Saturday, April 4, 2009

Won't Find This On A $5 Footlong

I've never had pastrami. At least, I've never had anything in my mouth taste like the pastrami I made today. This was no also ran lunch meat. What I made and ate today was a true delicacy. I guess it would put the deli in delicatessen. Homemade pastrami.

I've never made pastrami before and didn't even think about trying it until this morning. I went on a photo hunt at 6am and on the way home, stopped to pick up a brisket. All they had was one of those corned beef brisket packages. All I knew about pastrami was that it was smoked corned beef, so the idea clicked.

I cooked the corned beef package as directed. It was 2.76 lbs and I put it on to boil for 50 minutes per pound (rounded down to 125 minutes) with the pickling spice packet. While it was cooking, I took my 9 y/o on a 1.75 mile cross country run on a local path.

Got back home and pulled the meat out right at a total of 2 hours and the internal temp showed 171f but quickly fell to 155f after taking it out. I seasoned it with 1 heaping teaspoon my beef rub (see below) and 1 teaspoon of coarse black pepper:

2 tablespoon Paprika
2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Onion powder
2 teaspoon Garlic powder
2 teaspoon Cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoon White pepper
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
1 teaspoon Dried thyme
1 teaspoon Oregano

I put it on the Big Green Egg (you can use any other grill or smoker) on indirect heat with hickory smoke at 250f. The drip pan shown is a deep dish pizza pan I bought last week for $8 at a restaurant supply store. Makes a perfect dip pan, I just add a little liquid every now and then.

I smoked that beef until it hit an internal temp of 197f. I don't really remember how long this took because I was busy painting my son's room. I'd guess it was about 2-2 1/2 hours. I pulled it, wrapped it in foil, and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

When I sliced it, I KNEW it was going to be delicious.

Alexis and I ate a whole slice before I could even finished carving it up. The texture was tender and the flavor amazing! I threw a few slices on white bread and ate it plain.

"It's like my mouth is having sex," I said, savoring this treat. I couldn't help myself, it was that good.

As good as it was, there are a few things I would do to perfect it next time.
  • Reverse sear it. (Meaning, cook it as noted above but as it got close to being done, start cooking over direct heat to get a darker crust on the outside.
  • Let it rest in the fridge overnight after cooking and slicing it thinly on the meat slicer the next day.
  • Serve it on toasted hoagie rolls with sauerkraut and/or stone ground mustard.
For a totally unplanned and first ever attempt at pastrami, damn, I knocked this one out of the park! (and I'm usually pretty modest).


  1. I guess you'll be cooking that again?

  2. You and your family have the best meals. I'm jealous. I've had pastrami but that looked wayyy better than regular pastrami.

  3. See now that actually SOUNDS and LOOKS good!!! I bet it was DIVINE! I also bet it didn't taste like a hot dog! Yay for you making homeade! That's awsome! Also, your comment about us throwing away our gas grill cracked me up! I MUCH prefer the taste of charcoal grilled food! Oh man my mouth is watering now...

  4. Nice. Very, very nice. :) Pastrami was the first word my father-in-law learned in English when he came to this country, but I don't think he ever thought you could do it at home. He'd love this.

  5. Oh my - it looks amazing! I wish I had a green egg so I could make this.

  6. You can do it on any covered grill in which you can hold a 225 to 250f temp with indirect heat (not over the coals).

  7. Looks great but you lost me at the white bread LOL. Hopefully no mayo on that meat :)


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