Eye Round Pastrami with Pop's Brine

Discussion in 'Curing' started by starwars1138, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Hi Gang,

    I've done a corned beef before and it was the best corned beef (and subsequently corned beef hash) that I'd ever had.  That time, I'd used a grass-fed whole brisket from our freezer (we get a side of beef from a local ranch each year).  But, this year I was hoping to save the brisket to smoke it outright, but I did have a whole 3.2lb eye round and decided to use that.

    I used a gallon the "full strength" version of Pop's Brine (as wonderfully described here) last night and added a couple tablespoons of toasted pickling spice, a couple cloves of garlic, and a tablespoon of whole peppercorn.  When I did the brisket last time, there was a small brown spot in the middle that I've since learned was a result of the cure not reaching the center of the meat due to its thickness.  This time, since the eye round roasts were 2.5 inches thick, I decided to inject.  That was my first time injecting and I worry whether I got enough in there (much of it shot out the hole... I imagine there is an art to this process and that with more practice, it'll get easier) but I'll just have to see what happens.

    I'm shooting for a 14 day cure and plan to let it dry for a couple days.  Then I'll apply a rub (will post the recipe when I decide) and will toss it on the Big Green Egg to smoke to an internal temp of about 150.  Will probably use hickory or oak (any light or mellow smoke will likely be overpowered by the rub and cured flavors).  I might decide to smoke it for a couple hours and then steam it to 150 degrees... but that will depend on what I feel like.

    Here they are floating in the brine before I put a weight in there to hold them down.

    Will keep you all posted.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2014
  2. That sounds like a plan.


    Happy smoken.

  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sounds like you are on the right path. I like to use top or bottom round (which ever is on sale).

    For injecting I believe the rule of thumb is to inject with at least 10% the weight of the meat. I usually do a but more. I insert the needle in as far as it will go and then pull it slowly out as I inject. I do this in several spots. Then into the brine. Never had any issues. An dues it does leak out a bit. You should be good too.
  4. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm watching you. Looks like it will be good.

  5. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Yeah - I managed to squirt brine back out onto the counter each time.  My guess is that - a) I've got a cheapo injector b) I needed to squeeze a little softer and withdraw the needle as I squeezed c) It'll get better with more practice.

    I probably got about 5% injected instead of 10% - I'm hoping that since its not much thicker than 2 inches, plus such a long brine period, it'll make up for it (the brisket was only brined for a week when I had the brown spot in the middle).  We'll see!

    Thanks for the encouragement.
  6. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a cheap injector and have cured 4 in thick hams.

    Squeeze softer and pull alittle faster.

    Plus I inject until the meat just wont hold anymore.
  7. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Then there's hope for me :)

    I'll do that next time for sure.  Thanks for the advice!
  8. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    So after a couple weeks (15 days) in Pop's Brine I pulled them out yesterday, rinsed them, slathered them in mustard and smoked them on the Big Green Egg to an internal temp of 150 degrees.  Had it been a traditional brisket instead of grass fed eye-round, I would have smoked to a higher internal temp (190+) to break down all the connective tissue and collagen.  But I'm afraid that it would have turned these lean eye round roasts into leather.  As it turned out, they were fine at that temp and had about the right texture for more deli-style pastrami (and when I say deli, I don't mean Katz's deli - I mean just your run of the mill thinly sliced pastrami).

    The flavor was good - I used premade pickling spice and next time, I might go for a something different or make my own as there was just a little twinge of something too "pickle-ish" in the background that kind of clashed with the pepper/coriander rub I used.  I wasn't disappointed per se, just something I might try different next time.  We ate one roast yesterday on grilled swiss sandwiches with mustard.  Pretty tasty.  Will get some kraut (I am out of the homemade stuff but cabbages are coming back into season now so I'll make krauting some more soon) and rye bread to go with the other roast and I'll try steaming it back up to temp before slicing.

    Anyway - I highly advise trying it.  There are lots of brine recipes out there but I chose Pops just in case I couldn't smoke when I wanted to and it had to sit a couple extra days in the brine (I didn't want to have it get too salty if the timing didn't work out just so).  I look forward to trying it again on some other grass-fed cuts I've got in the freezer.
  9. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yumm! Looks nice and tasty! Nice cure and Smoke!
  10. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Thanks - a conversation with my grandmother about year ago inspired me to try it (she said her favorite deli-meat was pastrami and she missed getting the stuff from local butchers many years ago).  Took longer to get around to doing it than I'd hoped.  The hard part will be saving her some!
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You had better make a special trip to deliver that strami.... just sayin'..
  12. starwars1138

    starwars1138 Fire Starter

    Might be wiser to let the wife deliver - chances are higher it makes it nibble-free!

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