The easy one. How To Make Beef Brisket Pastrami At Home | Michael Ruhlman . Home-Cured Beef Pastrami 6 ounces or 3/4 cups Morton’s kosher salt (or 200 grams if measuring water in liters) 3 ounces or ½ cup sugar (100 grams) 2 teaspoons pink salt (sodium nitrite), optional 5 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of a knife 2 tablespoons pickling spice 1 5-pound beef brisket, the more fat it has the better Rub 1 tablespoon peppercorn, toasted and ground (or as needed) 1 tablespoon coriander seed, toasted and ground (or as needed) In pot large enough to hold brisket, combine 1 gallon/4 liters of water with kosher salt, sugar, sodium nitrite (if using), garlic and 2 tablespoons pickling spice. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled. Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged; cover. Refrigerate for 2 days if it’s thin, a third day if it’s thick. Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly. Refrigerate it for another day uncovered (this is best, to let cure equalize, but if you can’t wait, that’s ok too). Combine the pepper and coriander and coat the brisket with it. Smoke and cook the brisket, till tender, as described above. Slice thinly to serve. This will keep for a week in the refrigerated. Steam it to reheat or reheat covered in a microwave (gently). Yield: 8 to 10 servings. ----------------------------------------------------- Now the one from scratch all the way . Okay, why do things the easy way when you can do it from scratch from start to finish. Tac 1st off Pastrami is just Smoked "Corned Beef" 2nd, Corned Beef is just wet cured Beef in a "Pickling Spice mixture" Below you will find all 3 recipes. Recipe for Pastrami Makes. About 3 pounds of pastrami after shrinkage, enough for 4 good sandwiches after trimming Preparation time. Oy! Cooking time. 6 hours approximately to smoke a thick 4 pound chunk at 225°F. Actual cooking time depends on thickness not weight. Then it goes into the fridge about 12 hours, and then it steams for about 2 hours. Larger and thicker cuts will take longer. Ingredients 4 pounds of good corned beef, preferably "Homemade" SEE BELOW for THIS RECIPE 4 tablespoons fresh coarsely ground black pepper 2 tablespoons coriander powder 1 teaspoon mustard powder 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 tablespoon paprika 2 teaspoons garlic powder 2 teaspoons onion powder 2 tablespoons cooking oil About store bought corned beef. Corned beef comes in two forms, ready to eat, and brined. Ready to eat corned beef is cured, then cooked, and usually packaged in slices or sliced at the deli counter. Do not use this! Brined corned beef is usually a hunk of brisket that has been cured in a salt solution and packaged in a hearty cryovac plastic bag with some of the brine. It has not been cooked yet. That's the stuff you want. About the rub. The paprika mostly adds color. If you want to veer from the conventional and amp it up a bit, substitute ancho powder or American chili powder, but be careful, the black pepper and mustard supply an ample kick. You can leave anything out that you want except the black pepper and the coriander. Method 1) Make your own corned beef. It is just plain better than storebought. For pastrami, the flat section of the brisket is favored by many because it makes nice even slices for sandwiches, but I prefer the point section of the brisket because it is fattier, richer, and more tender. Yes, it sometimes breaks apart, but who notices on a sammy? It can also be made from flank steak, or leaner cuts, or even from boneless short plate (rib meat). If you are using brisket, one side of the meat will probably have a thick layer of fat on it called the cap. Remove all of the fat cap except about 1/8" and if there is any filmy membrane on the other side, remove it all. That thin layer of fat is important. The process takes about a week. 2) Desalinate. Put the corned beef in a pot slightly larger than the meat and cover it with cold water in the fridge for at least 8 hours. This removes excess salt. Trust me, you need to do this or you will be gulping water all night after your meal. 3) Rub. Make the rub by blending together all the spices. Rinse the meat, pat it dry with paper towels, coat it with the cooking oil, apply the rub liberally, about 4 tablespoons per square foot of surface, and press it into the surface to help it adhere. If there is a thin part of meat, use less rub. Put in the fridge for a minimum of 2 days. Don't wrap it. The rub just sticks to the plastic wrap. Normally I say you do not need to let meats marinate in a rub, but the wait seems to help this particular rub adhere. 4) Smoke. Set up your grill in 2 zones for smoking or set up your smoker. If you can, use a charcoal smoker. It produces a deeper darker crust than any other cooker. Preheat to 225°F. Pick your wood. I don't think it makes a huge difference with all the other flavors banging around in there. My best batch was with cherry wood. There are two methods and they both work. The full smoke. Smoke it for as long as it takes to get it up to 203°F, just like a regular Texas style beef brisket. Depending on the thickness it can take up to 12 hours. This method give you the best crust, but the meat can be just a bit chewy right out of the smoker, especially if it is not a higher grade of meat, and most store bought corned beef is USDA Select. You can fix this by steaming, described below. If you want to speed it along you can wrap it tightly in foil when it hits the stall at about 150°F. This Texas Crutch process produces slightly more tender meat but the bark can get soft and a bit muddy. You can fix this by putting it over a hot grill for a few minutes. Half-smoke. Smoke it with indirect heat until it reaches the stall at about 150°F. Then steam it til it hits 203°F (more on steaming below). When it hits 203°F, no matter how you got there, go ahead and eat. If you prefer, you can wrap in foil and refrigerate for a week if you wish. It freezes well too. To bring it back to life, steam it to 203°F. 6) Steam. If you have a bamboo or metal steamer in which the meat will fit, you can use that. If not, you can make a steamer by putting a wire rack in a baking pan. If necessary you can sit the rack on wads of foil to keep it out of the water. Unwrap the meat and put it on the foil in which it was wrapped or the steam will wash off much of the rub. Do not slice the meat first. If you made a steamer with a baking pan, cover it with foil. If the pan is steel don't let the foil touch the meat. The salt, the water, the steel, and the aluminum can interact and create electrical charges that can melt the foil! This is a phenomenon called the "lasagna cell" because it happens to lasagna often. Put the pan on a burner, turn the heat to medium low, and steam it an hour or two until heated through to 203°F. Add hot water as needed, making sure the pan never dries out. Don't rush this. Take it all the way to 203°F. The crust tends to get soft when you steam. No doubt about it, a hard crust is more appealing. So you can firm the crust by putting it on a hot grill or in the oven or under the broiler for a few minutes. The best crust comes from the full smoke. 7) Slicing. Slicing is crucial to maximize tenderness. Look at the meat and notice which way the grain is running. Cut it by hand in thin slices, about 1/8" thick, perpendicular to the grain. If you cut parallel to the grain it will be much chewier. Don't try to slice it with a machine. It will just fall apart. 8) Serve. I serve it nekkid on fresh untoasted rye bread. A good brown mustard on both slices and a few shreds of sauerkraut is nice but not necessary. Now this is going to sound weird: It may need a light sprinkling of salt. The soaking process occasionally removes too much. So taste it and if you wish, sprinkle it on lightly. Put about 1/2 to 3/4 pound of meat on each sandwich. 1/2 to 3/4 pound per sandwich is more than enough for home use. If you want, you can make a Rockin' Pastrami Reuben with sauerkraut, melted swiss, and thousand island dressing. Reubens were originally made with corned beef, but there's no rule that you can't make one from pastrami. In fact, I highly recommend it. 9) Leftovers freeze well and they can be reheated in the microwave or steamed. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- . CORNED BEEF . Preparation time. 1 hour Curing time. 5-7 days Required ingredients About 4 pounds of beef brisket 1 gallon distilled water 8 ounces Morton's Kosher Salt, by weight (about 7/8 cup) 2 teaspoons Prague powder #1 Optional ingredients 1 cup brown sugar, preferably dark 5 tablespoons pickling spices Recipe Below 4 cloves garlic, smashed or pressed About the beef. Many delis use the fattier navel cut. You can also use boneless short rib meat, flank steak, tongue, or round, but round can be very thick, so cut in into 1.5" planks. For that matter you can use any cut you want, but brisket is my fave. About the pickling spices. You can buy them premixed or use recipe provided below to make your own. Method 1) Find a proper container large enough to handle 1 gallon of brine and the meat as described in my article Science Of Curing Meats. Clean it as described. 2) Mix the cure ingredients and the distilled water. Stir until they dissolve. 3) Take the meat and remove as much fat as possible from the exterior unless you plan to use some of it for pastrami. In that case, leave a 1/8" layer on one side. Because corned beef is cooked in simmering water, the fat just gets gummy and unappetizing. But if you plan to then make pastrami from it, you will be smoking the meat and in that case the fat gets succulent and lubricates the sandwich. I like to buy a full packer brisket and separate the point from the flat, and cut the flat in half when making corned beef or pastrami. That gives me 3 manageable hunks of 2 to 4 pounds each. If you leave the point attached to the flat beneath, it will be very thick and take longer to cure, and there's an ugly hunk of fat between them. 4) Add the meat to the curing solution. It might float, so put a plastic bowl filled with brine on top of the meat until it submerges. The meat will drink up brine so make sure there is enough to cover it by at least 1" or else you'll find the meat high and dry after a few days. Refrigerate. Let it swim for at least 5 days, longer if you wish, especially if the meat is more than 2" thick. You will not likely need more than 7 days, but once it is well cured, it can stay in the brine for another week. Move the meat every day or so just to stir up the cure. When you are done, the exterior of the meat will be pale tan or gray and if you cut into it, it should not look too different than normal raw meat, just a little pinker. 5) Now decide which path you want to follow. You can make traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner, you can make corned beef hash, you can make Rockin Reuben Sandwiches, or turn it into Close to Katz's Pastrami. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ PICKLING SPICE MIXTURE . Foods are often simmered in pickling spices and water, such as pork chops, sauerbraten, New England boiled dinner, and corned beef and cabbage. You can use more or less of these ingredients to your taste. Makes. About 3/4 cup Preparation time. 10 minutes Required 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns 3 inches cinnamon sticks, total length 2 tablespoon dill seeds 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon mustard seeds, any color 1 tablespoon coriander seeds 1 tablespoon celery seeds 4 bay leaves 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves 1 tablespoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons whole allspice berries 1 teaspoon whole cloves Optional 1 tablespoon mace 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds (or 1 tablespoon pods) 1 tablespoon juniper berries 2 star anise pods Method Put the cinnamon sticks and peppercorns in a plastic bag and smash them with a meat tenderizer or a hammer. Crumble the bay leaves into flakes about 1/8" size. Mix all the ingredients together and store in a tight jar.