Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

Home Cured Pastrami

Although making pastrami from scratch does take a long time, it's easy and completely worth it. It's mostly just waiting until the next step. So I figured with St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, now would be a great time to talk about pastrami. Pastrami is smoked corn beef and right now corned beef is all over the markets for St. Patrick's Day. If you want to skip a few steps and still smoke your own pastrami you can go buy some corned beef. It's good stuff. But, if you're like me, and end up buying too many briskets, cure one yourself.

I started with a 15 pound aged brisket. I separated the point from the flat and trimmed most of the fat away.

The brisket goes into a brine. I used water, salt, sugar, Tenderquick, pepper corns, and bay leaves. Other popular things to use in this brine would be juniper berries, coriander, and cloves. Basically use what you like, I like simple. Make sure you have enough brine to cover the entire brisket; it needs to be completely submerged. Keep this in the fridge for about ten days. After ten days take out the beef, throw out the brine, rinse everything down, and fill up your container with ice cold water. Place the brisket back into the container and store it back in the fridge for another 2-3 days, changing the water twice a day. Don't skip that. If you do you will have very salty pastrami...I found this out the hard way.

So, you've basically made corned beef at this point. Now it's time for a rub. Again, I like it simple: heavy pepper, garlic powder, and coriander. You can add whatever you like but don't skip the coriander. It's a key flavor that makes pastrami taste like pastrami. After rubbing down your corned beef, fire up the smoker and smoke (lightly) with your wood of choice until you get an internal temp of 170 degrees. Time for a sandwich right? No. Wrap in foil, cool it down, and store it in the fridge overnight. The next day get set up for some steaming.

In my opinion a crucial part. It was technically pastrami after you smoked it the day before. But this step takes it over the top and turns it from pastrami to New York deli pastrami. I did this in batches. Cut your pastrami so it will fit into your biggest steaming vessel, but don't cut the pieces too small. Steam them until you get 200 degrees internal. Slice thin, serve on rye bread, with spicy mustard, and baby swiss cheese. I know...where's the picture of that?? On the day I served this I had a bunch of people over and it was gone before you knew it.


WhiteTrashBBQ said...

Cheese on pastrami? I thought you were going for NY deli style.

Cheese on pastrami gets you a Reuben

Lakeside Smoker said...

True, there is some controversy with putting cheese on pastrami. But, I live by one rule for eating: eat what you like. And I like cheese! I only have one exception to the rule, and that's putting ketchup on a hot dog...that's just wrong.

Sledneck said...

BBQ Reuben Crusher from RUB: bbq pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut and russian dressing on toasted rye bread. Before having that recently I thought it was a sin to put anything else on pastrami except mustard. I have been converted