Pastrami from store bought corned beef

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Nefarious

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Oct 10, 2021
1,597
1,285
Seattle WA
I was at Costco, saw they had corned beef and decided to get one to make pastrami from.

I know it has way more salt then we as a household will tolerate, and wonder how long can I soak it in water, changing the water frequently, to remove the salt.

I don't have high expectations that people here will think much of this little experiment, I just want a little practice before I do a real brisket.
 

4-6hrs does the trick for me
 
This is a great way to start! Soaking it to remove some of the salt, then a proper pastrami rub made with black pepper and coriander as the base and you'll be good to !

Start with fresh water and soak if for 30 minutes then change the water and soak for another 30 minutes and then change the water and soak for a 3rd time for 30 minutes and you should be good to go!
 

4-6hrs does the trick for me
I assume you soak in ice water so you don't have to refrigerate during the soak?
 
I assume you soak in ice water so you don't have to refrigerate during the soak?
Technically you don't have to refrigerate if just using cold water but recommended to change water every 30min. Used ice so I didn't have to change water so often
 
I think the reasoning behind changing the water a couple of times is the water sucks the salt out of the CB, so if you don’t change the water it equalizes with the salt content in the CB & won’t pull any more out. But when you change the water, there is more salt in the CB & it transfers out into the water. Keep doing it until you get the desired salt level. You can do a fry test to make sure the salt is right. Slice off a thin slice & fry it up. If the salt is right you’re ready for the smoker.
Al
 
The amount of soaking also depends on the brand. Some are way more salty than others. I soak it in the fridge.

Chris
 
I was at Costco, saw they had corned beef and decided to get one to make pastrami

I don't have high expectations that people here will think much of this little experiment, I just want a little practice before I do a real brisket.
nothing wrong with giving it a try, should be a good experiment to see what happens!
 
Nefarious, do a search on here for Chef Jimmy J's pastrami rub recipe. It's my go-to, superior to anything I've tried. If you can't find it, I printed it out, and I'll see if I can dig it up at home.
 
Never mind, I found it.
Thanks to our departed brother, Chef Jimmy J! I coat with mustard, then rub generously and let rest overnight.

Better 'en NY Pastrami Rub

2T Turbinado Sugar
2T Black Peppercorns
1T Coriander Seed
1T Dill Seed
1T Dry Minced Onion
1T Dry Minced Garlic
1tsp Allspice Berries (6-8ea)
1tsp Mustard Seed
1tsp Dry Thyme Leaves
3 Bay Leaves, crumbled
1tsp Juniper Berries (6-8ea)

All Spices are Whole and were toasted in a dry pan over Medium heat until fragrant.
Let the Spices cool then Grind in a cheapo Coffee Grinder until slightly less than Coarse. The Garlic and Onion do not need to be toasted. If grinding do so only slightly as the Minced size is pretty close to perfect for Pastrami.
 
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For me, the soak-out time is brand specific. For instance the corned brisket flats at Sam's club are a good quality cut (usually with a little point meat included) and the corning brine's saltiness is middle of the road for commercially corned briskets. I usually soak 12 or 15 hours with 2 or 3 water changes in the first couple of hours. Other brands I'm not familiar with, I will soak for 24 hours.

Knowing that there is a lot of water and salt exchange going on.... I dry the meat, apply my rub and rest for at least 12 hours in the fridge before smoking.
 
The amount of soaking also depends on the brand. Some are way more salty than others. I soak it in the fridge.

Chris
Agreed.

I bought several from Aldis last year on sale 50% off and I did one after more than 24 hours soaking with many water changes and it was still to salty for our tastes so the rest went into the chili pot.Still have another that I'm going to give a go with but I'll probably soak for a few days this time around.
 
For me, the soak-out time is brand specific. For instance the corned brisket flats at Sam's club are a good quality cut (usually with a little point meat included) and the corning brine's saltiness is middle of the road for commercially corned briskets.
This happens to be a brisket round, they didn't have flats, is this a problem?
 
Never mind, I found it.
Thanks to our departed brother, Chef Jimmy J! I coat with mustard, then rub generously and let rest overnight.

Better 'en NY Pastrami Rub

2T Turbinado Sugar
2T Black Peppercorns
1T Coriander Seed
1T Dill Seed
1T Dry Minced Onion
1T Dry Minced Garlic
1tsp Allspice Berries (6-8ea)
1tsp Mustard Seed
1tsp Dry Thyme Leaves
3 Bay Leaves, crumbled
1tsp Juniper Berries (6-8ea)

All Spices are Whole and were toasted in a dry pan over Medium heat until fragrant.
Let the Spices cool then Grind in a cheapo Coffee Grinder until slightly less than Coarse. The Garlic and Onion do not need to be toasted. If grinding do so only slightly as the Minced size is pretty close to perfect for Pastrami.
I have used this rub several times as well as thirdeye thirdeye 's...

I like them both. As for soaking, I don't tolerate a lot of salt, either, so a couple of days in the fridge for me...
 
I've done the corned beef to pastrami thing a couple of times. In my experience, the cut of brisket is stringy and too fatty for me. I've done a small whole brisket before and won't make pastrami any other way now.
 
This happens to be a brisket round, they didn't have flats, is this a problem?
"Brisket round" (?), or a "brisket point"? or a corned "top round" like this? Is it 2-1/2" or thicker? A corned point is a little fattier, which can be a good thing for pastrami. Corned rounds might need a longer soak-out because of the thickness.
qHaPoUc.jpg
If you have a corned brisket point, consider some cubes like you would make burnt ends.
wPC6QML.jpg
I've done the corned beef to pastrami thing a couple of times. In my experience, the cut of brisket is stringy and too fatty for me. I've done a small whole brisket before and won't make pastrami any other way now.
Maybe you had a corned brisket point? That muscle is fattier, and frankly some producers cull out the lower quality points to corn, otherwise they would have to grind them for less profit. With a good finishing method, pastrami shouldn't be stringy, within reason. Sometimes it's so tender you have to slice with the grain.
PPDiSc4.jpg
 
"Brisket round" (?), or a "brisket point"? or a corned "top round" like this? Is it 2-1/2" or thicker? A corned point is a little fattier, which can be a good thing for pastrami. Corned rounds might need a longer soak-out because of the thickness.
View attachment 655639
If you have a corned brisket point, consider some cubes like you would make burnt ends.
View attachment 655640

Maybe you had a corned brisket point? That muscle is fattier, and frankly some producers cull out the lower quality points to corn, otherwise they would have to grind them for less profit. With a good finishing method, pastrami shouldn't be stringy, within reason. Sometimes it's so tender you have to slice with the grain.
View attachment 655641
Totally sloppy on my part. It doesn't really say. Just "Corned Beef" and in small print it says "round contains up to ..."

I now think you are correct and is a top round, and not what I thought. Need to pay more attention. Sorry!
 
I think the reasoning behind changing the water a couple of times is the water sucks the salt out of the CB, so if you don’t change the water it equalizes with the salt
This. As the water and salt equalize, the transfer process slows down, so by providing a water change, it keeps the salt moving out of the meat faster.
 
Totally sloppy on my part. It doesn't really say. Just "Corned Beef" and in small print it says "round contains up to ..."

I now think you are correct and is a top round, and not what I thought. Need to pay more attention. Sorry!
Then you are still in good shape! Corned rounds are good, just a little leaner briskets than ... but easier to cook tender.
 
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