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Sunday, October 4, 2009


So what to cook on a Sunday where I have to get some drawings done.  I have been reading a bit on people making their own pastrami and this seemed like a good day to try it.  Since I will be working all day, the length of a brisket cook will not cause any problems.  Pastrami, as it applies to this application, is nothing more than a smoked corned beef, easy enough it would seem.  I cheated and bought a packaged corned beef, I am not up to pickling meat.  I did soak the meat over night with several changes of fresh cold water to try and draw some salt out of the meat.

The corned beef brisket was seperated into a flat and point, they were rinsed, dried with a towel and dry rubbed with medium coarse black pepper, dried orange and lemon rind, chile powder and some natural cane sugar. No salt as I figure there is already plenty in the meat. This ended up looking like this...

The spiced meat was then placed in the kettle over an indirect fire, with a couple of small chunks of hickory for smoke.  This was allowed to run for a little over 5 hours with the kettle just rock solid at 250F grate temperature whcih it maintained throughout the whole cook time. At 5 hours, the metal skewer slid in like butter.  Done! Meat looked and smelled incredible, this had better taste good.

The meat was allowed to rest, in the pan and foiled to keep warm.  The flat was sliced for testing and found to be acceptable.   The slices were a little drier than I expected from the short cooking time, but, still very good taste. There was almost no indication of the meat being smoked, no ring at all, although the meat was pink throughout.

Then it found it's way between a couple of slices or lightly toasted Jewish style rye bread and some spicy brown mustard.  This was a successful first shot at making pastrami, not sure where I will take this recipe and the technique from here, but, it was a tasty lesson into what pastrami is.


  1. Yeah, I cheated too when we made ours. Same result with the nitrates used in the corning causing a bright pink color through. Man that's some good stuff though, isn't it? Nice job! Only thing missing from that last pic is a cold beer.

  2. Wow, you put way more into the rub than I usually do. :-D For pastrami I use a peppercorn blend (rough smashed with a mortar and pestle) coriander seed (again, rough smash) and juniper berries (when I can find them.)

  3. I need to try the juniper berries, I am not used to them, not a flavor I grew up with (although there is that Tanqueray thingy). It was a test, the flavor is very strong.

    I found a resource for locally made corned beef, and I may go ahead and try to make it myself, I am a little concerned about poisoning myself.