Pastrami has always sounded like a fun cooking project to do, but it seems that I never set aside the time to do it! The process of making pastrami is actually easy, you just have to plan ahead as it has to cure in the refrigerator for a week before cooking. Is it worth the effort? Yes. This stuff turned out awesome. I will never buy pastrami again – I will make my own!
Once again, by making your own Pastrami you can control exactly what goes into it so you can be assured that it is gluten free. (Unfortunately, the rye bread I served with this is not G.F.) I figured that as long as I was making pastrami, I should make rye bread too and have Reuben Sandwiches! I made a marbled rye which turned out great. (It looked good too!) I will make a separate post about the bread.
While I was looking over countless recipes and videos for this, I noticed the one essential ingredient to making Pastrami is Mortons Tender Quick. It’s the curing salts that make the whole process work! Unfortunately it is next to impossible to find in stores. I wasn’t too worried- I told my wife – I’m sure they would carry it at Bass Pro. Wrong again. Fortunately, Amazon carries it (I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised… they seem to have everything.) Anyways, They have a 2 lb bag (lifetime supply)for $14 or 6- 2 lb bags for $24. So I guess my descendants can make Pastrami now too as I bought the 12 lbs!
Since this is my first attempt at pastrami I chose a smaller (6lb) Brisket from Costco. I figured a smaller size would be good since it will be in the refrigerator for a week. I trimmed off all but a thin layer of fat, which I left on for flavor. Next is the fun part! Take a sharp knife and stab the meat at 1” intervals on entire surface. I could see where this could be really therapeutic if you were having a bad day!! Flip the meat over and stab that side too…
- 1/4 cup Morton’s Tender Quick
- 1/3 cup coarse ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons ground Coriander
- 3 Tablespoons Garlic powder
Massage Curing rub onto brisket, covering all surfaces. Go ahead and use all the rub. (it will all be rinsed off at the end of the week.) Place meat in large plastic container for marinating. (I used tupperware) Cutting the brisket in half and using 1 gallon Ziplock bags would work great too…
Place in refrigerator and turn twice a day for a week. We forgot to turn it a time or two and it was still fine. It’s inevitable to forget at least once!
After a week, remove the cured brisket and rinse off all of the curing rub. Soak meat in a container of cool water for ½ hour, drain water and repeat one time to remove some of the salt. Lay meat out on cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel. Apply dry rub.
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon liquid smoke. (I really like the Applewood)
Place Pastrami in smoker for 1.5 hours (this is optional but adds a lot of flavor!)
Remove and finish in 275f oven until internal temperature reaches 160f. Remove and wrap in foil to let it rest or an hour. (This is a good time to try a sample!)
The last step here is to steam the Pastrami (unsliced) in a steamer before serving! Simply stack pieces of meat in the steamer while you get the rest of dinner together. I steamed mine for an hour before serving ad I thought it was perfect!
I served my Pastrami with all the makings for a Reuben Sandwich: Marbled Rye Bread, Sauerkraut, Stone Ground Mustard w/ horseradish, 1000 Island dressing and Swiss Cheese. It had to be one of the best Reuben Sandwiches that I have ever had!