Homemade Smoked Pastrami

Introduction: Homemade Smoked Pastrami

Today we are going to learn how to make your own homemade smoked pastrami. This is on the easier side of smoked meats no tricks just straight forward and produces an amazing result. I love pastrami and hate to pay for the deli sliced stuff at the super market, and it's always better to make your own stuff. So without further bantering lets get started.

tools needed:
A smoker, I used an electric Cajun Injector smoker for this one. I have a charcoal one but it's still a little cold outside here in North Idaho and while I could still use it it's harder to keep at temperature when the ambient temp is low. a propane smoker would work just as well as either of those as well.

Ingredients needed:
Corned beef (there are two kinds you will find at the store flat and point cuts) I like to use the flat cut because the cuts from the finished product are more uniform and easier to put in a slicer. The point cut has a lot more fat in it where the flat gets most of the fat from the fat cap which you can trim down to your liking. 
3) Tbl spoons light brown sugar
2) Tbl spoons course ground pepper
3) Tbl spoons granulated garlic (powder works fine too)
2) Tbl spoons Paprika
2) teaspoons powdered/ground coriander 
2) teaspoons chili powder
1) teaspoon cayenne powder.
yellow mustard
liquid of your choice for the drip pan, I usually use a IPA (starts with Sierra ends with Nevada) 21 and over please I am not advocating under age consumption in any way. No need to email your lawyer. But apple, pineapple, and other fruit juices work too.
now lets get preparing.  

Step 1: The Rub.

First we need to add the light brown sugar, into a shallow mixing bowl use a fork to get as much of the lumps out as possible (almost impossible i know but as much as you can).

Then add all the other dry ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly.

Then if you're as much of a recycler as my wife is then you will have some old spice containers in the cupboard and they make awesome containers for your various rubs and spice mixes, use a funnel to get the rub mix into the container (also makes getting the lumps out of the sugar easier too) so shake the heck out of it to mix it more and get the most of the lumps out.

Step 2: Prepare the Meat, Start the Smoker.

Now we need to rinse the meat off, out of the package the meat has been brined in a salt solution so rinse all the excess brine solution and I try and squeeze as much of the brine out of the meat (notice i put no salt in the rub there is plenty of salt in it from the process of becoming a corned beef, and the brown sugar will neutralize a lot of it too) .

Then use paper towel to dry off the meat so everything sticks to it.

Take your yellow mustard an squeeze some onto the meat and rub it all over all sides even the ends, not too much this is just a sticking agent for your rub and the smoking will take all the mustard taste out of it so don't worry about the taste (I hate mustard and I never have tasted it in anything, I use mustard for all my smoked meats it's fairly cheap and makes the rubs stick very well).

Use the spice shaker to evenly distribute the rub all over all sides and ends, coat fairly thick and pat down the rub so it sticks well.

Coat the top of the meat with more of the course ground pepper (the top is the side with the fat cap).

Place the meat in the refrigerator while you continue your prep.

Now we need to pre-heat the smoker, it is good practice to pre-heat your smoker and get it to temp before you place the meat inside, this will make sure none of those bad bacteria will grow while the smoker temp is rising. I put my smoker on 225 degrees and set the timer for 10 hours. Please be sure to take the time to do this step botchalism is nothing to play with. 

Step 3: Put It in and Wait....wait Some More.....and Wait Until It's Done.

OK, now that our smoker is to temp we can put the meat in it.

place some chips in the hopper about a 1/4 cup at a time, don't put in too many at one time or you can end up with that horrible creosote taste.

put your liquid in the drip pan, this will allow the meat to stay moist throughout the smoking process. You can dry chamber smoke it but i prefer this method my self.

I put an external meat thermometer in the thickest cut of meat, this is used when my meat probe is close to temp for a more definite and accurate temperature. Are you starting to see that temp is key in smoking? :)

Then put the internal meat probe in the smaller cut and shut the door.

I check the meat probe at every half hour mark, bump the temp 10 degrees, and add about 1/4 cup of chips at that time too.

the only time factor I use when smoking is adding temperature, and chips. It takes as long as it takes to get to temperature. I smoke these with chips for about 4 hours that is plenty smoke for me and gives a nice flavor.

Keep the meat in the smoker until 190 degrees, then take them into the house and wrap in foil and let them sit on the counter for 30 minuets this will bring the meat up to around 200 degrees and will also let the juices re-distribute throughout the meat. Be sure not to poke or cut the meat at all in this 30 minuet resting period or all the juice will run out and it wont be as savory as it could be. Trust me on this one it's well worth the wait.  

Step 4: Eat It!

OK, after all the waiting and resting... a few beers, some black ops 2, and the start to watching the entire seasons of The Big Bang Theory again. Here it is the fruit of our labors.

Slice thin and eat while it's still hot. I usually make a Reuben sandwich on the first night of the smoking. I then vacuum pack the rest in week size proportions for lunches and freeze them.

Wow your family with your homemade deli meat, show off at work or hey make a new ible with the way you did it.

As with cooking all things please cook smart and safe, pay close attention to temperatures. 

Thank you for following along and happy creating.

The meat turner pictured is made by yours truly, new ible's with how I made my forge and smithing various decorative and useful utensils will be coming soon.

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    Helllo, very good informative Instructable. Only thing we seem to do different is I steam mine before we eat it.... have 2 questions, where do you purchase your Rueben corned beef and where did you get that perfect sized cutting board. Thanks


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I will definitely have to try the steaming sounds good ( I checked out yours as well ), I get them at Walmart here in Idaho after St Patrick's day. lol I think I got that cutting board at a yard sale.