a few pastrami questions

Discussion in 'Beef' started by twistertail, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. twistertail

    twistertail Smoking Fanatic

    So I'm going to try pastrami this weekend for the first time. I've got a corned beef in freezer that I'm going to use. I've been reading on here and think I have a base plan but have just a few questions. I'm going to thaw it out and then soak/rinse in water so its not too salty. Should I open the package and thaw it in water, or let it thaw first then soak in water for a few hours and change the water a few times? Since its already brined I dont think I'll use any salt in the rub and have seen where some just use black pepper and coriander for the rub, since this is my first I want to keep it simple so I'll just use that for the rub. I dont have a spice grinder so is there some other way to get a coarse grind on the pepper and coriander? Would a blender work? I have seen that some of you smoke it then put in the fridge over night and slice the next day, is this just so you can slice it easier or does it taste better? thanks for any help guys.
  2. I just did my firs and I was a little disapointed with the outcome after sitting overnight(which does help with sliceing). A few people here recomended that I steam it the next day and than slice it after it cools and it made a world of difference. I had my first sammy lasty night and it was awesome. As for the grinder, I don't have one either. I use a mortar and pestal to do is and that works pretty well. As for your othe ?s, I'll leave that to someone else. I'm still learnin too. Good luck.
  3. indyadmin1974

    indyadmin1974 Smoking Fanatic

    I would let your brisket thaw first and then soak it.

    You can use a coffee grinder if you have one or put the spices in a ziploc bag and roll them out with a rolling pin.

    I don't think the blender is going to work too well for you.

    Good luck! I sliced mine right away and didn't have any trouble, but I had an electric knife.

    I'm sure others who are more experienced may have more information on that.
  4. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey twistertail.

    So as stated the blender might not work so well. The bag and rolling pin method would be your best option unless you go out and get a spice grinder. You can usually find them for $20-$30. I don't drink coffee so all I use mine for is spices anyway.

    For the spices pepper and coriander would work but I would add in at least a little garlic powder to give the outside crust another dimension of flavor but you can definitely skip the salt.

    I personally have sliced fresh, cold and steamed.
    Steaming is my preferred way to go about it. I figure it is the way all the best strami joints in NYC do it so I gave it a shot once and it was phenomenal but any way you go about it they should be fine.
    Make sure to cut across your grain, if smoking and then eating that day allow it to rest for about an hour in foil/towels before slicing.
    Setting in the fridge overnight really does nothing more than make it easier to slice as you figured, the taste will remain the same.
    I would recommend the steam method just because it produces an amazingly tender, juicy and almost melt in your mouth pastrami.
    If you do go about steaming it 2-3-4 hours is fine but be sure you don't cut a slice off to taste if you are going to steam, the exposed/cut part will let all of the steaming moisture run out of the meat along with some of your cure flavors.

    Good luck [​IMG]
  5. twistertail

    twistertail Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks so much for the info guys. Another one, can I go from the smoker to the steam in the same day? I want to try the steam, had read on here about putting it on a rack in a pan with water then covering with foil to steam, but not sure I'll be able to smoke it on friday and the steam on saturday. Could I smoke and then go straight to the steam? Start it early on saturday and smoke till 145 then into oven/steam for 3-4 hours?
  6. twistertail

    twistertail Smoking Fanatic

    Hey I just remembered I've got one of those little ball type pepper griders, the little cheap kind that you squeeze the 2 handles together, maybe I could use that for the pepper and coriander? It'd take a while but might work
  7. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    It would work but like you said it might take a while but make sure you don't use fine ground pepper, it just won't come out the same.
    I have never gone straight from smoker to steamer so I couldn't say how well that would work.
    If you have time to smoke it then cool it and then steam it all in the same day then I would go for that but if not then from smoker to steamer might work out.
    Whichever you decide let us know how it turns out.
  8. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Go to your local dollar store, walmart, kmart... wherever. You should be able to pick up a basic coffee grinder for about $10. Usually somebody has them on sale for dirt cheap. Just make sure you only grind spices in it, or your coffee might come out tasting peppery... lol.

    I have one I picked up from a garage sale for $5, and have used it for years to grind my pepper. I never buy pre-ground pepper anymore, just whole corns, then grind about enough to use for a week at a time and put it in a small glass pinch bowl.

    Best pastrami I have made to date I rubbed liberaly with coarse cracked pepper, galic powder, and the little bag of seasoning that comes with the corned beef. Smoked till it hit 165 inernal temp., foiled and let it go till it hit 185 internal temp., rested in cooler for about 1 hr., sliced and vacuum packed right away. Stayed very moist and tender, made great sammy's, and the wife and kids ate 2 of my vacuum bags just straight as "snacks"... lol.
  9. twistertail

    twistertail Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for all the help guys, it turned out GREAT!

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