My Pastrami Obsession Part Deux

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Retired Spook

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Jun 28, 2022
1,814
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To continue my obsession...

A 3.03-pound HEB Prime Tri Tip cured 5-days using an injected equilibrium cure as advised by tallbm tallbm using the Digging Dog calculator adjusted to 1.65% salt.

Rinsed and coated with a Pastrami rub from another website that consists of:
  • 2 tablespoons pepper corns
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (I used smoked)
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • ½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
(Crush whole corns and seeds)
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Then wrapped in Glad wrap and placed in the fridge for 2-days.
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A beautiful crisp 32-degree perfect smoking morning! Fired up the smoker and brought it up to temperature, added a few pre-soaked hickory chunks, and in the cook chamber she went!
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Some nice clean hickory smoke. I love the smell of hickory - other smoke woods smell like, wood burning, but hickory, smells like, hickory. I am sure that when God smokes food in heaven, he uses hickory.
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I smoked it to 150-degrees then double wrapped it with grill master foil, cranked the heat up to 300-degrees and put it back in the smoker for 2-1/2-hours - internal temperature was 210-degrees. Here it is resting...
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Then I sliced a few slabs - as it is a Tri Tip it was extremely tender; could defiantly do less time in foil.
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And made a half a sandwich (it is late so I did not want to eat too much, but I had to have a taste). Pastrami slabs on Jewish rye with homemade Russian dressing (recipe from another website to follow), Swiss cheese and coleslaw...
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Half sandwich cut in half for the plate shot!
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OK so, it may not be Katz's, but this really surprised me.

It is flat-out awesome pastrami, perfect flavor, not salty at all (thanks tallbm tallbm for the 1.65% salt advice - perfect!), very tender and very juicy - a fantastic sandwich! Tri Tip makes a superb pastrami - much, much better than any I have had from brisket point or flat.

I am looking forward to a little pastrami hash for breakfast, and a killer sandwich for dinner tomorrow. I cannot think of a better way to end a year and start a new one!!! Just awesome!

Happy New Year, y'alls!

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Homemade Russian dressing (from another website) - this stuff is good.
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Blue Plate mayo because Duke's aint what it once was anymore)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion (I used yellow)
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
You may want to start with 1/4 teaspoon of horseradish and adjust to your preference.
 
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Looks fantastic! I need to try it with a Tri tip. Nicely done.
It was phenomenal! I used a Tri Tip because I’ve never been happy with brisket pastrami results and it’s pretty much impossible to get beef navel where I live. Excellent pastrami 👍🏻
 
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Great Pastrami! Looks delicious. Never thought of using Tri Tip. I may give this a try. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Great Pastrami! Looks delicious. Never thought of using Tri Tip. I may give this a try. Thanks for sharing.
I have been obsessing over pastrami for almost 40-years, and while this is not a Katz's beef navel pastrami, it was excellent - by far the best pastrami I have ever made. This was my first experience using an equilibrium cure with tallbm tallbm 's suggestions, and it is a winner. While slightly over-cooked (210-degrees internal) the grain and texture of the meat is excellent, there is just enough fat to to render and lubricate the meat beautifully, and the sandwich was just great.

The only thing I forgot was a Claussen dill pickle spear from the jar in the fridge that I bought for this occassion - but I will correct that error today.

As much as I long for a Katz's pastrami sandwich this is a more than satisfactory substitute. And I would wager that for the folks that might not be too crazy about the fat content in a beef navel, a Tri Tip is just the ticket - without the hassle of curing and smoking a brisket and with much better texture.

I can't wait for lunch/dinner - I usually eat my heavy meal for the day mid-afternoon. 🫡
 
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New Year's Day breakfast - pastrami hash (diced par-boiled red potatoes, diced yellow onion, diced Tri Tip pastrami and a dash of thyme) and egg!
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Close up of diced Tri Tip pastrami to show those wonderful specks of fat.
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An excellent breakfast!
 
What would you say are some key differences between your pastrami vs Katz's? Was it just not as fatty or something about the flavor was missing?
 
What would you say are some key differences between your pastrami vs Katz's? Was it just not as fatty or something about the flavor was missing?
The texture of the meat in a beef navel is what makes a Katz's pastrami, a pastrami, and of course, a beef navel has more fat than other cuts, which is why many people make beef bacon from it. Some folks will cut the fat off of a Katz's pastrami so there's that.

Brisket makes a great corned beef and is the traditional cut for a corned beef, but its too stringy/grainy and much too dense for pastrami, in my opinion.

The Tri Tip I used was just a wild experiment based on some previous results grilling them. Typically, a prime Tri Tip is nicely marbled and has some fat. On a few prior occasions they were very fatty and I was disappointed because much of it was waste, but I think I have zeroed in on what to look for when selecting a Tri Tip for grilling, so I thought I would give one a try for pastrami - because I do not like pastrami from brisket point or flat, for the aforementioned reasons.

The Tri Tip seems to have come closest to the texture found in a beef navel (from memory) without quite so much fat - though I have not sliced my way to the center of the Tri Tip yet so there may be a surprise. And the Tri Tip is very tender, which made for an excellent sandwich.

Either way, most of the taste in a pastrami comes from the spices in the rub, the smoke, and the cure - so you can cure almost anything, put a pastrami rub on it, smoke it, and call it a pastrami - but it really aint...

Lastly, a real beef navel pastrami, chilled, sliced thin like bacon (Jewish bacon) then fried almost like bacon, with a slice of Swiss cheese melted on top, placed on some good rye bread with some Gulden's spicy brown mustard, is a heavenly experience that everyone should have in life.

My preference for a hot pastrami fresh out of the smoker, or steamer at Katz's, with Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and coleslaw, is just a personal preference (some folks call it a New Yorker or a Rachael, as opposed to a Ruben made from corned beef). It is not really a traditional pastrami sandwich (pastrami, Swiss and spicy brown mustard), but maaaannn is it good.

I still intend to purchase some pastrami from Katz's but in the interim, I could live with Tri Tip pastrami just fine.

And now, you got me craving a pastrami sandwich so bad I want to make one, but it is 7:00 AM and a little too early for a monster sandwich that will probably put me back to sleep - so I have to wait ! I got sidetracked yesterday on my sausage & peppers thread, and made the last of the sausage & peppers I had, so I skipped a pastrami sandwich yesterday, but not today! :emoji_sunglasses:
 
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You have me wanting to cure and smoke some Pastrami . I've used eye round , and brisket flat . Did the petite tender for snacking . All good , but like you I want that fatty cut . There's a Deli just south of St. Louis that serves a hot Pastrami sandwich using Beef deckle . Part point end / part neck .
They also have a good Rachael . Turkey , kraut and brown mustard . Not really the same though .
I did a firehouse down the street from this place . Had hot pastrami for lunch 3 days a week .
 
OK 9:50 AM - I waited long enough...

Cold slices - pretty good marbling. Most definitely cooked in the Texas crutch a little bit long - it wants to fall apart. Live and learn.
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Warmed up in the microwave looks good to me. Jewish rye from the supermarket "out here" is larger than the sandwich shop Jewish rye back home - typically, this quantity of meat would stack much higher...
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Assembled and sliced in half.
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The first bite!
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Had to make room for the pickle!
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NOT Katz's by any means, but a hundred times better than Boar's head.

Man that was good! In about 20-minutes it will be time for a nap :emoji_laughing:
 
OK 9:50 AM - I waited long enough...

Cold slices - pretty good marbling. Most definitely cooked in the Texas crutch a little bit long - it wants to fall apart. Live and learn.
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Warmed up in the microwave looks good to me. Jewish rye from the supermarket "out here" is larger than the sandwich shop Jewish rye back home - typically, this quantity of meat would stack much higher...
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Assembled and sliced in half.
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The first bite!
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Had to make room for the pickle!
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NOT Katz's by any means, but a hundred times better than Boar's head.

Man that was good! In about 20-minutes it will be time for a nap :emoji_laughing:
man that looks good. I’m gonna try the Tri tip cook. Edit” read line 1 first post and it was prime.
 
man that looks good. I’m gonna try the Tri tip cook. Edit” read line 1 first post and it was prime.
Yep - prime! HEB only sells "select" and "prime" and their select is pretty bad, unless you like shoe-leather. Their prime can have a huge knot of fat hidden inside but I think I have learned how to pick them to avoid that pitfall.

Of course, there is no doubt that I wish I could get a quality beef navel, but I can not afford to buy show-off beef (not knocking anyone that can), and it is otherwise impossible to get beef navel around here.

Nevertheless, this has cured my pastrami craving for the foreseeable future!

OK, I am getting woozy - sleep time is approaching...
 
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