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Homemade Corned Beef & Pastrami

Discussion in 'Beef' started by couger78, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    With St. Paddy's day quickly approaching, it's time in our house to start thinking about the meal: corned beef & cabbage.

    This years, I decided I'd make our own corned beef and, as an additional treat, make a good bit of pastrami as well.

    I picked up 20 pounds of good quality beef brisket— a 14lb monster & two 3-pound flats. After trimming the hard and exterior fat (down to 1/4") from the big brisket (nearly 4 pounds), I prepped them for the brine.

    Brine (for 20lbs)

    1 gallon water

    7.5 TBL (136g) Cure#1

    1 LB (453g) kosher salt

    3 TBL Coriander Seeds

    3 TBL Black Peppercorns

    2 TBL Yellow Mustard Seed

    3 TBL Brown Sugar

    3 TBL Paprika

    8 cloves Garlic; minced

    I injected the brine into the briskets (10% of total weight). All briskets then were placed into a lug, weighted down (submerged) and place in the refrigerator. There they'll stay for 5 days. I'll move them around around a bit over the course of the next few days to ensure good cure coverage.

    No photos yet (images of me trimming fat aren't so exciting [​IMG])

    But I'll have some when I take the briskets out for the next step...Pastrami-making!

  2. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    [​IMG]   [​IMG]

  3. big andy a

    big andy a Smoking Fanatic


  4. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Great start Kevin!
  5. Waiting for this one!
  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I still need to try and brine my own corned beef. Some day I will pull the trigger on it.
  7. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    Took a peek at the briskets last night—and gave them a good rotation so cure is evenly distributed. I'll do this every other day.

    My temp in this second fridge started a bit low (32°!), so I've cranked it way back (up?) so it'll get to the desired temp for the cure to work effectively ("The curing temperature should be between 36-40° F which falls within the range of a common refrigerator. Lower than 36° F temperature may slow down the curing process or even halt it."—S.Mariansky).

    Unfortunately it took about a day & a half to climb to 37-38° so I may extend the brine time an extra day or so to ensure good cure treatment.

  8. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Well Kevin the waiting is always the hardest part of alot of things we do here. So hang in there and soon you ill have some of the best corned beef that you have ever tasted believe me.
  9. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    Almost there........

    My plan is to take the briskets out from the brine tomorrow; dry & rub down those targeted for pastrami and food-saver those two briskets destined for corned beef.

    Here's a shot of the beef about 3 days into the soak...The load is weighted down with a 10-pound plate on the lid so they are entirely submerged in the brine. They 'bob' to the surface (in these shots) when the weight is removed.

    Shown here are the 3 smaller briskets. They'll be flipped and go on the bottom next as I rotate the pieces in the brine.


    The two larger briskets now on top. Since I took these shots a few days ago, I've continued to move them about to ensure good brine saturation.


  10. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    At the end of the six day brining period, I pulled the briskets and rinsed them well.

    The 3 smaller 'corned' briskets I 'food-savered' for next month's St. Paddy's Day festivities....


    The remaining two biggies I gave a generous rub-down of coarsely cracked black pepper, coriander seed & mustard seed. Also mixed in a bit of turbinado sugar to the rub.

    I let these dry for a bit before placing them into a pre-heated smoker:


    At 140° I began giving the pastramis a good dose of hickory smoke. This continued for the next 90 minutes at 140.°

    Following the smoke, I raised the temp to 200° & kept the meat cooking until the IT of 165° was reached. I then chilled the two in the refrigerator.

    Smoke beginning to roll...


    Next day, I broke out the slicer and took the well-chilled pastramis out to begin the 'pre-packaging' process...

    Good uniform color in the meat; a bit on the salty side, but after steaming some & applying mustard & kraut on a sandwich, the pastrami is quite good!

    Ready to eat or be packaged up for later....


    Thanks for lookin!

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
    cris993703 likes this.
  11. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Man those look great. I bet that made a tasty sandwich 
  12. WOW!!!!!  That looks great!!!!!

  13. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Another great post, Kevin!

    Made me hungry just looking at it!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  14. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [​IMG]  darn nice looking. I too will try making my own corned beef one of these days
  15. I so much want to try this.  Thanks for the recipe. 
  16. couger78

    couger78 Smoking Fanatic

    Well, got it all 'food-savered' in handy little 8 ounce packets.

    Gave some away to the neighbors on all sides—always a good idea considering they have to tolerate hours of wonderful BBQ smoke wafting in their direction. [​IMG]

    Pastrami is one of those foods that has a pretty wide audience of fans! Now, Liverwusrt...that's a different story.


  17. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Man this looks great ,nice color[​IMG]
  18. sam3

    sam3 Smoking Fanatic

    Another great post by Kevin!  I bookmarked this recipe too!
  19. Love liverwurst.  Probably eat it on a sandwich twice a week and always have a couple store bought packages in the freezer.  I will never run out of Liverwurst.  Das ist gutes Zeug!

    If you have a recipe, please share. 
  20. viper1

    viper1 Meat Mopper

    I do my own and love it too! Its very simple to do. I prefer the Braunschweiger as its smoked.