Did I Ruin my Pastrami?

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Dec 20, 2023
Hi All - just found your community and excited to join in! I have a question that I am hoping you might be able to help with.

I am doing a pastrami (first time curing) and was loosely following the directions I found online from All Things BBQ.I made a brine of 1g water with 4tsp Prague #1 and have been brining for 10 days.

Question is this. The weight of the brisket today (after brining for 10 days) is 8.5lbs I didn’t weigh it to start. Is the 4tsps enough salt?

Also, at one point after not checking for 2-3 days I went down to the fridge and noticed a 1/2 inch of the tip of the meat was out of the brine. I added 1-2 cups of tap water (not boiled) and then left it.

Thinking now this attempt might be ruined by the exposure od the tip and/or tap water and it would be better safe than sorry and chuck it.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks for any guidance!!
  • Like
Reactions: JLeonard
The brisket weighed 8.5lbs after brining for 10 days. I didn’t weigh it to start however, cause I didn’t realize the Prague powder was tied to weight.

I boiled 4L/1 quart water and added:
1.5 cups Kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
4 tsp curing salt
10 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup of pickling spice

Then I added 1 more quart of ice to cool the brine before adding to the brisket.

Placed brisket in brine. Fully submerged to start, but a bit got out after a couple days. I added 1-2 cups tap water to resubmerge the brisket.

It sat in the fridge for 10 days.

Thanks again for the help Eric!
Was the water hot/boilng when you added cure? I have read it lessens the effectiveness.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Steve H
Thanks All - the water was hot, just off boil.
I made the decision last night that botulism isn’t the gift I want to give for the holidays, so chalked it up to a learning experience and chucked the pastrami. Going to try again in the new year, but thankfully I found this community to ensure the next one is better!
I would run with what you have. What you posted for salt and Prague #1 to 1 gallon of brine is basically a “hot” version of what many here refer to as “pop’s brine” they all have very good success with that type of brine, I suspect you will too.
That is a little stout for a brine but as others have mentioned, it will be fine. I suspect it will be salty. If you haven't cooked it yet, let it desalinate in a gallon of clear tap water/ice bath for a while.
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Hot Threads