You’ve heard this before from me so here we go again. I’ve never made Pastrami from scratch in my life! The first thing I did was get the best brisket on the planet in my opinion. I ordered what I thought was a “medium” sized brisket from Snake River Farms. Quick side note: this is not an endorsement, its more of a testimonial. Their briskets are amazeballz!!! I ordered one of their “American Wagyu Gold Grade Brisket” top of the line. Costs an arm and a leg…Don’t ask. Pastrami is basically corned beef that has been spiced and smoked. First I had to make corned beef and then apply a spice rub and finally smoke the hell out of it.
My “medium brisket” arrived weighing in at just over…15 POUNDS!!!!! I trimmed it and took a nice big piece of the fatty end or “point” for my pastrami.
You can see that there’s some fat on this thing. I trimmed some of it off as several recipes called for only leaving like 1/4 inch of fat which seems like not enough, so I left about a half inch on it. Then I prepared my brine.
6 1/2 Tbs. sea salt
6 Tbs light brown sugar
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs curing salt (pink salt/curing salt #2)
1 tsp chopped fresh garlic
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
3 bay leaves (chopped)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 1/2 cups of warm water
*7 lb beef brisket, cut from the tip. I didn’t weigh my brisket so this a guess, I guess…
Mix the brine ingredients together in a food-safe container and refrigerate until cold, an hour or so. Rinse the brisket and submerge it in the brine. I stuffed everything into a giant zip lock bag.
I brined my brisket for six days. I’ve read recipes that called for from 2-10 days of brining. Having attempted to make corned beef before so I chose to brine for 6 days. Turning it daily to insure a proper cure. After 6 days I removed the brisket and dried it for 24 hours uncovered on a rack in the fridge.
It looks pretty dead doesn’t it? At this point I became a tad concerned as the brisket was not particularly stiff or pink as I had expected. I was also worried that my brine was not enough to cure my brisket. It was pretty big. Regardless, I soaked the brisket in my sink for 12 hours. Changing the water 4 times in the process every few hours in order to draw out some of the salt. As I said I’ve made corned beef before that was so salty my lips were puckered for a week. Still concerned about the saltiness I hacked off a small piece and fried it up in a pan and sampled it. I didn’t taste hardly any salt! Now, I thought I hadn’t used enough salt and the brisket wasn’t properly cured and that I ruined EVERYTHING! Anyways, I pushed ahead and dried the brisket for 24 hours on a rack in my fridge. Then I prepared my spice rub. FYI, I doubled the rub recipe below because I’m always afraid of running out. Needless to say, I had a bunch left over.
*I toasted the coriander and black pepper corns and then ground them roughly
1/4 cup whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup whole coriander seeds
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs paprika
After drying my brisket, I rubbed it with toasted sesame oil and applied my rub. You can dry the rub on the brisket for 24 hours but I just couldn’t wait cause I mean…Could you?
Now comes the fun part! I fired up my grill with lots of pecan wood and put that bad boy on it!
This my pastrami after an hour in the smoke…I smoked it for 4 hours and then I put it in my oven at 275 degrees for about an hour until the internal temp came up to 170 degrees.I didn’t wrap it as I didn’t want bark to come off. Afterward I wrapped it tented in foil so as not to damage the crust left it on my kitchen counter to cool and ran out to pick up daughter from school. After a few hours it cooled down and viola!!
I sliced it up and DAMN!!!!!
Soooooo good! The salt was gentle and just enough. The spice rub was amazing! All my worries were for naught.