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First Pastrami in a WHILE

Erikhawk

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So I'll be starting my brine tonight for my first pastrami in probably 10 years. I'm planning on separating the point and flat because I only have about 7-8 days to cure plus I have limited storage space for a packet in my fridge all week (my wife would kill me).

I'd love to hear any suggestions or tips about any part of the process (what to put in the brine, how long to rinse, the rub, the smoke, etc).

Thanks all!

Erik
 

SmokinAl

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Well I have done pastrami from scratch many times & I always cure it for 14 days.
I prefer the dry cure method, but the brine method works well too. Your just rushing the time frame & in my opinion if you don't have the time to do it right then just smoke the brisket & have brisket for dinner.
Al
 

chef jimmyj

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Yep, you gonna have to inject to get a full cure in 8 days...JJ
 

mushroomboots

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Well I have done pastrami from scratch many times & I always cure it for 14 days.
I prefer the dry cure method, but the brine method works well too. Your just rushing the time frame & in my opinion if you don't have the time to do it right then just smoke the brisket & have brisket for dinner.
Al
Hi Al. I've got a venison eye of round I'd like to turn into pastrami. I'm completely new to all of this so would sure appreciate a basic dry cure recipe. I can let it sit in the refrigerator as long as is needed.
 

SmokinAl

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Hi Al. I've got a venison eye of round I'd like to turn into pastrami. I'm completely new to all of this so would sure appreciate a basic dry cure recipe. I can let it sit in the refrigerator as long as is needed.
Check out my eye of round pastrami thread in my signature
.
It has a basic dry cure that you can use on an eye.
Al
 
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MJB05615

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Well I have done pastrami from scratch many times & I always cure it for 14 days.
I prefer the dry cure method, but the brine method works well too. Your just rushing the time frame & in my opinion if you don't have the time to do it right then just smoke the brisket & have brisket for dinner.
Al
Al, I was able to get a Prime full packer Brisket today for $2.38 /lb! I couldn't pass it up. It's 16.75 lbs and too big for the Mrs. and myself. So I want to seperate the point from the flat. Smoke the point as a regular Brisket. Take the flat and dry brine it into pastrami. My issue is I do not have a vac sealer. Is there a safe way to dry brine for 11-14 days in double ziploc bags? Or something else? Also, can you tell me what ratio I'm looking for regarding the cure #1, sugar, etc? We are trying to be a low sodium family. Thanks your sage advice is greatly appreciated.

Mike
 

SmokinAl

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Al, I was able to get a Prime full packer Brisket today for $2.38 /lb! I couldn't pass it up. It's 16.75 lbs and too big for the Mrs. and myself. So I want to seperate the point from the flat. Smoke the point as a regular Brisket. Take the flat and dry brine it into pastrami. My issue is I do not have a vac sealer. Is there a safe way to dry brine for 11-14 days in double ziploc bags? Or something else? Also, can you tell me what ratio I'm looking for regarding the cure #1, sugar, etc? We are trying to be a low sodium family. Thanks your sage advice is greatly appreciated.

Mike
Absolutely you can use zip lock bags. That is what I used to use. The only reason I switched to vac bags is there is less chance they will leak. During the curing process the meat will generate quite a bit of liquid, so just make sure the bags Are sealed well.
I use the cure calculator
Just weigh the brisket & input it into the calculator. It will tell you exactly how much sugar, salt, & cure to use. If you want you can change the values for the % of salt if you want. You could use 1% each, instead of 2%, and 1%. Just make sure you use the proper amount of cure #1.
Al
 

MJB05615

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Thanks for getting back to me. Looking at the calculator, the first line is Cure #1 % nitrite 6.25, I cannot change the 6.25.
the next 2 lines I can change to 1%, salt and sugar % desired. the last one is PPM nitrite 156. Do I leave it at 156? This is my first time doing a dry brine and using this calculator and I don't want to mess it up, so bear with me if I ask a lot of questions. Once this part is done, I can handle the rest since I've done a few in the past but with a liquid brine. The liquid brine makes too much of a mess for the Wife. LOL.
Thanks again for your help.

Mike
 

SmokinAl

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That is correct you don't want to change the 6.25 or the 156 PPM nitrite. Actually we are on a low salt diet & use the 2% salt, because you are going to rinse off all the excess when you are done curing it. And you can soak the brisket in water for a couple of hours to leach even more salt out. Just like you would if you were smoking a store bought corned beef. I agree with your wife, not only does it make a mess, it takes up a lot of space in the refrigerator. And IMHO a dry cure gives the pastrami a much better texture & flavor.
Al
 

MJB05615

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OK, that clears that up. I'll let you know how it goes, I'll be prepping and starting this weekend, and I love the idea of keeping the trimmed fat to place above the meat while it's cooking. Great idea!

Last thing, when cooking the point as a normal brisket, just do it like I would a regular one right? Will it take the same or less time to cook to an IT of 200 or more? I've only done whole briskets in the past, and don't want to assume anything.
Thanks for all of your help.

Mike
 

SmokinAl

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Yes cook the point just like a regular brisket. What I do is if you have a very thin end on it I fold it under & tie it so the meat is relatively the same thickness all the way across. I’m sure you’ll do just fine. A point is pretty hard to screw up, it’s kind of like a butt. Lots of fat marbling.
Al
 

MJB05615

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OK, That's what I figured. I'm gonna slice the point off across the flat length wise, instead of from top to bottom, this way the flat will be a larger+ longer piece for Pastrami. That's how I do it when I cook the whole Brisket and it's finished. Or is it better since cutting it when it is raw to cut it as a chunk top to bottom?

Thanks for helping this 59 year old "Rookie"

Mike
 

SmokinAl

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Yes slice it lengthwise. Just follow the line of fat between them.
As you said that should give you a nice uniform flat for the pastrami.
Al
 

MJB05615

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That's what I figured, just needed reassurance. Thanks again for all of your help. I'll post pictures etc of both cooks, Brisket point this weekend, and Pastrami flat in a little over 2 weeks.
Really appreciate your time and efforts.
Stay safe.
Mike
 

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