corned beef to pastrami, is it that easy?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by eppo, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. eppo

    eppo Meat Mopper

    My butcher has some awesome corned beef that he gets that has been soaking in a barrel of brine.

    Is it as easy as just taking the meat, putting some rub on it, and then smoking it to a specific temp?

    Usually i pick up some cooked corned beef and cabage from him, its awesome. This year i was thinking of picking up an extra uncooked piece and smoking it for corned beef. Is it that easy?


  2. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    yes it's that easy! All pastrami is smoked corned beef.  Once you smoke it you may want to steam it before slicing.
  3. eppo

    eppo Meat Mopper

    i've seen people who soak it in water for 24 hours prior, do you always need to do it?

  4. slownlow

    slownlow Smoking Fanatic

    cut a little piece off an pan fry it.  Testing the salt.   IF it's not to salty for you then no soak needed.   If it is too salty soak it in ice water for an hour or so and then pan fry a piece again.  If salty soak etc........repeating till it's not salty anymore.  Then smoke away!  and don't forget the Qview
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    There is no need to soak if the Beef is not too salty, cook of a Test piece and only soak if it is too salty for you. Rub with Coarse Black Pepper, ground Coriander and anything else you like. Dry Minced Garlic, Dry Minced Onion, Crushed Juniper and/or fine minced Herbs...JJ
  6. africanmeat

    africanmeat Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  7. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What Chef JimmyJ said. I think the black pepper and crushed juniper is the key to changing the flavor profile.
  8. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    I did one from scratch and it was that easy, just took a little time in the brine, so if it's already brined then even easier.
  9. eppo

    eppo Meat Mopper

    I'm doing this!
    Can't wait
  10. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Very timely!

    For St Pattys week sale, we have some corned beefs available for $1.67 per pound.  Don't try to buy brisket for that price?

    I will be getting about a dozen or more for the freezer.  Most will go for "pastrami"  a few will go for plain old corned beef.

    All it takes is a proper rub and some smoke and you have a great shortcut pastrami!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  11. missed-em

    missed-em Smoke Blower

    Got 3 corned beef flats in the smoker now, 170* and climbing - got my fingers crossed as this is a first
  12. ron forst

    ron forst Fire Starter

    too lazy to look around, what internal temp do you take these to?
  13. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would go to 195 degrees for slicing, just like a normal brisket. Any higher, and it would start to fall apart.
  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just a tidbit of info for you " Stock up, they are on Sale," guys ...The USDA recommends draining the Brine from the Corned Beef before freezing. Leaving in the brine can cause the meat to get mushy and the Salt causes the meat to turn Rancid, even in the freezer...JJ
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012
    kydave likes this.
  15. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    The range of your knowledge amazes me.  I would have never thought of that but then again corned beef doesn't last long around here. funny, it never seems to make it to the freezer.
  16. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

  17. kydave

    kydave Smoke Blower

    Hello SMF,

    Wife says to me, "Isn't pastrami just smoked corned beef?" And I say, "That's what they say on SMF." A quick search and voila! Now I have a plan! Smoking this afternoon, q-view tomorrow in a new thread - even if it sucks. 

    Plan - rinse, dry and rub packaged corned beef (Sam's Club) with black pepper, smoke at 225-250 until internal temp at 195. (Hope it doesn't take 8 hours) Let it rest for 30 min, then steam for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve on rye bread with brown mustard, baby swiss and sauerkraut.

    Thanks guys!

    I haven't been around in a while - sold my business (magazine) and selling my house for a big move out west. It may be a while before I'm active again, (have to start a new business) but I shall return when I start setting up my new outdoor cooking area. (Excited!)

  18. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    David, I'm not sure what size Sam's Club corned beef you plan on doing, but the last one I bought from Costco was a whole packer (about 13 pounds if I recall correctly) and took about 20 hours.

    Good luck and post some pics so we can see how it turned out.
  19. kydave

    kydave Smoke Blower

    Crickey - a 13 pound corned beef? I've never seen that at Sam's. I purchased the biggest one they had - 3.5 lbs - and will be smoking it today. Had a slight change of plans yesterday but am all set for some tasty pastrami tonight.

    Slight change of plan - I will soak it in water for an hour before going into the smoker.

    Thanks for the luck - will post pics!
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  20. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97 Smoking Fanatic

    If you've seen the sodium content of the averaged prepared corned beef in the grocery store, you will want to soak it.  The fry test works well but remember that when the corned beef loses moisture it will loose more than when doing a fry test.  The salt will really concentrate.  I was buying corned beefs with just 220mg of sodium/ 4 oz and even with a 24 hr soak it was still salty.  Certainly not a salt lick but still a prominent amount of salt and I like salt.

Share This Page