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).