Pastrami............Packer or Flat??

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by id2nv2nj2ca, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Hi there.  Just wondering what the general consensus is when making homemade pastrami, do you use a whole packer brisket, just the flat or just the point? Thanks.

    FYI, I tried making pastrami once using a store bought corned beef.  It was a colossal failure.  Not sure what I did wrong. 
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Why was it a failure?

    What was wrong with it?

  3. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Depending on your time you could just corn a beef brisket? I have used the store bought a lot myself. I use to use only the flat for shape & conformity UNTIL the wife brought home a point. Wow so much better IMHO that is all I use now. So like Al said what was wrong with yours? Maybe we can give you a few pointers in the right direction?
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I prefer to use the flat for pastrami, and the point for burnt end. I like leaner pastrami just my preference. Was your failure pastrami too salty? Very common when using store bought corned beef. One really needs to soak the salt out of it. Changing water every hour and adding a potato or two really helps.

    Pop's brine is a good place to start, just add pickling spice to the mix too. We use the lower salt version (1/3 cup).
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I'm with Terry, I use the flat for corned beef, (in the crock pot), and the point for pastrami. I think the point is so much more juicy when smoked, the flat will tend to dry out in the smoker.

  6. roller

    roller Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I use the flat also...
    id2nv2nj2ca likes this.
  7. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    It was WAYYYY tough.  Not so tough it couldn't be eaten, but not the really tender, tasty we have come to appreciate from certain sandwich shops like Togo's.  Theirs is pretty good and not too spicy.
  8. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Thank you.  As I said in my reply to Al, it was just too tough for our preference (we like the meat to pretty much literally fall off the bone on baby backs if that tells you anything ;) ) and it didn't really taste like pastrami that we are used to.  I actually didn't say that last part to him, though, about the taste.

    Now that I can go to Restaurant Depot with my KCBS membership, I will pick one up and give it a try with a long brining and curing process and see if that makes a difference.  Thanks again. 
  9. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have smoked a bunch of pastramis from store bought corned beefs and home cured briskets and I feel that no matter point or flat, the absolute best results are to smoke to about 190-195 IT (don't worry about the probe test In this case). Let it chill in the fridge for a few days and then steam it back up to 203 IT. Sounds high, like it will be pulled pastrami, but it's not. As long as you cut it against the grain it will be the juiciest smoked meat you've ever eaten. Most of the famous places in NY (and not so famous but great ones) smoke it, chill it, and then steam it for service.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    YEP! If it was tough it was not cooked long enough, either in the Smoker or Steamed. Steaming saves a lot of time but your choice. For me, grew up in the 60's and 70's, Pastrami was NY Deli style, Plate (Belly) Pastrami. Untrimmed was near 50/50 Fat and Lean. Not Heart Smart but in those days Healthy Eating was Seconds and Thirds at the Buffet!!! The POINT is the only thing that has the luscious texture, flavor and mouthfeel of old school Pastrami. Here was a great one! The Seasoning was really good and add the Juniper if you try it...JJ

    Not everyones taste but MAN! This was Good Eats! 

    Hope my Cardiologist is NOT a Mamber!?! [​IMG]

    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  11. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Have to agree on both points.. not heart smart, but the flavor and texture from the point is incredible.
    I've got 2 corn beef points soaking, and a flat thats been in pops brine for 14 days. Took the flat out yesterday, and rubbed with CBP onion and garlic powder. All three will be smoked tomorrow to a IT of 165* then steamed the following day to 203*. The flat will be my first try pastrami from scratch.
  12. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I'd just like to add to the to posts above that not only is the point more delicious because of the fat content, but usually less expensive around this time of year than the flat. Health conscious America leaves all the good cuts for us haha.
  13. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Yep. Picked up the CB points for $1.88. The flats were $3.99.
    After St patties day, i can find points for $.99#. I usually grab a few and toss em in the freezer.
  14. damon555

    damon555 Smoking Fanatic

    When you make your rub do not skip the crushed juniper berries. This is the one ingredient that will put your pastrami over the top. I like to rub the corned beefs down, vacuum seal them and pop them in the fridge for a few days. Work perfect every time.

    Follow worktogthr's instruction for smoking and you will have an excellent finished product. 
  15. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    I picked up some juniper berries today. Ill defenatly give em a shot on one of the points and compare the two.
  16. id2nv2nj2ca

    id2nv2nj2ca Smoke Blower

    Thank you everyone for the replies, suggestions and ideas. Sorry I haven't been on here much lately to thank you all sooner. Have a great weekend.

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