First Pastrami

Discussion in 'Beef' started by spanishmackerel, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Hello all,

    I really love the pastrami sandwiches you get paper thin sliced in a deli. I just had delivered a Chef's choice 610 slicer for that reason. I know this sounds dumb [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG], but where can I get a good pastrami and how do I prep and smoke it on my WSM. I have a 18" and 22" WSM.

    Is it like prepping a brisket or do I soak it for days!

    I live in San Antonio Texas, are they at most grocery store!

    Thanks for your help [​IMG]

  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Do a search for pastrami under advanced search there have been a ton of pastrami's being made in the past few weeks.
  3. thanks, I'll do that
  4. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Michael, give this recipe a look.

    My favorite go to pastrami recipe, comes out wonderful every time.
    Only difference is I cure a full packer for 10 days, no need to even soak after it is done, just rinse, season and smoke.
  5. oledocj

    oledocj Newbie

    I've tried several ways of making pastrami on the WSM or ECB. And, some of them came out okay to pretty good, but not at all like the good pastrami from a deli!! Also, they usually turned to rubber after refrigeration and had to be steamed before eating - destroying the smokey and pastrami flavor.

    I had light bulb in the head revelation/wild idea and pursued it a few days ago. The result was a superb, deli style clone! Made it from store bought corned beef but you have to soak and rinse and soak and rinse for 2 days to get all that salt out that they cure them with commercially!

    I cooked it first by steaming. I used a steamer insert (pasta insert) in a 12 qt pot. I steamed the corned beef to 205F with just some cracked pepper on top.

    Foiled it and let it cool down to about 180-185, then sprinkled it generously with a pastrami rub. Then I put it electric smoker chamber at 150F and dry oak chips to generate the smoke. Let it smoke at 150F for 45-60 min.

    Foiled it again and let it cool down enough to handle for slicing. Very moist, spicy, smoky, and TENDER!

    Also, the corned beef went from a 1½ inch slab to a 3 inch thick block after steaming!

    It might go against the grain of diehard smokers, but it works!!!
  6. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have a little issue with what was said above pertaining to the flavor of pastrami.
    What I disagree with...

    If you soak any meat in just water for that long it is going to remove almost all of the cure flavor which is an intergral part of the pastrami experience.

    Also steaming doesn't remove the smoky or pastrami flavor considering the fact that it is absorbing moisture, locking it in with the other flavors.

    Not saying that the pre steaming way wouldn't work but it is by no means a "true" pastrami which requires a certain level of cured flavor and several hours of good smoke and you sure can't argue with the flavor of places like Katz's Deli.

    Thanks for the tip though, there's always more than one way to smoke some meat.
  7. oledocj

    oledocj Newbie

    The soaking did not remove the cure flavor. A lot of that comes from the nitrite reacting with the myoglobin heme in the meat - that is not changed by soaking. Maybe some of the curing spice flavor is removed, but the spice flavor is added back by the pastrami rub after the steaming.

    I won't argue with Katz's method - whatever it is that they use. It apparently works.

    I will argue with most of the methods that I have seen posted on low and slow bbg forum sites. They really don't work to produce a pastrami anywhere near as good as that served in any decent deli - I assume that would include Katz's, though I've never been there. (the Las Vegas one is closer but still a plane trip away!)

    My experience with steaming the pastrami after smoking is the exact opposite of what you replied. It did dilute the flavor and the smokiness. I respect your seniority on this board (I am a newby here), but I respectfully disagree.

    The method I posted results in a smoky and spicey pastrami that retains its tenderness and juiciness even after refrigeration. It does not need to be re-steamed before serving. Simply put some in a ziploc bag or vacuum sealed bag and plop it into some hot water (170-180F) for a few minutes.

    The proof is in the pudding. The pastrami I made is every bit as good as any deli pastrami that I have ever eaten! And I have eaten a lot in my 65 years!

    What the heck is a "true" pastrami, pray tell!!
  8. oledocj

    oledocj Newbie

    Hey! I'm a Newbie! I just read your pastrami thread. That was great! I had never tried steaming the pastrami whole after smoking and before slicing! I think both of our methods accomplished similar things.

    Steaming the pastrami AFTER slicing thin is what degraded the flavor.

    I can see how steaming it whole after smoking would work just fine as you described "locking in the flavors".
  9. oledocj

    oledocj Newbie

    As for "several hours of good smoke", I have always understood that most of the smoke flavor is imparted in the first hour. After that time, the crust is starting to form on the meat and smoke penetration is greatly reduced. That is why the "smoke ring" only penetrates a short distance into the meat during bbq smoking
  10. mama's smoke

    mama's smoke Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Smoked a corned beef yesterday. Rested in foil and towels, before putting it in the refrigerator overnight. I'll steam it when I get home from work today. Rye bread, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese await. Hopefully will have lovely QView to share.
  11. jc1947

    jc1947 Smoking Fanatic

    Doc, this might be a dumb question. How do you get the rub to stick when you turn the meat over to put rub on the other side?

Share This Page