Miscellaneous Rumbles

Made Pastrami From Scratch

1

I’ve made pastrami from pre-packaged corned beef before but never from scratch until now. Essentially corned beef and pastrami are closely related. Difference is pastrami has a rub on it and is smoked. Corned beef is just boiled. Both are good but I prefer pastrami. Making it from pre-packaged corned beef is easy. You soaked it in water in the refrigerator over night. Change the water a couple times to get rid of excess salt. Put a rub on it and smoke. Done. Turns out great. Although turns out great I thought I’d make it from square one for the challenge of it. Brine it for 8 days, soak in water to remove excess salt, rub it and smoke it.

It looks decent but I was disappointed by the results. The meat was not too tender, a little salty even tho I soaked it, and honestly tasted like corned beef not pastrami. Yes corned beef and pastrami taste different.

I smoked it in the propane smoker. Too lazy to mess with charcoal today. I’m an ace at making smoked brisket so I would have figured I could have smoked this tender like I do brisket.

I’ll steam a section of it like they do at deli’s such as Langer’s in Los Angeles. Delis like Langer’s don’t make their own but buy it from a manufacturer and steam it to about 203 F internal temperature which makes it tender then they cut and serve in a sandwich. I will see if the steam method does any good.

It’s a long process doing this so next time I’ll do the corned beef to pastrami method because it turned out great every time and taste great.

I’ll go back to my normal smoked brisket because I hit a home run every time.

2

Soaking in fresh water to attempt to take out excess salt after brining 8 days.

3

My choice of wood chips. Of these I used each but more of Cherry and Pecan than others you see.

5

In the propane smoker. Added some ribs for good measure.

6

After foiled and hitting 203 F internal temp. Oh, foiled it at 165 F.

7

Had good bark. Maybe it’s just my imagination but it’s a darker shade of red, almost purple, than it should be. Pretty good bark. Looks better than it is.

8

Didn’t take a pic of the final ribs smoked but here it is in the beginning ready to smoke. Turned out very good. Used the 3 2 1 rib method. Toothpick in one to keep track of which is which. I used two different rubs. One rub I bought and one I made. Toothpick is the rub I made.

9

Tried it again and yes it taste like corned beef, which isn't horrible but not what I was shooting for. Above when I said corned beef doesn't have rub, I take it back, it comes with some spices I think but I can't recall if you just throw it in the water or rub it on but if you rub it on I'm sure it will just wash off in the boiling water. Actually, I used to eat at Langer's in LA when I worked in Downtown and I am not sure if it was there or another deli but I thought the pastrami did taste like corned beef.

10

I have to say, it does look great! That smoker looks the business.

11

If you're near a rural area where it grows, try to find some sassafras root for your smoker. It'll give you a hint of root beer flavor.

12

Still looks great Polecats! Do you have a slicer or are you cutting it with a knife?

I have almost the identical Smoke Hollow smoker! Overall, I've had really good luck with it. One trick I'm sure you're familiar with is to use white vinegar to clean the glass while it's hot/warm. Really cleans it up. Cheers!

13

Did you make your own spice mix? I can send you one that’s got a ton of stuff in it but well worth it. I used to make my own pastrami in-house at a restaurant I was at in 2014. To cook it, instead of doing it in water like corned beef, we’d steam it for a really long time; much more gentle and a lower risk of overcooking. The trick to braising any meat is finding the perfect time. To little time and it’s tough, too much time and it’s tough. Once you find that sweet spot, never remove the meat from whatever you cooked it in, it’s important to let it rest and cool all the way in it’s own liquid.

14

And the brining is first, then removed from the brine and dry rub is added heavily to sit overnight in the fridge unwrapped, you’re basically curing it again

15

Thanks guys for the compliments!

Tsar Nicholas - Thanks buddy!

wabash slim - I do like root beer, so I would like to try that. I don't live in a rural area but I could probably get my hands on it some how.

Metman - I actually have a slicer. I plan on slicing it on the slicer but also do some knife slicing too. Thanks for the suggestion of cleaning the glass with vinegar when it is still hot. I actually didn't know about that. I will give that a try.

Chmason85 - I actually did make my own rub. I based it on the rub by Malcolm Reed who has a smoking meet channel on YouTube. I also incorporated some ideas for the brine from Guga channel on YouTube. Thanks for the offer on the rub. Later I will PM you my address. Thanks!

17

I used to go here when I worked in downtown LA. This is not really in DTLA but about two or three hours outside near MacArthur Park. I would walk there and eat there. It took longer than an hour for this so I took two hours when I went there and no one cared at work.

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Thanks guys for the compliments!

Tsar Nicholas - Thanks buddy!

wabash slim - I do like root beer, so I would like to try that. I don't live in a rural area but I could probably get my hands on it some how.

Metman - I actually have a slicer. I plan on slicing it on the slicer but also do some knife slicing too. Thanks for the suggestion of cleaning the glass with vinegar when it is still hot. I actually didn't know about that. I will give that a try.

Chmason85 - I actually did make my own rub. I based it on the rub by Malcolm Reed who has a smoking meet channel on YouTube. I also incorporated some ideas for the brine from Guga channel on YouTube. Thanks for the offer on the rub. Later I will PM you my address. Thanks!

– ThePolecats

This is making me so hungry right now!! My friend is coming over today and we may have to shift our lunch plans over to this killer Jewish deli near our neighborhood!

19

I've made my own hams before, it takes a couple of months to cure the pork before smoking. I had a source for the pork thighs, a pig farmer in the area. I would make them six at a time. I use a half and half mix of kosher salt and brown sugar to pack on the meat, wrap them in cheese cloth and place in a spare refrigerator (set to about 38°F) on the racks with a drip pan underneath. I'd unwrap and reapply the salt/sugar mix and wrap in fresh cheese cloth once a week for eight weeks, then scrape and rinse it all off and rub the hams with honey and rewrap them for another two weeks. Then I cold smoked them with hickory for 24 hours. My hams were amazing, they were a real treat. I gave away four hams, out of the six, to my family every time I made them.

I made ham every year for about ten years, then I got divorced, sold the property and moved into town, so didn't have the facility to make them anymore. Making ham was a lot of work, but it was a labor (and expense) of love. I was living out in the county, surrounded by vast areas of desert and I could run my smoker without disturbing anyone. Cold smoking produces a lot smoke, for an extended period. I have fond memories of those days, I was out of the city, and I always had a few laying hens and raised turkeys for Thanksgiving every year. Good times, dirt bikes, hunting, and target shooting abounded right on my own property!

20

That looks awesome and I’m itching to try it next time I bbq.

My Big Easy SRG tends to run about 220F, is that ok for smoking something like this?

21

Wade, thanks for sharing. I have never made ham before. That sounds like a good challenge. I should consider doing that.

22

That looks awesome and I’m itching to try it next time I bbq.

My Big Easy SRG tends to run about 220F, is that ok for smoking something like this?

– Deke Martin

Thanks Deke. I may try it again but further down the line. Post a new discussion on how yours turns out when you do it.

Those Big Easy SRG are nice and 220 is a great temp for low and slow.

23

Wade, thanks for sharing. I have never made ham before. That sounds like a good challenge. I should consider doing that.

– ThePolecats

Polecats, your can give it a try, by buying a pork 'Picknic' (shoulder) roast, and making just a single ham. That's how I started, and that was the pork roast I started with. I did several of those before I stepped up to the larger quantities, and using the actual 'ham' (thigh) or Butt of pork. They are a little bit hard to find, the vast majority of them are destined to be made into commercial hams. I knew a pig farmer, who was willing to set a few ham and butt cuts aside for me, whenever they slaughtered for their extended family use. I can't recall ever seeing either of these cuts fresh in the mainstream chain grocery stores. I think they have them in the Mexican oriented food stores. They seem to have a lot more variety of pork cuts and parts (ears, tails snouts, and whole heads), so if you have any 'Marcado's' near you, that may be a place to buy (or order) one.

24

A quick search yielded the following results :

"Corned beef is made from brisket, which comes from the lower chest of the cow; pastrami is either made from a cut called the deckle, a lean, wide, firm shoulder cut, or the navel, a smaller and juicier section right below the ribs".

Polecats, I think that you might want to use a different cut for your pastrami, and it may end up more tender. Some commercial companies are getting away with using the cheaper brisket for their pastrami, because they add a tenderizing enzyme to the brine. Also, the pickling spices in the brine are slightly different for each of them. There are recipes on the web for both.

NOTE : to make brisket pastrami more tender, try adding a package of Lowery's Beef Marinade with Tenderizer to the spiced brine. Slicing pastrami very thin, and against the grain, is also advantageous for tenderness.


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