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Newbie's First Pastrami

Discussion in 'Beef' started by twothphry, Aug 19, 2010.

  1.  I am about to do my first pastrami this week end. I've gleaned the forum for as much advice but lack a few details. So far I've learned that I need to soak my meat the day before so as to remove as much salt as possible.

      As far as spices go, Black Pepper, Coriander and maybe garlic powder. Is that all I need? Or should I be adding other spices like paprika.

      What's the proper cooking ritual? What temperature to set my MES? What should be my internal temp? I've read something about steaming. Is this something I should be doing. I'd love to make a Pastrami like a good Jewish Deli would make.

      I'm at your mercy people. The last time I appealed for help doing a leg of lamb it can out so good my neighbor said I should quit my day job and open a BBQ place. Not looking to change jobs just have a good meal.
  2. rp ribking

    rp ribking Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Steaming is for clothes, smoking is for meat. Someone will be here before to long to help you out. Good Luck on the pastrami.
  3. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    One thing you didn't mention is whether you are using a corned beef brisket or curing one yourself.

    If curing one yourself you need to follow the instructions for using Instacure #1 or Tender Quick exactly as per manufactures directions.

    Also remember TQ and Instacure #1 are not the same thing.  They require different amounts per pound follow the directions to the letter and the quantities are not interchangeable.

    Here is a pastrami rub recipe for using a  corned beef brisket tha has already been cured, this is just a rub and not a cure.

    Pastrami Rub

    If you are interested in turning corned beef into pastrami  this is the rub for you. Make sure it is rubbed into the meat really well before you place the beef into the smoker.


        * 4 tablespoons kosher salt
        * 4 tablespoons paprika
        * 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
        * 3 tablespoons brown sugar
        * 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
        * 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
        * 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
        * 8 cloves garlic, minced

    Combine coriander seeds, peppercorns and mustard seeds in a spice grinder. Grind coarsely. Add in remaining ingredients and mix well. Rub is now ready to use. It may be stored, refrigerated in an airtight container.
  4. rp ribking

    rp ribking Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Beer, That sounds like an excellent rub for pastrami. Is a spice grinder the same as a pepper mill or would a food processor work better?  
  5. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Most of us use a coffee grinder to grind spices and keep it dedicated for that purpose - trust me when I tell you that you do not want to use it for coffee after using it for spices and vice versa - 

    Here is a link you need to view - this is a legend here called Dudestrami - a lot of us oldtimers have been following Jays method for a long time with great success - you can also search "Dudestrami" for lots of other posts on this method 


    Good luck and let us know if we can help more
  6. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    I don't have a coffee grinder, but we use a small cusinart to grind spices.  Not perfect, but it pretty much works.  Ours has two settings for the blade -- one is closer to the bottom and produces a finer mix. 
  7. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    I've searched around and found out a few things, First, someone posted that it ain't pastrami without coriander. True. It also ain't pastrami without pepper. You can start with off-the-shelf pickling spices and add slightly cracked pepper generously.

    I think the soaking step is optional. Real Jewish deli pastrami IS salty. But it also probably depends on the CB you start with and your tolerance for salt (and any health issues, of course). It has been suggested that you slice a small piece off the CB, fry it and taste it. If it's too salty, soak for an hour and repeat. Change the water each hour, too. IMHO: two things make CB saltier: frying and freezing.

    Delis heat the 'stramis by steaming. If you're going to serve straight off the smoker, no steam is needed. If your going to chill and reheat, steam is the way to go.

    BTW: Brown mustard only! Gulden's is good; Nathan's is better.

    I did one last weekend and it turned out really good. I did 225 for a little over 6 hours. Try it and enjoy!

  8. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    The first strami i did was good. Just smoked and rested .The second i placed in the fridge over night and then steamed it for 2 hrs the next day. BIG difference! much better!

     Only problem i seem to have w/ pastrami is there's never any left to freeze.
  9. Thanks for the rub recipe Beer-Bar-B-Q