Author Topic: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?  (Read 2367 times)

Offline roguejim

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Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« on: March 20, 2011, 10:02:18 AM »
It's my understanding that if you season and smoke corned beef, you get pastrami, or something close.  Can you use a store bought corned beef?  Any recipes or procedures you can offer?

Offline nicneufeld

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 12:39:36 PM »
Close enough, I'd say.  The processes for pastrami are somewhat different but this is a good approximation.

It's fairly simple...google search it for any number of recipes (there are a few good ones on virtualweberbullet.com).  Buy a corned beef from the store...flats may be preferable, but both work...I soak it overnight in water to reduce some saltiness.  Then coat in a peppery spice rub without salt.  Smoke until done (you don't have to take this to normal 180, 190 brisket levels necessarily, just make sure its cooked...probably wouldn't hurt to get it more tender though).  I then like to let it cool overnight in the fridge and then hit it with a meat slicer to get thin sheets of the stuff.  But you could slice it then, too.  Thin slices are best, as thin as you can get it.  Pickles, good mustard, rye bread, beer.

Offline euge

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 05:16:40 PM »
I love me a good pastrami sandwich.

AFAIK a pastrami is brined, then liberally coated with spices before smoking. When done smoking it is gently steamed. I suspect this is done out of a sense of economy with a shorter smoking period. Just finishing the meat in the smoker should work. Maybe with foiling the brisket midway to simulate steaming. +1 on chilling overnight- ought to help keep the meat cohesive when slicing thin.

Mmmmmm. If we make our own brine we can use the spices we want and not have some nitrate laden lump of meat to prepare. :)
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jaybeerman

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2011, 06:32:59 PM »
I soak it overnight in water to reduce some saltiness. 
foiling the brisket midway to simulate steaming [and] chilling overnight

These steps are key to making good pastrami.  They cannot, IMO, be skipped.

[Home made pastrami], pickles, good mustard, rye bread, beer.  What else is there?  Ok well I'd take a cuban every now and then but that's it.  cheers, j

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2011, 08:09:00 PM »
Mmmmmm. If we make our own brine we can use the spices we want and not have some nitrate laden lump of meat to prepare. :)
Totally. :)  I love home made corned beef.

The corning spices aren't the same as the pastrami rub, that and the smoking are the two biggest differences to me.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline markaberrant

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 01:43:39 PM »
Also I did some reading trying to determine the difference between Pastrami and Montreal Smoked Meat.  It wasn't easy to sort out, but from what I can gather, Pastrami is typically wet brined, while MSM is dry brined.

Offline hamiltont

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 01:55:14 PM »
Good advice above!  I like to soak it in cold water in the fridge & change the water a few times to remove some of the salt. Pat it dry & allow to air dry some. All I use is coriander & black pepper, both run through a pepper mill. Don't go too heavy with the coriander though. Smoke to 160F, foil and finish to 180F.  Wrap in a towel & into the cooler for about an hour. Then into the fridge to chill. Slice thin & let the party begin!  Cheers!!!
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Offline BrewArk

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 10:33:10 PM »

[Home made pastrami], pickles, good mustard, rye bread, beer.  What else is there?  Ok well I'd take a cuban every now and then but that's it.  cheers, j

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Offline roguejim

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2011, 02:49:05 AM »
Alright,

I soaked the corned beef in water for a few hours prior to smoking.  After applying the pepper/coriander seed rub, I smoked it @ 250F until it was 165F, internal temp.  Foiled it until it reached 180F, internal temp.  I let it set on the counter until it cooled, and then put it into the fridge overnight.  I've been eating it reheated in a toasted cheese sandwich on rye.  It is tasty, but on the tough side.  Assuming it wasn't just a tough piece of meat to begin with, what could I have done differently to make it more tender?

Offline euge

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2011, 03:00:24 AM »
Alright,

I soaked the corned beef in water for a few hours prior to smoking.  After applying the pepper/coriander seed rub, I smoked it @ 250F until it was 165F, internal temp.  Foiled it until it reached 180F, internal temp.  I let it set on the counter until it cooled, and then put it into the fridge overnight.  I've been eating it reheated in a toasted cheese sandwich on rye.  It is tasty, but on the tough side.  Assuming it wasn't just a tough piece of meat to begin with, what could I have done differently to make it more tender?

Sounds like it wasn't cooked long enough. How long was it in the smoker?
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2011, 03:37:36 AM »
Alright,

I soaked the corned beef in water for a few hours prior to smoking.  After applying the pepper/coriander seed rub, I smoked it @ 250F until it was 165F, internal temp.  Foiled it until it reached 180F, internal temp.  I let it set on the counter until it cooled, and then put it into the fridge overnight.  I've been eating it reheated in a toasted cheese sandwich on rye.  It is tasty, but on the tough side.  Assuming it wasn't just a tough piece of meat to begin with, what could I have done differently to make it more tender?

Sounds like it wasn't cooked long enough. How long was it in the smoker?
I agree, but you could try slicing it thinner (as thin as you can) and that should help.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline The Professor

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Re: Smoked Corned Beef = Pastrami?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2011, 06:09:23 AM »
Alright,

I soaked the corned beef in water for a few hours prior to smoking.  After applying the pepper/coriander seed rub, I smoked it @ 250F until it was 165F, internal temp.  Foiled it until it reached 180F, internal temp.  I let it set on the counter until it cooled, and then put it into the fridge overnight.  I've been eating it reheated in a toasted cheese sandwich on rye.  It is tasty, but on the tough side.  Assuming it wasn't just a tough piece of meat to begin with, what could I have done differently to make it more tender?

Sounds like it wasn't cooked long enough. How long was it in the smoker?
I agree, but you could try slicing it thinner (as thin as you can) and that should help.

Do what the best traditional delis like Carnegie, Langers, Katz's, and others of that dying breed do:  they steam the meat  for 2-3 hours or more (that's AFTER it's been smoker cooked) .  The smoking and heating to 165° may technically cook the meat, but the melt-in-your-mouth succulence of properly prepared pastrami just won't happen without that long steambath.
The great thing is that once the meat has been long-steamed this way it can be refrigerated afterwards and sliced as needed...and at that point,  whether it's  served cold or reheated, it will be as tender as can be.

As far as I'm concerned, it's the ONLY right way to do pastrami.  Even the marginal supermarket deli brisket pastramis can be made at least palatable and tender with this method. 

But if you're curing and smoking your own pastrami from scratch, just don't make the mistake of going for a lean first-cut brisket...use the fattier  'second cut' one or better still,  use the traditional cut of meat for pastrami...the beef 'navel'. 
Bottom line:  Lean meat just doesn't cut it for real pastrami. 
Lean pastrami=fail. 
Even if you start with a packaged corned beef to which you intend to add a coriander/pepper rub prior to smoking,  don't go for the thin cut brisket corned beef, go for the thick or 'point' cut. 
Your arteries may not thank you, but I promise your taste buds will.  ;D
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