Pastrami - what went wrong? Too Much Salt!

Discussion in 'Beef' started by waterdogscbr, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. waterdogscbr

    waterdogscbr Fire Starter

    A couple of weeks ago I did a corned beef. Came out very good. This is the brine I used:

    I used a 3lb roast the recipe called for 3-5 lbs.

    1/2 gallon of water
    1 cup kosher salt
    1/3 cup sugar
    1/2 ounce instacure #1
    1 tbsp cracked black pepper
    1 tbsp coriander seeds
    12 bay leaves
    1 tbsp red pepper flakes
    1 tbsp dried thyme
    1 tsp caraway seeds
    1 cinnamin stick
    6 cloves
    6 garlic cloves

    I let this brine in the fridge for 3 days

    So I wanted to do a pastrami and my beef was 9 lbs.
    I doubled the brine recipe listed above. I let it brine for 6 days.
    Smoking came out great with the help of our forum and everyone's advice. The problem was it was way too salty. Couldn't even eat.

    I bumped to 1 gallon of water
    Two cups of salt
    1 ounce instacure.

    Was it too much:
    Or brining time?

  2. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    I am sure others will chime in but I'm thinking that's like twice as much salt as you needed. Pop's brine only has 1 cup for a gallon of water. And he suggests a longer curing time. What type of roast was it?
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  3. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Waterdog I use store bought Corned Beef for Pastrami, the key thing is to desalt it soak for a few hours in cold water, then you can do your rub and smoke. Never had a Pastrami I didn't like.

    Happy New Year
  4. waterdogscbr

    waterdogscbr Fire Starter

  5. waterdogscbr

    waterdogscbr Fire Starter

    Red Dog: Wow - there is a ton of info on pop's site.
    Definitely used way too much salt.
    Thanks for the information.
  6. waterdogscbr

    waterdogscbr Fire Starter

    Tropics - thanks for the help. Listen; I broke into that cheese I smoked on the 21st. I couldn't hold out as tonight is New Years eve and I had some venison kielbasa and crackers that were screaming for that smoked cheese. Came out great! Now to let smoke some more and get into the others as they age. Thanks.
  7. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  8.  Store bought corned beef is already brined. If you brined it again it was way to much salt.CF
  9. Did you remember to soak the corned beef in water for half a day before you smoked it?  Did you change the soaking water at least twice during that period?  Many people forget that step, and end up with Pastrami which is too salty. Even without a second brining, pastrami will turn out too salty if not soaked.

    The fix/rescue is relatively simple.  Chances are the pastrami is in the fridge, and must be warmed up before serving.  Get a pot with a quarter inch of boiling water in it.  Place your slices of pastrami in the boiling water for two minutes to warm up, before placing them on your hot pastrami sandwich.  This warming method leaches out the worst of the salt.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  10. waterdogscbr

    waterdogscbr Fire Starter

    Your original brine I see you were using Sea Salt.  The lower sodium brine I see listed above you are using regular non iodized table salt.  I have seen kosher salts listed also.  This is all new to me; which do you prefer?  As far as the instacure is concerned do you find weighing it verses measuring it makes a difference?

  11. waterdogscbr

    waterdogscbr Fire Starter

    Addertooth looking back at my notes I did forget to soak it.  Thanks for the catch.  When I did the roast I did soak it.  This time I forgot.  When I was cutting the pastrami I taste tested from the outside to the inside hoping that the middle would be less salty.  Looking at the brines I see listed from Pops it appears that I used way to much salt.  I maybe got lucky on the corned beef.  Putting the pastrami in boiling water is a great idea also. 

  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Waterdog, morning.....

    When using a "Corned Beef" from the store.... already packaged and in a liquid...... Do Not Brine again... it is already salted and cured....

    All you need to do is add the spices to the surface of the meat, that would make pastrami.... wrap in plastic for many days, and refer it..... then smoke it..... do not add more salt when adding the spices...

    I like to toast the spices in a medium frying pan to bring out the natural oils, grind or crush them a bit to further release those flavors, then rub into the meat really well, then wrap tight and refer....

    The only time you brine/cure etc. is when using raw beef.... some use brisket, some use bottom round, it's what's available and usually on sale..... When using a roast, I like to slice it with the grain to end up with a piece of meat 1 1/2" thick or so.... cures quicker... already final thickness for slicing for sandwiches... just works out better... spices don't have such a thick piece of meat to penetrate their flavor.....

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015

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