First attempt at corned beef & pastrami!

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GrumpyGriller

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Jan 29, 2021
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Ok, so I've done pretty good with brisket, burnt ends, pulled pork, ribs, etc., but decided to give it a shot.

I made the brine according to wait, with a mix of kosher salt (1.5 cups), brown sugar (0.5 cups), 32 oz. Apple juice, 3 qts water, 3.5 TBS pickling spice, 3.2 tsp #1 Prague for a ~6 lb flat I separated from a full packer.

I plan to make burnt ends from the point, so nothing's wasted 🙂.

I have wet cured pork belly and had it sit for 12-14 days, but any thoughts on how long for corned beef/pastrami? Is there a too-long time?

Thanks!!! B0E4688F-56D1-44A5-A915-C225EFB9412B.jpeg CE94C69F-DC57-4032-A644-AF0E68AE5055.jpeg 20F5170F-F481-4AE3-92E0-151CD56B8F7C.jpeg A6749456-7A20-479C-B07F-E8CF81DF74CD.jpeg
 
Ok, so I've done pretty good with brisket, burnt ends, pulled pork, ribs, etc., but decided to give it a shot.

I made the brine according to wait, with a mix of kosher salt (1.5 cups), brown sugar (0.5 cups), 32 oz. Apple juice, 3 qts water, 3.5 TBS pickling spice, 3.2 tsp #1 Prague for a ~6 lb flat I separated from a full packer.

I plan to make burnt ends from the point, so nothing's wasted 🙂.

I have wet cured pork belly and had it sit for 12-14 days, but any thoughts on how long for corned beef/pastrami? Is there a too-long time?

Thanks!!!View attachment 523941View attachment 523942View attachment 523943View attachment 523944
1.5 cups salt to a quart of water and 6# meat is going to be pretty salty. Hope it works out. 1/4” per day per side is about what cure travel is, with the salt you have in there, I’d pull it at about 7 days, no longer. Belly is a bit different because of the fat content. Fat contains only about 10% water so cure travels much slower through fat veins. The brisket flat is muscle with no fat marble or vein, so the cure will drive nicely and that heavy salt will speed the process up.
 
1.5 cups salt to a quart of water and 6# meat is going to be pretty salty. Hope it works out. 1/4” per day per side is about what cure travel is, with the salt you have in there, I’d pull it at about 7 days, no longer. Belly is a bit different because of the fat content. Fat contains only about 10% water so cure travels much slower through fat veins. The brisket flat is muscle with no fat marble or vein, so the cure will drive nicely and that heavy salt will speed the process up.

Maybe I didn't write it up clearly - it's 3 qts water total plus 1 qt apple juice with a total of 1.5 cups salt.
 
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Maybe I didn't write it up clearly - it's 3 qts water total plus 1 qt apple juice with a total of 1.5 cups salt.
Oh I got ya. So yeah, with a gallon of liquid that sounds much better. Depending on what type salt you used (big difference in volume between granulated salt and kosher salt) with granulated salt you have about a 25* SAL brine. If you used kosher salt it will be closer to a 20* SAL brine (weaker).
This is why I apply salt by percentage to meat weight. Matters not the type of salt used because it’s by weight, volumes ma change but sodium content will be same by weights.
 
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Oh I got ya. So yeah, with a gallon of liquid that sounds much better. Depending on what type salt you used (big difference in volume between granulated salt and kosher salt) with granulated salt you have about a 25* SAL brine. If you used kosher salt it will be closer to a 20* SAL brine (weaker).
This is why I apply salt by percentage to meat weight. Matters not the type of salt used because it’s by weight, volumes ma change but sodium content will be same by weights.
Whew...😁. it was kosher salt. Would you still suggest 7 days?
 
BJs warehouse kosher salt
Not familiar with that brand, but here is something to consider when using salt by volume and not by weight..
1 cup of Morton kosher salt is equal to about 3/4 granulated salt (sea salt, pickling canning type)

1 cup of Diamond Crystal kosher is equal to about 1/2 cup granulated salt.

See where this is going? Volume measurements of salt and even sugar is just a no go for me.

So I will assume your salt is probably closer to Morton kosher, that said, I’d go 10 days maybe 12 days in brine. You can go as long as 30 days if you are not over 35* in refrigeration. The sugars in the brine will cause the brine to get ropey given enough time and temps closer to 40*.

10 to 14 days would be where I would pull it. Day 12 being the day, but you have a range to work with, that’s convenient for sure.
 
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Not familiar with that brand, but here is something to consider when using salt by volume and not by weight..
1 cup of Morton kosher salt is equal to about 3/4 granulated salt (sea salt, pickling canning type)

1 cup of Diamond Crystal kosher is equal to about 1/2 cup granulated salt.

See where this is going? Volume measurements of salt and even sugar is just a no go for me.

So I will assume your salt is probably closer to Morton kosher, that said, I’d go 10 days maybe 12 days in brine. You can go as long as 30 days if you are not over 35* in refrigeration. The sugars in the brine will cause the brine to get ropey given enough time and temps closer to 40*.

10 to 14 days would be where I would pull it. Day 12 being the day, but you have a range to work with, that’s convenient for sure.
Yep... Similar to Morton. Fridge is at 35, so I'll plan for 12 or 13.

Thanks again - very much appreciated!
 
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Post-cure seasoning and smoke questions :emoji_smiley:
I am planning to use this (or a slight variation) for my rub for smoking next weekend - I remember seeing a post that didn't use mustard seed, but Montreal Steak seasoning, so curious to get thoughts on that or other variations...and I am going to smoke it at 225 probably.

  • 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns (fresh ground)
  • 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds(fresh ground)
  • 1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds (fresh ground)
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
 
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Looks fine to me but I would delete the salt.

Post-cure seasoning and smoke questions :emoji_smiley:
I am planning to use this (or a slight variation) for my rub for smoking next weekend - I remember seeing a post that didn't use mustard seed, but Montreal Steak seasoning, so curious to get thoughts on that or other variations...and I am going to smoke it at 225 probably.

  • 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns (fresh ground)
  • 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds(fresh ground)
  • 1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds (fresh ground)
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
 
Thanks - I wasn't sure about that....don't want to eat pastrami salt :)
I’m not sure about the Montreal seasoning idea. I don’t add salt to corned beef or pastrami.
I just use black pepper, coriander, garlic powder and sometimes onion powder. But this can be a bit to our own taste buds. The mix you posted is a pretty solid pastrami. Try that and make notes for deletion or additions. If sliced thin I find the rub is not a big player in overall taste. The cured beef and smoke are upfront and the rub is in the back end.
 
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In to see the finish. I love me a pastrami, fried cabbage and dill havarti sandwich.
Thanks - I'll probably pull it on Friday, season it, wrap it and let it sit for 1-2 days and then smoke, hopefully on Sunday :)
 
Ok….timing quandry 😞

I started the cure on 1/25, and I want to apply the rub and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days, wrapped up before I smoke it. If I take or of the cure Friday (10 days) and have it sit with the rub for 2, that would mean smoking on Monday which isn't practical with work.

If I pull Friday night (10 day cure) and put the rub on, is smoking it on Sunday reasonable? Thoughts as always are greatly appreciated!
 
Ok….timing quandry 😞

I started the cure on 1/25, and I want to apply the rub and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of days, wrapped up before I smoke it. If I take or of the cure Friday (10 days) and have it sit with the rub for 2, that would mean smoking on Monday which isn't practical with work.

If I pull Friday night (10 day cure) and put the rub on, is smoking it on Sunday reasonable? Thoughts as always are greatly appreciated!
The rub sitting for time (days) is not required. Pull on Friday, rub and smoke on Saturday or Sunday. No worries.
 
The rub isn't going to go much beyond the surface, so leaving it sit for any period of time really won't gain you anything
 
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