So over the past weekend I took my first shot at Pastrami! I have always loved pastrami, last year over mothers day weekend I dragged my mother and my grandmother and my sister to Katz’s Deli in New York City, NY. It was magnificent the pastrami was incredibly tender and a perfect smoke balance. As I was sure to mention this was the fist time that I made pastrami and I forgot one important point. You start with corned beef, some people cure their own corned beef but I haven’t had time but will be trying that soon. So when you normally boil corned beef that helps remove some of the salt, if you don’t boil it and in fact add salt to it, it will become very very salty. So the recipe said that you should soak the corned beef for 8 hours before starting all of this. By the time I read this piece of information it was a little too late to do anything about it. So I pressed ahead.
First I looked online for a Pastrami Rub recipe. I found this one Pastrami Rub Recipe, it said it was close to Katz and looked like it made sense so that’s what I used. I changed up the recipe below a little bit, I didn’t have any brown sugar at the house, but I did have maple sugar so I substituted.
Pastrami Rub Recipe
4 tablespoons fresh coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
Add all of the ingredients from the recipe, I go in a row so I don’t forget any of them. I always like to make these in a seal-able container so that I can shake it to mix the spices. I have found that is the best way to get an even mix.
After I have mixed everything, one thing to keep in mind is that the pepper is much more coarse than all of the other spices so it was natually move to the top as you are applying the rub.
I have two corned beefs, I always make too much food, and especially for a first run I should have just made one, but my logic is always “If I am going to fire up the smoker I might as well get as much out of it as I can.
After applying the rub this is what the pastrami’s look like (after applying the rub it magically goes from corned beef to pastrami) I use the foil on the bottom of the pan to help make sure we get all of the rub on the meat.
After 6 hours on the smoker and then a few more hours in the oven to get the temperature up to 185 degrees after that I pulled them out of the oven and let them cool for a few hours before slicing into them. I have a deli slicer but I think a sharp knife works better because briskets can be hard to slice on a deli slicer, it is important that you slice against the grain to get the most tender product.
Who doesn’t love a big pile of meat. After slicing it was a little salty due to a lack of soaking. I will make sure to fix this next time I make pastrami and report back. Luckily I have some great friends that brought all of the ingredients to make Reubens.
Don’t you just love my pink camping plates? Luckily once we added the bread sauerkraut and Swiss it really cut the saltiness of the meat. I have a panani press and it really shines with the Reubens or any traditionally toasted sandwich. Apply a lot of butter and you have a super delicious sandwich. Anyone that has access to a smoker needs to try to make this at some point. Just plan ahead a little better than me and make sure to soak your meat before smoking. I haven’t tried this but I do believe it will make a better product. I will post back with the results when I take another crack at this. It won’t be too long. Now I have to decide what to make for the SuperBowl!