Not Quite Pastrami

Discussion in 'Beef' started by ifitsdeadsmokeit, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Havent been on in a while and thought I would share a little for St Patty's Day instead of just gleaming all the great information from all the great people on this site...So I decided to make Corned Beef for this coming weekend.  I can finally contribute something.  Have intended to do Qview for a bunch of smokes I have done, but just never got around to uploading the pictures and typing everything up.  So here goes:

    Corned Beef


    1 gallon cold water

    1 cup Kosher Salt

    3 Tbs Brown Sugar

    1 Tbs Garlic Powder

    6 Tbs Pickling Spice (I like McCormicks or can make your own pretty easily)

    1 tsp Paprika

    1 Tbs Cracked Black Pepper

    1 tsp Ground Dry Mustard

    1.5 Tbs Cure #1 - optional for corned beef but does provide the nice red color.  If you are going to smoke it into pastrami, then it is required.

    mix all the ingredients together in a food grade container.  I like to clean and sanitize anything that will come in contact with the meat or brine solution.  Add meat to brine mixture.  Keep submerged.  I use a gallong bag gilled with water and the air removed.  You can also vacuum seal (dbl seal) if you prefer.  Brine 7 to 10 days.  I like to inject the meat on day 2 and 5 during the brining process but  you dont have to.

    After brining, rinse and soak for 2 hours to reduce the salt level.  Some people like to soak over night.  Be sure to change the water several times.

    Rub for Pastrami

    I didnt do this because I was making corned beef...

    1/3 cup coarse ground pepper of crushed peppercorns

    1/4 cup coriander

    coat the brined meat with olive oil and coat with rub


    All kinds of choices here.  The most common cut is probably brisket.  If using the brisket, separate the point from the flat and trim most of the fat off.  But I think to get a better flavor and more tenderness you need to use a better cut of meat.  I have also used tri tip roast.  My preference is the Center Round or the piece right next to the center, London Broil some call it.


    Corned beef is typically boiled.  St Patty's day isnt usually on the weekend, so it usually ends up in the crock pot with a couple cups of brine and covered in water with potatoes and cabbage. 

    If making pastrami, which is also delicious,  I smoke at 200 until it hits 165 internal temp.


    But not this year.  I can sit around and watch it boil and cook while drinking a nice red beer...i'll pass on the food dye....there is a great bar/pizza place in Denver/Aurora that makes a fabulous red called 80 schilling which can be found at the Breweria...if you arent from around here, then I recommend Leinenkugles red.

    center round


    Brine Solution


    Weighted and ready for lid and fridge for 10 days


    hopefully I will remember to take a picture of it cooked this weekend...there are many ways to do and make different meats.  This is just what I like.  Feel free to experiement...happy St Patricks Day everyone !!!!
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  2. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    Looking really good!!!
  3. raptor700

    raptor700 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

             Great start

  4. bamafan

    bamafan Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Looking forward to the money shot's. I'm sure it'll be awesome. Thanks for shareing the pix and recipe!
  5. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    The amount of cure #1 in the recipe is a little low with smaller pieces of meat due to it being an immersion (wet) cure. 40 - 50ppm is needed for any meaningful curing to take place.

    Using just the water and meat from the above recipe:

    For 1 lbs of meat plus a gallon of water that would be 22ppm

    For 5 lbs of meat at 1/4 tsp of cure #1 per pound plus one gallon of water would be 77ppm which is a bit better.

    10lbs of meat at 1/4tsp of cure #1 per pound plus one gallon of water would be 112ppm.

    USDA allows a maximum of 200ppm of nitrite for an immersion cure. I used Method 2 on page 22 of to come up with the ppm.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  6. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Pop's brine call for 1 heaping tablespoon per gallon of water & I use 3 level tablespoons per gallon. With just 1/4 tsp. per gallon, it does not seem like the meat will cure much. IMHO.
  7. For a small piece of meat you are probably correct.  I will adjust the amount of cure to be based on the amount I used for the gallon of water which is usually around 1.5 Tbs since the meat usually comes in around 6 lbs.  Pops sent an PM noting the same thing.  He made the very valid point that the cure is based on a range to be between a minimum and maximum concentration per gallon of water and doesnt depend on the weight of meat.
  8. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I gave you the link and the page for you to see for yourself. Generally, most people will get by just fine following what you said. However, it is possible to cover 20 - 30 lbs of meat with a gallon of water which will dilute the amount of cure available. The technical answer is you have to take both in consideration.

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