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The Pastrami Project

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Pastrami is my favorite deli meat. I love all sorts of pastrami, even the turkey variety when I am trying to be healthy :D

I have been thinking about trying to make my own for quite some time. With my work schedule having me home 2 full weeks in a row, coinciding with the start of football season, and the local market having a nice sale on meat it was the perfect combination of events to motivate me.

I know pastrami is typically brisket, but I was looking for something a bit leaner. I picked up a small cut of london broil (this particular piece was top round) to use as an experiment before going all out with a much bigger roast.

I went with a dry rub cure, using what I had on hand which was Morton Tender Quick, and a few other spices. I followed the amount of Tender Quick per pound from the instructions on the package, and adjusted my other amounts accordingly. As this was a smaller cut, It cured for 3 days in a ziploc in the fridge. I turned the bag over once or twice a day, and then after about 3 days I rinsed the meat off, and allowed it to soak in ice water for a few hours, changing the water every 90 minutes or so. I wanted to draw out as much of the salt as possible.

After soaking, i gave it the traditional black pepper and coriander crust, wrapped it in plastic wrap and back into the fridge until the next day when I would fire up the KK and smoke it. I smoked it at 250 over light hickory smoke for about 3 hours, until it was 160*. Then I sliced of a tiny nibble, wrapped it in foil and let it rest an hour before refrigerating it.

Today, I sliced it and had one of the best pastrami and swiss on rye sandwiches ever for lunch.

The recipes I used were just minor variations on recipes widely available on the net. My specific mix is below. A "unit" is whatever amount of Tender Quick you need to use, based on the weight of your meat.


1 Unit Tender Quick

1 Unit dark brown sugar

1 Unit black pepper

1/2 Unit granulated garlic

1/2 Unit ground coriander

1/2 Unit onion powder

Mix all ingredients and thoroughly coat he meat on all sides. Use all of the rub, do not shake off excess, and seal the meat in a ziploc bag. Refrigerate several days, turning periodically.

Spice Crust:

3 parts whole black peppercorns

1 part whole coriander

1/2 part garlic powder

1/2 part thyme leaves

Mix all parts, and grind coarsely. I toss it all in the magic bullet and give it a few 3-4 second bursts. Coat meat with rub, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to smoke.

This experiment was an absolute success. I will definitely be trying this with a larger cut. I will make one modification though, and that will be to reduce the amount of black pepper in the spice crust to maybe 1.5 or 2 parts. I went with the higher amount this time in case I needed to steam the leaner cut of meat to get some tenderness. I expected I would lose some crust if I steamed it, but in this case it wasn't necessary.

If you enjoy pastrami, I definitely encourage you to try making it yourself!



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I think it would be better if you just went ahead and made one there' date=' and I will try some and tell you if you did it right :P[/quote']

Now, THAT is a true friend. One who wants you to eat for a lifetime! You know, give him a fish, he eats for a day. TEACH him to fish, he eats for a lifetime!

Whadda guy.... And even willing to taste test it for you! The lengths to which people on this forum will go to help each other. It brings a tear to my eye. :wink:

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