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Pastrami Help

lowcountrygamecock

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I bought a corned beef flat the other day and want to smoke it this weekend. I've done this in the past and it was ok but a little tough. Any advice on how to get it more tender? It was so long ago I really don't remember details. I read a lot about people smoking and then steaming in a pressure cooker. Can I smoke to a certain temp and then put it in the instant pot? Any estimates on time in the smoker?
 

daveomak

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If you pressure cook it, cut back on the smoke about 75%.... Pressure cooking or canning INTENSIFIES the smoke a bunch.... I've done that and made the meat inedible when my normal smoke was added....
 

TNJAKE

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Maybe this will help. Also check out meatheads pastrami. He has some pretty good tips on his website
 

sandyut

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I pretty much do it just like TNJAKE TNJAKE always turns out real tender. I tend to soak longer - usually overnight. i dont like them super salty and the Kroger ones i have access too tend to be rather high in the salt.

now i kinda want to make one this weekend...
 

unclebubbas bbq

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Smoke it until the internal temp reaches 205 or take your thermometer and if it slides into the meat easily then it's done
 

thirdeye

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Its not mandatory, but pastrami does benefit from a finishing step. I prefer a pressure finish or sous vide finish.. I season, then smoke CB to 150*, and good color. Then add some beefy broth to about 1.5" of water in the pressure cooker and pressure finish 40 minutes at 13 psi (time will vary with the thickness of the meat, and psi) After hundreds of pounds, I've not experienced over smokiness like daveomak daveomak mentioned. I am mindful of smoke on smoked and pressure canned meats, but not on smoked and pressure cooked meats. Maybe Dave is doing cold smoking on his pastrami, I'm hot smoking with 250°-275° barbecue temps.
 
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SmokinAl

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Well I soak them for 3 to 4 hours, changing the water a couple of times. Then coat them with my pastrami rub, which is mostly coarse black pepper & smoke them to an IT of 150, then vac bag them & SV for 24 hours at 155. If you try this you will never do it any other way. The texture & tenderness of the meat is incredible.
Al
 

thirdeye

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Well I soak them for 3 to 4 hours, changing the water a couple of times. Then coat them with my pastrami rub, which is mostly coarse black pepper & smoke them to an IT of 150, then vac bag them & SV for 24 hours at 155. If you try this you will never do it any other way. The texture & tenderness of the meat is incredible.
Al
Al, did you experiment with 145°? I've bounced back and forth between.
 

indaswamp

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Well I soak them for 3 to 4 hours, changing the water a couple of times. Then coat them with my pastrami rub, which is mostly coarse black pepper & smoke them to an IT of 150, then vac bag them & SV for 24 hours at 155. If you try this you will never do it any other way. The texture & tenderness of the meat is incredible.
Al
I recently did a brisket pastrami and cured it from raw meat. It was too salty. I have another one being cured now but am using 0.55% of the green untrimmed weight to calculate the salt to correct my mistake. I took mine to 180*F before sous vide @145* for 10 hours. Wish I had seen your post before, but I'll try your method on these next ones. Thanks for posting Al!!
 

thirdeye

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I recently did a brisket pastrami and cured it from raw meat. It was too salty. I have another one being cured now but am using 0.55% of the green untrimmed weight to calculate the salt to correct my mistake. I took mine to 180*F before sous vide @145* for 10 hours. Wish I had seen your post before, but I'll try your method on these next ones. Thanks for posting Al!!
Just curious, but why not use the actual trimmed weight?
 

indaswamp

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Just curious, but why not use the actual trimmed weight?
Because of shrinkage due to evaporation loss. Water leaves, salt remains. Now If I only smoke to INT of 150*F like Al, that may change things and have less evaporation loss...
 

thirdeye

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Because of shrinkage due to evaporation loss. Water leaves, salt remains. Now If I only smoke to INT of 150*F like Al, that may change things and have less evaporation loss...
Sorry, but I'm not connecting the dots here.... I'm probably missing something simple. :emoji_nerd: (It's happens a lot). Everything you cure and smoke will shrink and loose moisture, so I can't figure out the evaporation loss, how more salt remains than what you want and the difference it would make if the internal is 150° or 200°.

You start with a trimmed brisket flat which is raw. Then using that weight you calculate the percentage of salt, sugar, Cure #1, and any signature spices, needed for cuting..... and use that mixture to cure the meat..., which leaves you with corned beef. Next, you turn corned beef into pastrami.

The corned beef is (sometimes) soaked-out, seasoned with a pastrami rub, then allowed to equalize for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. Then, it's smoked (to your personal sweet spot internal temp), and at this time it may come off the smoker and get wrapped, or finished by steaming, pressure or sous vide.
 

indaswamp

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I'm going to eliminate completely the need to soak out. This will give me absolutely repeatable results.
 

lowcountrygamecock

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Update on this one. I started out with a cured corned beef flat about 4.5 lbs and soaked it overnight to make sure it wasn't too salty. Rubbed with the pack that came with it along with some cracked pepper and a steak rub I had on hand. I cooked the pastrami on my kamado joe with plenty of wood chunks until it hit 155 then it went into the anova sous vide for 24 hours at 155. I was disappointed when it came out of the smoke. Flavor was good but it was not tender at all. 24 hours in the sous vide fixed that though and it was fantastic. Glad I asked the question because I would not have known to do that and it turned out great. That will be my preferred method from now on.
 

daveomak

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Update on this one. . I was disappointed when it came out of the smoke. Flavor was good but it was not tender at all. 24 hours in the sous vide fixed that though and it was fantastic. Glad I asked the question because I would not have known to do that and it turned out great. That will be my preferred method from now on.

Morning.... What SV temp did you use, for the 24 hour cook ???
 

thirdeye

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Update on this one. I started out with a cured corned beef flat about 4.5 lbs and soaked it overnight to make sure it wasn't too salty. Rubbed with the pack that came with it along with some cracked pepper and a steak rub I had on hand. I cooked the pastrami on my kamado joe with plenty of wood chunks until it hit 155 then it went into the anova sous vide for 24 hours at 155. I was disappointed when it came out of the smoke. Flavor was good but it was not tender at all. 24 hours in the sous vide fixed that though and it was fantastic. Glad I asked the question because I would not have known to do that and it turned out great. That will be my preferred method from now on.
A brisket, fresh or corned won't be tender at 155°. Many people do a wrapped finish, or just slice it really thin, but a dedicated finish is generally better. I like a pressure finish as it takes 40 minutes plus some release time. Sous vide is also great, just takes longer than a steam or pressure finsh. SV and pressure finish give you some wonderful broth, save it for reheating juice, or making a pastrami 'dip' sandwich or a Reuben soup base.

The pack of spices in a corned beef are used when making corned beef. Pastrami spices are keyed to pepper, garlic, coriander etc. I do use some Montreal seasoning in my pastrami rub, so you might play around with other flavors. If you don't like the coriander flavor, I also added my Garlic Pepper Seasoning recipe, it's much lower in salt than store-bought garlic pepper, and you could eliminate the canning salt all together when using as a pastrami rub.

thirdeye's Pastrami Rub.
(from the Playing With Fire and Smoke cookin' site. this recipe makes enough rub to season several corned briskets, any leftover can be stored in a zipper baggie in the freezer for several months)
4 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper (more if you like it peppery)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons Canadian/Montreal Steak seasoning
1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried
1 teaspoon paprika
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.

thirdeye's All-Purpose Garlic Pepper Seasoning
Ingredients:
3 teaspoons Garlic Powder
3 teaspoons Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Canning Salt (consider omitting for pastrami)
1/2 teaspoon Toasted Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
 

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