Introduction: Smokey Mountain Pastrami
This instruction set will guide you through a tried and true process for making home-made pastrami that is sure to be a crowd pleaser! From start to finish, the end product will take over a week; but be rest assured that these steps are not overly complicated.
This recipe is a take on Goldwyn’s “Pastrami That’s Close to Katz’s Recipe”.
The recipe herein is based on a 4-pound brisket. Recipe quantities and cooking times can be adjusted accordingly. Total preparation time is roughly 10 days: 7 for curing, 2 for the rub, and 1/2 day for the smoking/cooking. Before starting, be sure you have a:
· smoker and fuel/ wood
· food grade containers to the brine meat
· knife and cutting board
· mixing bowl
Step 1: Curing the Meat
This step involves curing the brisket with sodium nitrite, a popular meat preserving blend known as Prague Powder #1, which can found at your local butcher or outdoorsman shop(s). Before placing into the brine, be sure to trim any excess fat from the brisket so that you have roughly 1/2” of fat remaining. Cut the brisket (if need be) to fit your smoker and brine container(s). To make the brine, gather all the ingredients listed below before starting.
The Brine Mixture:
· 1 gallon of cold water (depending on container size)
· ¾ cup salt
· 2 tsp Prague Powder #1
· 1 cup brown sugar
· 5 TBSP pickling spices
· 5 cloves pressed garlic
Mix the ingredients, then place the meat into the brine mixture where it will sit for 7 days at refrigerator temperature.
*Check on the brisket once a day and stir the brine mixture. After mixing, be sure the meat stays submerged to ensure an adequate soak.
Once the curing process is complete, the brined brisket will need to sit through a secondary soaking to allow for desalinization. This is accomplished by placing the meat in a container of fresh cold water, then into the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.
Remove from refrigerator - pat dry.
Step 2: Applying the Rub
The Rub Mixture:
· 4 TBSP coarsely ground black pepper
· 2 TBSP coriander powder
· 1 TBSP brown sugar
· 1 TBSP paprika
· 2 tsp garlic powder
· 2 tsp onion powder
· 1 tsp mustard powder
· 2 TBSP cooking oil
Mix together the ingredients except for the cooking oil.
Evenly coat brisket with cooking oil, then apply the rub mixture. For best flavor, allow the meat to sit in your refrigerator for 2 days.
Step 3: Smoking the Pastrami
Finally, cooking day has arrived! The meat is ready to cook!
Smoke the meat at 225°F until it is approximately 190°F inside brisket (may take up to 12 hours or more).
For this pastrami, a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker with charcoal and hickory wood chunks were used.
Step 4: Cool Down, Slice, Serve!
After the meat is done cooking and has cooled for about an hour, slice, serve and enjoy!