Board index Barbecue Board General Discussion Homemade Pastrami: Pics & Method

Homemade Pastrami: Pics & Method

This is the place to ask your BBQ questions, share information, and more.
Post Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:49 pm
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2287
Location: Southern Californy
I have some pastrami pics that I can share. I thought that for the sake of anyone who may not have tried this before, and maybe seek encouragement, I could also include the method I followed and what the experience was like.

Well, it was a mighty fun adventure, well worth the wait. If you haven't tried it, I'd like to encourage you. In fact, here is a short little article that should build your confidence, and offer some good info:

http://bbq.about.com/cs/barbecuetips/a/aa022302a.htm

I began with about an 8 1/2 pound whole brisket. I would suggest buying one that is at least 3 weeks before its sell by date to allow for brining time. Of course you want to know what goes into a brine and why, so here is another link with recipe and explanation:

http://bbq.about.com/library/rec/bl20223a.htm

Just a few comments here about that... there is talk there about the optional use of saltpeter in the brine. I'm of the school "forget that." As I understand it, (check me if I am wrong), saltpeter is an ingredient for gunpowder. Do you really want an explosive in your stomach? You never know what might happen if you fart. Its kind of like, what do you get when you mix onions with beans?-- tear gas. Anyway, the point is if you want all those gnarly preservatives, perhaps it is best to just buy the processed pastrami. Secondly, some folk really like to make use of juniper berries. Well, those can be hard to find for some, and that flavor, though subtle, is mighty nice. So what I did was just toss a couple shots of gin (which is distilled from those berries) into my brine.

Before I placed my brisket in the brine, I prepped it by trimming as much of the visible fat off the top, lean side. You'll want as much meat as possible exposed for when you go to apply the rub.

Okay, how about a picture break:

Image

Lookie!--oh, I wish I could adequately describe or relay the wonderfully intoxicating aroma of that brine with all those spices and such. Note that I used a turkey-sized oven bag set into a lasagna pan. That worked mighty fine for me and my resources, but you might have a more preferred way. The bag is nice as you can seal it up pretty much without any air in there to work on spoiling the meat. Okay, the recommended brining time is from one to three weeks. I went 9 days with this one, and that was just great. Something worth mentioning is that when you're done brining, it is good to "de-brine," if you will, to remove some of the potential over-saltiness of flavor when you go to smoke it. I used very cold water and changed it out a few times over the course of two days. Worked famously.

Now we are ready for the rub. You'll want the recipe for that, so here's a link:

http://bbq.about.com/library/rec/bl20223b.htm

I like this rub a lot, though I might suggest cutting down to some extent on the amount of coriander. The more coriander you use, the more it might resemble a corned beef kind of flavor, which is still not bad at all. One other neat little trick is that if you have a coffee bean grinder, a little whirl on that is a great way to mix the rub ingredients.

So, the brisket is now patted dry, and rub is at hand. Next step is to slather the top of that brisket with one thing or another. I sing the praises of the virtues of yellow mustard... and with pastrami, why not? I'm going to be globbing on a whole lot more when I go to eat this one. But a thin mustard slather is just so conducive to holding the rub on in place.

I say it's time for another picture break:

Image Image

I should mention these are the morning after photos-- I applied the rub the day before, and let it settle in the fridge covered with plastic wrap overnight.

At last, off to the pit. As I have a CG w/SFB, I got that ol' firebox up to about 225 degrees. Then I fed it a dry foil pouch of hickory chips atop the cooking grate above the briquets. You might notice that I like to roast my brisket fat side down. I do this so as not to disturb the rub, and to allow that rub to develop a good bark. As for mopping, I wait a few hours before the first mop when it starts to look a little crusty. I use a spray bottle filled with apple cider for that purpose. Here are a few pics of the cook in progress:

Image Image Image Image

This pastrami is done when the internal meat temp reaches 165. Because of the brining, there is no need to take it up any higher. I assure you, it is tender enough. As much as I wanted to dive right in to it, this meal was prepped ahead for the following day. So, I wrapped it up in foil, let it rest a bit, and fridged it. The following day, I placed it in a 350 degree oven, still foiled, and brought it back up to that 165 temp. I let it rest again for 1/2 hour, then sliced thin (between 1/8 to 1/4 inches).

It was a good day for some mighty pastrami subs. One loaf is French bread, and the other sourdough. I had a whole host of possible toppings and condiments. I built my part with globs of yellow mustard, sliced tomato, dill pickle. Happy pastrami to you all. :)

Image Image
Got beer???

Post Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:54 pm
Griffin well done
well done

Posts: 3312
Location: Dallas, Texas

Man, that looks good. Great job and thanks for sharing the process and pics with us. I'm really hungry now.

Post Thu Nov 30, 2006 2:47 pm
Cactus1 well done
well done

Posts: 742
Location: Indian Head Park, IL.
beercuer - that is the best description of pastrami making that I have ever read! Very informative and I liked the pictures as you went through the steps.
The finished pastrami looks awesome! Have only made pastrami once and I used boneless turkey breast. Hope I can find a nice brisket flat between now and Christmas and I have a decent weather day on January 7 because I know what I want to be munching on while I watch my Ohio State Buckeyes play and hopefully beat up on ... USC? Michigan? Florida? Boise St.? (know they won't get there, but they are the only other undefeated Division I team) on January 8.
* IHP Cactus Farm & Sauce Shack *
18 1/2 & 22 1/2" WSM
22 1/2" OTS
26 3/4" OTG

Post Thu Nov 30, 2006 2:49 pm
T-Rex well done
well done

Posts: 1933
Location: El Paso, TX
Now I'm really hungry. I'm inspired to try this. I never done pastrami before(love to eat it) but I up to giving it a try now. Pics look great.......I'm sure the food tasted even better.

Post Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:04 pm
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2287
Location: Southern Californy
Wow again!--have to go now, but hope to return later to respond. Thank you kindly, all. :)
Got beer???

Post Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:53 pm
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2287
Location: Southern Californy
Once again, thank you for your kind words. My motto is that "If I can do it, you can do it better." And I'd be willing to bet that anyone with whom you shared it will consider you to be either some kind of magician or a miracle worker.

You know, that is a great idea for the football game. I could say that fettuccine alfredo makes for a most compimentary side for this, but hey, if your catching the game, how about some potato chips and dips and peppers or whatever.?

I can actually find cause to root for Ohio, as my brother was born there. :)
Got beer???

Post Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:33 pm
Happy Cooker well done
well done

Posts: 322
Location: Owatonna,Mn
Salt peter will not cause anything to explode.It's only purpose in blackpowder is to create oxygen when it burns from the combustion of the other two ingredients. Just thought I would pass that along. JT

Post Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:10 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 12904
Location: Texas
Outstanding post beercuer!!! 8)

I hope you don't mind me linking to this thread from the Beef Brisket FAQ. :D
Image

Post Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:36 am
Cactus1 well done
well done

Posts: 742
Location: Indian Head Park, IL.
Didn't they used to give saltpeter to guys in the military to keep their libido in check or maybe that's an old urban legend form before anyone ever knew what an urban legend was.
* IHP Cactus Farm & Sauce Shack *
18 1/2 & 22 1/2" WSM
22 1/2" OTS
26 3/4" OTG

Post Fri Dec 01, 2006 12:02 pm
beercuer User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 2287
Location: Southern Californy
Bob-BQN, Thank you so much, and I am most honored by the link. You know, this method should also lend itself quite well to corn beef as well, if one were so inclined. After the brining period, one could simmer the brisket in a large pot of water. Ordinarily, the formula for that simmer is 45-50 minutes per pound, but I wonder if that might be too long for a whole brisket. I also suppose for extra flavor one could go ahead and apply the rub, let set overnight, and then submerge in the water. In that case, I don't think one necessarily want or need to cut down on the coriander for that extra corn beef flavor.

I think what I would be inclined to do would be to separate the flat from the point (it should be easy to do after the brining) and make two briskets at the 45-50 minutes per pound formula.

What do you think? Perhaps there are other ideas?

Cactus1, I seem to remember hearing the same thing. I am so glad you brought that up. If such is true, that could be something more to consider.

***Edit note: I just discovered this article which disregards the saltpeter-libido myth, although it does acknowledge the negative effects of saltpeter.
http://www.snopes.com/military/saltpetr.htm

Happy Cooker, thanks for the info. Actually, I was talking figuratively to make the point abount my own disapproval of such preservatives. (Though I admit they have the advantage of preserving the meat for longer storage times). :)
Got beer???

Post Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:27 pm
Happy Cooker well done
well done

Posts: 322
Location: Owatonna,Mn
I kinda figured as much,but I like to ad my little bit of knowlege.I heard that same rumor when I was in the military.I don't think they really did that as I had no problem with the ladies. 8)

I don't use saltpeter or MSG,or a lot of other so called flavor enhancers or preservatives.I refuse to use anti-bacterial soap. JT

Post Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:19 pm
Cactus1 well done
well done

Posts: 742
Location: Indian Head Park, IL.
I don't use any type of preservatives either. Try to keep it all natural.
If my soap doesn't come in a bar - I don't use it. Have actually heard that some of those antibacterial soaps and waterless hand cleaners/disinfectants are bad for you and are not all that effective.
* IHP Cactus Farm & Sauce Shack *
18 1/2 & 22 1/2" WSM
22 1/2" OTS
26 3/4" OTG

Post Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:11 am
Cactus1 well done
well done

Posts: 742
Location: Indian Head Park, IL.
beercuer - bought my flat last night. Hated to pay the price - $3.69 lb. - but she's about a 4 1/2 lb. beauty. Will start my prep process when we get home from visiting my folks for the holidays on the night of January 2. Plan to do the cook on January 8 and have as the "main" meat for the little "get together" that I'll have for the Ohio St. vs Florida BCS Championship. Thinking I'll do 4 or 5 lb. fresh Polish sausage, or maybe just some brats, dogs, and burgers also.
* IHP Cactus Farm & Sauce Shack *
18 1/2 & 22 1/2" WSM
22 1/2" OTS
26 3/4" OTG

Post Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:17 am
copkid well done
well done

Posts: 1717
Location: Indiana
Cactus1 wrote:
I don't use any type of preservatives either. Try to keep it all natural.
If my soap doesn't come in a bar - I don't use it. Have actually heard that some of those antibacterial soaps and waterless hand cleaners/disinfectants are bad for you and are not all that effective.


Not to distract from the thread, but on a medical note, using lots of anti-bacterial soap will encourage your body to build a resistance to it. It's much better to teach our kids, etc. to use plain soap, hot water and FREQUENT handwashing!!! I use plain Ivory dishsoap, and just simple body washes in the shower.
Laura

Post Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:39 am
BubbaQue well done
well done

Posts: 648
Location: Panama City Beach, Fl.

Morton makes a salt called Tender Quick which I use to make homemade corned beef. It is a curing salt not a pickling salt. Check out this site for it and other good stuff.

http://www.butcher-packer.com/

The pastrami looks great. Pumpernickel, aged Swiss, a good Kosher pickle, and I'm there.
Weber 22 1/2 Platium
Weber Smokey Joe Platinum
WSM

Next

Return to General Discussion