It only has 220 mg of sodium / 4 oz. The lowest I've seen. Doesn't have to be soak and purged and still has enough salt that you know it's there but it's over powering.
post #8 of 15
There are some, usually more expensive ones, that are in the 200-400mg per 4 oz serving range. Most of the supermarket ones will be >1000 mg. The 400 ones don't need soaking. The ones over 1000 will.
post #9 of 15
Here's a link to a couple I did recently that I was very happy with the results.

They were high on the sodium scale 1000+ (don't remember for sure) so a good soaking was necessary.

The more direct answer to your first question..
Q. Can anyone please give me a quick tutorial as how to turn the brisket sold as corned beef into pastrami.

A. Both are usually made from a beef brisket and are cured in brine. But pastrami is smoked after being cured, and corned beef is not.
post #10 of 15
I missed the "quick" part and got a bit carried away I guess tongue.gif

I have my first ground/stuffed sausages in the smoker so I'm sort of pumped up today!
post #11 of 15
Thanks old for being up the subject. I have a corned beef in the freezer that I will smoke this weekend. I have been watching how too make pastrami but now you got all my questions anwered. when it comes to pastrami Dude is definetly the Man here.PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
DanMcG, PignIt, Smokeguy, bigbaldbbq, Scubadoo97, Big Wayne, The Dude Abides, mballi,

Much thanks to you all. I definitely got my question(s) answered. And I learned " Both are usually made from a beef brisket and are cured in brine. But pastrami is smoked after being cured, and corned beef is not."

This sure is a great neighborhood. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #13 of 15
No problem. They are delicious, give em a try.

My mom boils Corned Beef for hours then adds in potatos and cabbage. It's myth that it's an actual Irish dish. But somewhere along the line that got started. Corned Beef and Cabbage is delicious though not smoked.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif Oh yeah...I love corned beef and cabbage too. I like carrots in there with the potatoes also. If there's any leftovers it sandwiches the next day or hash.
post #15 of 15
I did 6 of them this week. 3 of them were briskets and 3 were "round" essentially round steak roasts. Cooked them all at the same time and same method. All came out well. The round is a tad bit dryer because it has less fat, but no difference in flavor. The round felt like a brick coming out of the fridge, but it sliced up very nicely.
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