One day while out shopping, Michele bought a corned brisket. She's aways on the lookout for new things and knew that I'd be interested in a whole corned beef that wasn't sliced.
The difference between corned beef and pastrami is subtle. In both cases, a beef brisket is 'corned' by curing it in a salt brine for a couple weeks. This comes from the days before refrigeration, where the use of salt and sugar to preserve meat for a long time was common.
To turn the corned brisket into a corned beef, you boil the meat.
To turn the corned brisket into pastrami, you smoke the meat.
Loyal Cruft Readers will know that I love to smoke meats, so I decided to make pastrami.
Here is the brisket.
To smoke the meat, I needed a pastrami rub recipe to properly season it. I found this pastrami rub recipe and decided it looked good.
* 5 tablespoons kosher salt
* 4 tablespoons paprika
* 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
* 3 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
* 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
* 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
* 8 cloves garlic, minced
I enjoy making my own spice rubs. It's fun to grind things up and mix things together. The smell is amazing.
The rub is applied liberally to the corned brisket.
And into the smoker it goes.
I hit it with smoke for about two hours and then gave it about 3 more hours of straight heat.
The pastrami looked pretty good coming out and definitely had a bit of the 'pastrami smell'. I was quite encouraged.
Slicing the pastrami revealed a nice look of pink meat, typical of corned meat. Normally cooking meat this long would have turned it gray. Thanks to the nitrates in the corning brine, the color is maintained.
Of course, the real test is the taste. I'll have to admit, I was a little disappointed. While is had a hint of the pastrami flavor, it tasted much stronger of a traditional corned beef. Maybe I should have soaked it in water a bit to release more salt or maybe they had pre-boiled the meat.
We enjoyed the pastrami, but I know I can do better. I will buy a raw brisket and corn it myself this time. Alton Brown, my culinary hero, did an episode on corning beef, and I will follow his recipe.
Let me know if you have any suggestions, I haven't found a lot of home pastrami makers out there.Posted by michael at April 04, 2007 11:32 PM