[FTC Disclaimer] Certified Angus Beef is one of my sponsors and I receive compensation from them. It's easy being a brand ambassador for a product that I already use and love.
St Patty's Day is upon us and one of the most popular menu items is corned beef. Making corned beef from scratch is a several day process so it's too late to do it this year but don't worry.
- Certified Angus Beef has a short cut method for Irish Braised Corn Beef that you can still pull off in time for dinner tomorrow.
- Chef Michael Ollier also did a great Facebook Live video about corned beef last week as well.
But for me, I only make corned beef so that I can smoke it to make pastrami! The Reuben sandwich is one of Alexis' all-time favorite sandwiches and it's even better when you make the pastrami from scratch.
The basic process is:
- Start with a quality beef brisket "flat" from Certified Angus Beef.
- Make a heavily seasoned brine with savory flavors and pickling spices.
- Use the brine to wet cure the flat for several days.
- Rinse off the brisket flat, dry it, and season with a black pepper and coriander based seasoning.
- Smoke the brisket to 165°f-180°f.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Steam the brisket to 200°f.
- Slice and serve.
Yeah, it's a bit of a process but it's not that difficult and the results are worth it. For this pastrami, I used elements of two recipes:
- Pastrami from Michael Symon's book, Carnivore, and
- Montreal Smoked Mean from Andy Husband and Chris Hart's book, Pitmaster.
|Trimmed and ready to use. I used the point on the right to make burnt ends to satisfy my beef cravings while the flat cured for a few days.|
|Pickling spices - You can buy pickling spices but I prefer to make my own. I did a variation of Michael Symon's. It makes a good bit (about 1/4 cup) and you only need a couple of tablespoons but you can use this mix for general pickling.|
Pickling Spiceadapted from Michael Symon's Carnivore
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon green peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
- 1 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 small cinnamon stick, broken and crushed
- 8 bay leaves, broken up into small pieces
- Mix all ingredients together and keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
|For food safety, you have to make sure that the brine mix has been cooled to 40°f. Basically plan on cooling it overnight in the fridge. You also want to make sure that the container that you use is non-reactive and sized appropriately so that the volume of the brine covers the brisket flat. The one I used is a 2-gallon commercial food tote and lid which fits in most home fridges.|
|Use a plate or lid to weigh down the brisket so it is completely submerged in the brine. Brisket flats float. What else floats in water? Bread! Apples! Very small rocks! (Python fans get it)|
- 2 tablespoon coarse Malabar black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon crushed dried onion flakes
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
Note: You could just smoke the brisket until it's done at 200°f and be done with it but I like to steam the pastrami to finish it. That is what the renowned NYC delis like Katz do.
|Wait 30 minutes and then you are free to slice your pastrami across the grain. You can use a meat slicer but I just freehand it using a 10" carving/slicing knife. The sharper the better, so you don't mess up that beautiful, spicy crust.|
|It's Reuben time!|
|This was fresh sliced but if I was using leftover pastrami, I'd top the meat side with cheese and pop it under a broiler until the meat is heated through and the cheese bubbly and staring to turn golden brown.|
|Don't be bashful, pile that pastrami high! The ones at a deli often look even taller than this.|
My favorite use for leftover pastrami other than sandwiches this. Chop it up into 1" chunks and use it in a breakfast hash of cubed potatoes, onions, and bell peppers seasoned with pepper, salt, and chili powder. Top that with a poached egg and enjoy!