First Pastrami (Baby Steps) - QVIEW (Why Did This Take So Long????)

Discussion in 'Beef' started by xutfuzzy, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. xutfuzzy

    xutfuzzy Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    I had gone to Sam's Club last week and while I was in there suddenly there was this rather impressive roaring noise that could be heard coming from the roof.  It was a classic Midwest pop-up thunderstorm, so I figured I would browse the store a bit and wait for it to pass.  I had seen (and been rather intrigued by) the pastrami posts here, and wandered over to the meat section.  I saw this cute little guy:

    I figured that for 8 or 9 bucks that I could give this a try and if it didn't work out then I wouldn't have suffered too big a loss.  I also figured (quite wrongly) that this wouldn't take too long (it was only 2.3 pounds) and that it would be a good Sunday afternoon activity.

    From my research here, I knew to do a "fry test" to check the saltiness, so the night before the smoke I removed a sliver of meat.

    Into the pan it went!

    Good God, it was so salty!  It placed it in a water bath and went to bed.  Ideally, I would have liked to changed the water at least once, but I wasn't about to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to do so.  Overall, it was about 7 or 8 hours in the water bath.  I cut myself another sliver for another fry test.

    The wife and I agreed that it was acceptable, and I set about preparing the rub.  I would love to give credit to the person from which I stole this rub, but in my hurried research I forgot which post I nabbed this from, so if it is yours, than I would like to say, "Thanks!"

    Pastrami / Beef Rub:

    2T Black Peppercorns
    1T Coriander Seed
    1T Dry Minced Onion
    1T Dry Minced Garlic
    1tsp Allspice Berries
    1tsp Mustard Seed
    1tsp Dry Thyme Leaves
    3 Bay Leaves, crumbled
    1tsp Juniper Berries

    First the mustard was rubbed on.

    I got 5 out of the six sides covered with rub, and put the corned beef in a foil pan for resting.  Then I smeared the mustard on the sixth side.

    The corned beef was now fully rubbed.  It went into the fridge after being covered in Saran Wrap and the wife and I went out for lunch.  I figured that I would start it up when we got back and have pastrami for dinner. 

    Well, while we were out, we made an impromptu decision to go see the new Batman movie, and that set us back from getting home by nearly 3 hours.  Still, it was 6:00, and I figured that at only 2.3 pounds that we might still be able to pull off having a late dinner.

    I fired up the AMNPS with a mix of hickory and oak (I would later have to add more pellets), let it burn for 10 minutes, and then placed it into the smoker with the corned beef.  The MES40 was set at 225.

    WHAT THE HECK!?!?!  This 2.3 pound guy took until 4:30 IN THE MORNING to hit 190!  That's 10 hours!  I double-checked the chamber temperature in smoker with a backup probe, and the MES40 was within 2 or 3 degrees of what it said it was, and I also double-checked the internal temperature probe to make sure that wasn't off.  Everything was reading correctly, but this cute little guy just took FOREVER!  This was over 4 hours per pound!

    Anyway, here it is, right out of the smoker.

    Close up:

    I know I am supposed to foil it and wait, but this guy dragged me into 4:30 in the morning...I was going to get a slice before I went to bed.

    It was amazing!  I was quite happy.  So wrapped it up and went to bed.  Today the wife came home for lunch, so it was sandwich time!  I used the broiler in the oven to toast some bread, then flipped them over.   I laid down the pastrami and some cheese (not smoked, still working on convincing the wife to get a vacuum sealer food saver), and these went back under the broiler until the cheese had melted.

    Here's my final product!

    So....why did this take over 4 hours per pound?  It wasn't exactly a thick cut of meat.  I'd love some input and/or feedback!
  2. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    Congrats, looks good. Slice thinner and stack next time. You will taste the difference.
  3. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks good.

    The only thing I can think of for how long was the cook temp. At work we have a MES and I have found that I have to set the temps higher due to the thermostat having huge temp fluctuations. Just a thought.
  4. It looks great! My MES40 is 25* cooler than the set digital temp, have you checked yours? That might be why it took so much longer.
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    4 hours per Pound does sound crazy but seems I just recently read another post with the same situation...Corned Beef to Pastrami can go really long because Store Bought Corned Beef is so loaded with the Water Cure. It is the same principle with a low and slow Pork Butt or Brisket Stall... It's called Evaporative Cooling. The temp rises to the point that the water starts evaporating. This " Sweating ", so to speak, cools the meat keeping the IT from rising steadily, it stalls. So with heavily Pumped Corned Beef you get a long stall until the bulk of the Water is evaporated then the meat finishes cooking. Here is a more detailed explanation...  In any event your Pastrami looks good and I'm Sure it Tastes Great...You used My Recipe for the Rub!...[​IMG]...JJ
  6. xutfuzzy

    xutfuzzy Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Thanks again for the rub recipe, it was great!

    I double-checked the temperature of the MES40 using a backup probe, and it was pretty darned close.  I also double-checked the internal temperature of the meat with another probe, trying to eliminate all possibilities.

    I'll just mark this up as a learning experience and start my pastrami in the morning.  My long-term goal is to cure/corn my own brisket and then make my pastrami out of that, but I wanted to use this to figure out some stuff.

    My Christmas list already includes a meat slicer, so that I can cut the pastrami (and bacon as well, as that is on the to-learn list) thinner.

    Thanks again for all the feedback, and if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go read that article you posted!
  7. I am a huge pastrami fan and just came across this post. I have a CB deluxe offset smoker and would like to make this recipe. My question is with the smoke and what fuel to use. I almost exclusively cook with charcoal and add chunk wood for smoke and flavor. Which type of chunk wood would you recommend?  Is using charcoal ok for this recipe or do I need to switch to wood only for this one?  Thanks for help! 
  8. That is crazy how it took so long.  Would be interested to know if the soaking contributed to that in any way.
  9. doctord1955

    doctord1955 Smoking Fanatic

    My question is what temp were you aiming for IT?

    Ive been lots of Pastrami but i never take to much over 158 and I always slice it thin like you do dried beef!
  10. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Chef JJ: Very interesting read. Makes since thoe....
  11. xutfuzzy

    xutfuzzy Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    I was going for 190, based off of what most of the posts on pastrami say to do.  As I researched I saw a lot of debate on the matter, and went with what the majority said to do.  Ideally, I'd like to make a couple at the same time, pulling each one at a different internal temperature to see what I like most.
  12. xutfuzzy

    xutfuzzy Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    I used hickory and oak, because that is what I had.  I've seen posts where people have suggested using mild fruit wood, and Jeff said he uses mesquite.  I would suggest using what you are most comfortable with.   Research, research, research! 
  13. zahlgren

    zahlgren Smoking Fanatic

  14. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Congrats on a great smoke - I hope you get the slicer for Christmas
  15. hoity toit

    hoity toit Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    JJ is correct. The brine cure keeps the water content in the meat from turning to steam, thus the meat cooks slow which is good. If it wan't cured it would have cooked quickly just like you thought.

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