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Pastrami recipe

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am going to take a stab at making pastrami and wondered if any of you have done it. From what I have picked up on the internet, the brisket needs to go through a three week brining process prior to smoking it.

Alternatively, what is a source for purchasing really good pastrami. It is not at the supermarket as near as I can tell. Since I intend to make it regardless, I would appreciate any input.
post #2 of 23
Hi OldPro,

I'll provide a link to BDL's pastrami recipe. I haven't tried it yet (even though I've been wanting to for some time now. Maybe spring :))...but his recipes are always quite good.

BDL's pastrami

Let us know how things work out...
dan
post #3 of 23
TY for posting the link to that darn recipe. I'd lost it as part of one of the several virus or trojan attack/crash/reformats undergone in the past few years; and had forgot that I'd posted it here on CT.

Feel free to consider the source, but it's a pretty good recipe which has been tested by a number of other people.

A word about my pastrami recipe -- great pastrami starts with great brisket. Don't skimp. Go Wagyu if possible, USDA Prime, "Better Than Choice" Angus (what I usually use), or the best USDA Choice you can find.

Back in the day, Jewish delis which made both their own corned beef and pastrami, made most of their CB with flat, and most of their pastrami with point. Your choice -- just sayin is all.

The bread is just as important as the meat. If you bake, try this: http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/pastr...-sour-rye.html

If you're (a) serious about mustard, and (b) like it hot, try Phillipes. Philippe's Hot Mustard - Food The lid says "Hot but Good." That's very understated on both counts. Here's another, also very hot, I particularly like: Russian Hot Mustard (Gourmet) at Russian Foods .com

The best pastrami and rye bread (both, each, whatever) in the known universe comes from Langer's Delicatessen on S. Alvarado in Los Angeles, Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant | 213-483-8050 | The World's Best Pastrami | Home. Second best might be from Katz's in New York (but not such good rye bread) Katz's Delicatessen New York.

To be completely honest, I'd put another L.A. area deli, Brent's, in second place over Katz's. But, it didn't seem right not to have an NYC deli represented in even a very short survey of pastrami. For reasons to numerous and too difficult to fully articulate, deli culture in general seems more dynamic in Los Angeles than New York, and many of the custom made meat and bakery products are just plain better. That might just be homerism, though, so take it with a grain of (kosher) salt.

You can arrange to have either Langer's or Katz's Fed-Ex you a care package of enough pastrami to make the shipping worthwhile and a few loaves of bread -- still going to be ridiculously expensive though. I don't know if Brent's would do it; but expect so.

However you make or buy your pastrami, enjoy it in good health.

BDL
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post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
I am getting a Weber Smokey Mountain 22 1/2 model. I'm glad you responded because you seem to know your way around a smoker/pit. I have a couple of stick burners, but I sure have heard a lot of good comments about the WSM.

I plan on following your recipe to the letter, and I'll let you know the results. I am smack in the middle of a kitchen renovation, so it will probably be a couple of weeks. When the renovation is completed I will be testing the kitchen.

When the wife and I went down on Saturday to check on the progress, we split a soft shell crab po-boy that rivals any I have ever had, and picked up a gallon of fresh shucked oysters. I can't wait for the house to be habitable (is that a word) again.

I think I just hijacked my own thread!
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
I picked up a 5 1/2 pound brisket flat yesterday, and used your recipe for pastrami.  It is wrapped in plastic wrap and foil in a jumbo ziploc bag, and is now starting its two week stay in my cooler.  I still have my Weber Smokey Mountain in the box, but this will probably be my first cook on it.  I'll let you know how it turns out.
post #6 of 23
I have yet to try my hand at making my own, RealSoonNow.  This thread did remind me of shopping at a local deli here in town some years ago.  They got in this batch of pastrami that was this gawd awful shade of, uh, err, shinola brown with big veins of unsightly yellowish fat running through it.  The stuff looked like road kill.

I bought two pounds, wish I'd gotten more.  In spite of the way it looked, it was heaven on the tongue, still the best pastrami I've ever had.  Wish I knew the source - oh well.

mjb.
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post #7 of 23
I'm thinking of getting all heretical & trying this with a tri-tip.
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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post #8 of 23
Grumio... my hard and fast life rule applies:  "It's always good to have a goal."


I'm guessing my previous life's rule might not so much.... " If it doesn't work, hit it with a hammer.  If that doesn't fix it, just add beer."



I can promise you these are words to live by, I just can't promise you won't end up in therapy  
post #9 of 23
Tri tip is a very bad choice for a long brine.  It also doesn't do well with the amount of sugar in a pastrami rub. 

A roast from the round would be much better.

BDL
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post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
I went to the "best Jewish deli in Houston" according to the Houston Press yesterday to try their pastrami.  It was listed on the menu as being "triple smoked".  I was ready to learn some of their secrets.  After I finished the sandwich I complimented the waiter and asked what kind of wood they used in the smoking process..  He replied that he had no idea.  They made their own corned beef, but purchased their pastrami.  So much for learning their secrets.  I did learn that my pastrami is more valuable than I suspected.

My brisket flat has now been in the cooler, being turned at least twice a day since February 17.  Even though it was completely and throroughly wrapped in plastic wrap, then in foil, I can see from some drainage through the foil that something is happening.  I hope it's something good.  I plan on the two full weeks in the cooler as you recommend in your recipe, and then on the smoker with cherry wood chunks. 

I'll keep you posted on the results. 
post #11 of 23
Pro,

I hope it's something good.
I hope it's something good, too!

BDL
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post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
It looks like Sunday will be my pastrami day.  The WSM is working on a brisket right now for its first cook.  The pastrami seasoned brisket flat has been curing since 2/17.  I'll let it dry tomorrow and put on with cherry wood on Sunday.

BDL - Your recipe doesn't indicate an internal temperature for the brisket when you pull it off of the smoker.  Do you recommend any particular temp, or just pull it after 3 hours plus or minus of smoking and put in the broth for simmering? 

As an aside, the WSM thus far requires so little attention I feel like I'm cheating.  I'm too used to baby sitting that stick burner.
post #13 of 23
   OldPro, I am so jealous of you!

   Please let me (us) know how everything turns out...not only with the taste...but your findings on the process as well.

    ENJOY!
  dan
post #14 of 23
A good Pastrami comes from the heart, slice it by hand with a good Jewish Rye and a good mustard. I was wanting good pastrami so bad a few months ago I shipped some 3000 miles from the Carnegie Deli in NYC. It was melt in your mouth good, and I would do it again. I will be going through Portland, Or in a few weeks, I plan on stopping at Kenny and Zuke's for a Hot Pastrami on Rye. I'll let you know how it was..Chef Bill           
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
The brisket flat is unwrapped and is on a rack in the fridge for a day of drying out.  It has a gray look, obviously unlike brisket for bbq.  Since I have no idea what it is supposed to look like, gray is fine.

I'll be getting some good jewish rye bread, probably from Whole Food, today.  I know BDL recommended a couple of mustards, but would appreciate any of your thoughts on some that are likely to be at Whole Food.

I will keep you posted.  Looking forward to tomorrow. The WSM got its breakin run yesterday, and performed well.
post #16 of 23
The suspense is killing me.

BDL
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post #17 of 23
Lets cut into that sucker, I don't mind a Pastrami on Rye from breakfast............Chef Bill
post #18 of 23
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
We don't want to cut into it just yet.  It might be a touch chewy. It went on the WSM at 8:45 this morning.  After a brief spike to 235 degrees, it settled in at 200 degress with a couple of the bottom vents closed.  I continue to be amazed at how easy it is to maintain the desired temperature on this thing.

I put on four chunks of cherry wood for the smoke.  I went to Whole Food and got a loaf of organic Light Jewish Rye.  I got some Woeber's Hot and Spicy stone ground mustard.  I already have plenty of different  mustards, but this caught my eye.

I'm going to smoke around 3 hours, then follow the rest of BDL's recipe.  That should be a simmer of around another 3 hours in beef broth and Guiness Stout, with his blend of spices.  I'm ready for sandwiches tonight.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
The pastrami was excellent!  Just finished my pastrami sandwich, and everything was on point.  The bread was good, the mustard was excellent, and the pastrami had that peppery, smokey flavor that is fantastic.  I commented earlier about the gray color.  The pastrami was the color of well done roast beef as opposed to the reddish tint you ussually see in the delicatessan pastrami.  The simmering process was done in a dark organic beef broth from Whole Food.  The Guiness Stout is a very dark color.  I was initially concerned about the color, but the flavor was fantastic.  My compliments to BDL for an excellent recipe.

BDL - When it comes to smoking meat, if you tell me a chicken can pull a wagon, I'm going to hitch it up!
post #21 of 23
MMhhh , your cook oldpro is sound like delicious , felt hungry today ,If i have time i also did that.
post #22 of 23
Glad it worked for you, Pro.  You'll like it still better tomorrow, once the meat really has a chance to set up.

If you want that red color it comes from using a "cure" like Prague powder. 

You don't really need its curative powers, refrigerating in brine for an appropriate period is enough to keep the meat wholesome, and it doesn't do much to the flavor profile one way or another  But, it will give you color.  Easy enough if you want to try it next time. 

Questions for you:  Do you think it's important enough to add a nitrate/nitrite cure to the recipe?  How about, if only to prevent surprise, whether it's important to mention color at all? 

BDL
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post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm not really a good one to ask on the "color" issue.  I felt the flavor was spot on, and that works for me.  I only mentioned the difference in color to differentiate between what I was used to seeing in the delicatessan and what the final product looked like that I (we) produced.  This recipe produced a fairly peppery pastrami.  My wife thought it was very good, and she can be flamed out by very spicy food.  I wouldm't change much, if anything. 

While I am not a huge Reuben Sandwich fan, I suspect that will be on the menu before the week is out.  I really enjoyed the whole process, including the final result.
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