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My First Pastrami

GonnaSmoke

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So this will be several firsts for me. My first cook post, my first Aldi Corned Beef, and my first attempt at pastrami.
So I've been reading about the corned beef from Aldi so I went and bought this one to attempt to make pastrami. About 3 lbs.


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The label said to include the liquid in cooking because it was included in the weight. Supposedly 35%. Here it is and it went down the drain.
20210301_175737.jpg


Here's what I ended up with to cook. A little fatty, but it is a point. I tried to pick out a lean one, but selection was limited.
20210301_175835.jpg


I used this pastrami rub by thirdeye https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/pastrami-wet-brine.302811/#post-2151312. Coated and put to bed overnight.
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On my Weber that I've setup to cook kind of offset.
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300℉ - 325℉ for about 4 hours or so until internal temp was 200℉. Wrapped and let rest for an hour.
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Looked great and the texture/tenderness were about perfect or at least to me. Only problem was too salty for our tastes. Next time I think I need to soak in water over night to remove some of the salt.
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Well that's my first attempt at pastrami, my first thread about a cook I've done (room for improvement), and my first corned beef from Aldi. I intended to get a post cook weight, but I forgot. I need to get this right because I have a whole packer that I separated and is in the brine now. My plan is to cook the flat as traditional corned beef and the point as pastrami. I'm using POP's brine with pickling spice...
 

mike243

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Son made the same mistake, change the water several times in 24 hours, looks good though
 

TNJAKE

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Looks good bud. I use store bought alot for my pastrami. I like the Grobbels brand and a flat. I soak for about 4hr and change water every hour. Nice work.
 

xray

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Pastrami looks pretty good! If your smoking a store bought corned beef it is wise to soak to remove some of the salt.

If your making a traditional corned beef and cabbage there’s no need to soak because that salt leaches out and makes a flavorful broth for the vegetables. The potatoes, carrots and cabbage will absorb all that excess.
 

thirdeye

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Thanks for the nod on my pastrami rub, it has always done me well.

Looked great and the texture/tenderness were about perfect or at least to me. Only problem was too salty for our tastes. Next time I think I need to soak in water over night to remove some of the salt.
20210302_172514-jpg.jpg
Store bought corned meats need a rinse and soak out, when making either a corned beef dinner or pastrami. Commercial producers use a strong cover brine, and inject same so they can package their meat after just a few days and get it to market quickly (then start the next batch) so it kind of cures in the store. Good call on draining off the package liquid. And you are right.... a soak out would have likely reduced the salty issue you had. And unfortunately, all brands are different when it comes to their curing technique.

One other observation.... the tenderness would have been improved if you sliced it against the grain, 90° to your slices. You can mark the grain direction with a notch or something when the roast is raw so it's easy to see how to slice later.

Here is my full pastrami article that discusses soaking options and finishing options. Maybe you can get a couple of tips for next time.
 

jcam222

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Looks good! I soaked mine for 24 hours to desalinate it. I’m so happy with the whole ones from GFS I ordered 4 more for the freezer.
 

GonnaSmoke

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Thanks for the nod on my pastrami rub, it has always done me well.



Store bought corned meats need a rinse and soak out, when making either a corned beef dinner or pastrami. Commercial producers use a strong cover brine, and inject same so they can package their meat after just a few days and get it to market quickly (then start the next batch) so it kind of cures in the store. Good call on draining off the package liquid. And you are right.... a soak out would have likely reduced the salty issue you had. And unfortunately, all brands are different when it comes to their curing technique.

One other observation.... the tenderness would have been improved if you sliced it against the grain, 90° to your slices. You can mark the grain direction with a notch or something when the roast is raw so it's easy to see how to slice later.

Here is my full pastrami article that discusses soaking options and finishing options. Maybe you can get a couple of tips for next time.
I like your rub and I did up the pepper because we like pepper. I like the rub that jcam posted from Katz, as well. I will probably try that one day, but for now this attempt is going in the trash and I'll start over with a little more knowledge.

As for the slicing, I realized I had started it wrong. Thanks for the tip.
 
Last edited:

SlickRockStones

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You could reheat the pastrami in a steamer basket to help remove some salt. You could also chop it, add potatoes, onions and make hash with it. Pastrami is a terrible thing to waste!
 

SmokinAl

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Well the most important things have already been addressed. You should have soaked it in cold water for 4-5 hours changing the water a couple of times, and you should have sliced it against the grain. Two simple things that will make it the best pastrami you have ever eaten! Personally I prefer the point, it’s much more flavorful & tender than the flat, but my wife likes the flat, so guess what I buy!:emoji_blush:
Al
 

GonnaSmoke

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Well the most important things have already been addressed. You should have soaked it in cold water for 4-5 hours changing the water a couple of times, and you should have sliced it against the grain. Two simple things that will make it the best pastrami you have ever eaten! Personally I prefer the point, it’s much more flavorful & tender than the flat, but my wife likes the flat, so guess what I buy!:emoji_blush:
Al
Thanks to all. I have a question about the one that I currently have brining. Do I need to soak the point before smoking? It is a whole packer that I broke down and trimmed myself. It is in POP's brine and I added pickling spice. My plan is to cook the flat as traditional corned beef and the point will go on the smoker for pastrami. I used POP's full strength brine https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/curing-with-pops-brine.270282/
 

thirdeye

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The main feature of Pop's Brine is the 1 heaping tablespoon of Cure #1 per each gallon of water. As you saw the range of salt per gallon of water is 1/3 cup to 1 cup. Somewhere in my brine notes was a post by Pops where he mentioned sea salt and I understood that to mean fine grind. Can anyone confirm this?

1 cup of kosher salt to 1 gallon of water is a benchmark ratio for brines. For me, this has always been to salty, so I lessen it. But, back to your question I rinse and do at least a 1 hour soak on my home cured meats, both wet cured and dry cured. Others are okay with a rinse only.
 

SmokinAl

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Thanks to all. I have a question about the one that I currently have brining. Do I need to soak the point before smoking? It is a whole packer that I broke down and trimmed myself. It is in POP's brine and I added pickling spice. My plan is to cook the flat as traditional corned beef and the point will go on the smoker for pastrami. I used POP's full strength brine https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/curing-with-pops-brine.270282/
When you take it out of the brine, rinse it off & slice off a small piece against the grain. Then fry it up & see if it’s too salty for your taste. For the corned beef portion, it should be fine, cause it will be cooking in water all day. But you may find the point for pastrami too salty & want to soak it a couple of hours in cold water.
Al
 

GonnaSmoke

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Well, round 2 of my pastrami journey went off much better than my first. I bought another corned beef brisket and following the advice received here, I soaked the corned beef for 6 hours, changing the water every hour. I still used thirdeye's pastrami rub recipe and smoked it to 200℉, pulled and wrapped for an hour.

Needless to say, this time it turned out MUCH, MUCH better and a lot less salty thanks to the advice from you guys. No pics this time, but next time for sure when I'll be smoking my own brisket that I am brining now....
 

sandyut

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SmokinAl SmokinAl said it well. I picked up a corned beef at costco the other day and will be prepping for next week soon.
 

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