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Puh-strami

turick

Meat Mopper
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Joined May 19, 2014
Hey all, had a couple of store bought corned beef briskets sitting the freezer for a while so I thought I'd try out some cold smoked, sous vide pastrami. I've read several articles on cold smoking the corned beef, but I'm not sure if it's 100% safe. I soaked it for about 8 hours and changed the water about 5 times to desalinate, then cut off the fat cap and sprinkled on some seasoning. I just added some pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, mustard powder, and paprika to the spice packet it came with.

I really winging this one and don't have much of a plan... just going to let it smoke over some hickory until some time this evening, at which point I'll pull it, vacuum seal it and throw it in the SV bath at around 130-140F until sometime tomorrow, probably late morning or afternoon. Then I'll slap it on the grill for a couple of minutes and slice 'er up. More pictures to follow... if anybody can comment on whether or not I should crank the heat on my MES or if cold smoking will be fine, I'd appreciate it!

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dr k

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Mar 22, 2013
Brisket
  • Beef Brisket
  • Sugar, Salt and Pepper
Cut slits in the fat cap in a crosshatch patter. Brine the brisket in a 4% salt, 3% sugar solution (40 grams salt and 30 grams sugar per liter of water) in the refrigerator for 2–3 hours. Rinse and dry brisket with paper towels.

Flavor the brisket either by smoking it for 30–60 minutes or by searing the fat cap with a blowtorch. Then vacuum seal the brisket either whole or cut into two to four pieces.

While the famed French Laundry is said to cook their brisket in a 147°F (64°C) water bath for 48 hours, I prefer to cook brisket at 176°F (80°C) for 24–36 hours. Alternatively, some like to cook brisket at 135°F (57°C) for 36–48 hours. Since some of the liquid in the bag will change phase (to gas), the bag will puff and may float to the surface. To prevent uneven cooking, the bags should be held under water using a wire rack or some other restraint. [After cooking, the brisket may be rapidly cooled in ice water (see Table 1.1) and frozen or refrigerated at below 38°F (3.3°C) for up to three to four weeks until needed.]

Remove the brisket from the vacuum sealed pouch and use the liquid from the bag to create a quick sauce (by reducing in a pan over medium-high heat and adding a corn starch slurry to thicken). Slice the meat across grain into long, thin slices and serve with beef glace.

This recipe is from Baldwin's A practical Guide to Sous Vide. http://www.douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vide.html
 

turick

Meat Mopper
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Joined May 19, 2014
Thanks for the recipe dr k dr k -- I read in several other places that you need between 160-180 for a longer time to really break down all the connective tissue.

So I cold smoked for nearly 6 hours and now it's in the sous vide at 172 where it will stay for the next 24 hours. I fried a small slice... lots of smoke and flavor, but like trying to chew a tire. Guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow for a bite...

I'll post more pics tomorrow for the sear and slice.
 

turick

Meat Mopper
227
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Joined May 19, 2014
Well... Not happy with the results. I don't know if it's because I haven't had corned beef in a very long time or if I ruined it, but here is where things stand. I pulled the meat out of the sous vide, sliced off a piece, and the flavor tasted like a plastic pool toy. I was actually worried that it would be too smokey based on my fry test, but all the smokey goodness was gone. However, my wife enjoyed it and it took a lot of explaining for her to understand the plasticy rubbery taste I was taking about.

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It was very tender but dry. I checked out the ziploc baggie I cooked it in... I know for these long cooks, especially at high temps, it can suck a lot of water out of the meat, but it seemed excessive. I'm starting to wonder if water didn't leak into my bag..

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So I loaded it up with more coriander, salt, and pepper, and threw it on my 550 degree grill. It didn't make a sizzling sound whatsoever. Flipped it after about 90 seconds, waited 90 more, then took it off.

As I got nearer to the center, the plasticy taste disappated, the meat got a bit juicier and even more tender, but overall I am still very disappointed.
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I happen to have another one in the freezer that I'm about to properly vacuum seal and sous vide at a much lower temp... I'm thinking 140.

My current takeaways:
1. Contrary to all of my previous beliefs, next time I would smoke after the sous vide, not before. The only point of debate here is whether or not water leaked into my bag and if that had any effect.
2. I prefer juicy over tender, even if it's not traditional for corned beef. I don't think I'm going to set my anova that high again for beef. Ever.
3. Won't trust ziploc again.
4. I now can't imagine ever wanting cured beef over uncured beef.

All that being said, the 2nd, unsmoked corned beef will going in the bath tonight. Not sure how long I will leave it in, but I'll post again when it's done!
 

fivetricks

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Joined Jan 7, 2017
I agree with you. There's way too much liquid in that bag. If you were soaking it in that water for such a long amount of time, I bet it tasted like poo.

Sorry to hear about that. But these experiences are what teach us not to do I suppose. I don't sound vide (yet) but I was always suspect when I read about people zip lock bags.

I used to drive truck and tried to keep food, etc. In those things in an iced cooler. They leaked 100% of the time. Never had one that didn't.
 

daveomak

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
26,684
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Joined Nov 12, 2010
Use high quality vac bags... Lisa sells them.... I've never had one leak... I've had other bags leak... Food Saver bags leak..
Vacuum-Sealers-Unlimited is Lisa's business.... She's a member here and has monthly discounts for us members...
 

turick

Meat Mopper
227
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Joined May 19, 2014
So I just finished my 2nd corned beef. This time I went 140 for 48 hours. For simplicities sake, I didn't smoke it. I pulled it out of the SV and sliced off a few pieces to see if it was even worth eating. Everybody loved it so much we ate half of it before I could get it to the smoker. So instead I just grilled it for about 90 seconds on each side. It was even better after that and it's almost completely gone. Definitely a huge fan of the lower temp.... Way juicier! 170 was way too high and ended up way too dry for my liking.

I think next time I'm going to a/b test and cold smoke one half before the SV and hot smoke the other half after the SV (vacuum sealing and not using ziploc!) and see which one comes out better.

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turick

Meat Mopper
227
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Joined May 19, 2014
Try making your own!

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/259066/beef-corned-beef-and-pastrami

Now, I smoked the larger piece to final internal temp, not Sous Vide, but you can cook it in the bath, then smoke it after it cools. The smaller piece for regular corned beef, non-smoked, you can do in the bath as well to temp.
That thread both inspired and terrified me. I must say what you did is absolutely amazing. The pictures after the smoke says it all. I can't imagine the flavor that came out of those... If I ever were to make my own, it would be 100% based off of your posts!
 

turick

Meat Mopper
227
40
Joined May 19, 2014
I agree with you. There's way too much liquid in that bag. If you were soaking it in that water for such a long amount of time, I bet it tasted like poo.

Sorry to hear about that. But these experiences are what teach us not to do I suppose. I don't sound vide (yet) but I was always suspect when I read about people zip lock bags.

I used to drive truck and tried to keep food, etc. In those things in an iced cooler. They leaked 100% of the time. Never had one that didn't.
So, the 48 hour SV in a vacuum seal bag also rendered A LOT of liquid. My wife swears it's less than the first one, but I think it's about the same. But I still don't doubt that water got into the bag on the first one. The water smelled like the meat tasted.. Very disgusting. Needless to say, I'm done with ziploc.
 

turick

Meat Mopper
227
40
Joined May 19, 2014
Use high quality vac bags... Lisa sells them.... I've never had one leak... I've had other bags leak... Food Saver bags leak..
Vacuum-Sealers-Unlimited is Lisa's business.... She's a member here and has monthly discounts for us members...
Thank you, this is fantastic information! I will contact her when I'm ready for more bags!
 

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