Pastrami is a cured smoked beef that was created by the Slavic Jews. It is related to pastrama, a highly seasoned smoked pork that is popular in Romania. The beef version of the product became very popular in the Jewish delicatessens in Europe and was brought to the USA by the Jewish immigrants. The “corn” in “corned beef” refers to the “corns” or grains of coarse salts used to cure it. The slab of beef is typically cured in a heavy, salty brine solution. After beef is removed from brine it is drained and a combination of cracked black pepper and whole coriander is rubbed into it.

Beef brisket1 kg2.2 lb
  1. Curing solution: 35 degrees SAL (10 Baume), 101 g salt per 1 liter of water Salt, 90 g (5 Tbsp) Cure #1, 18 g (1 Tbsp) Sugar, 10 g (2 tsp) Water, 1 liter
  2. Spice mixture: Black pepper, cracked, 10 g (1 Tbsp) Coriander seeds, whole or cracked, 10 g (1 Tbsp) Garlic, 3.5 g (1 clove)
  3. Mix brine ingredients in warm water, then cool the brine in refrigerator.
  4. Pumping meat. Pump brisket with 10% curing solution (brisket should weigh 110% of its original weight). Add the remaining brine to cover the meat and cure for 2 days (3-4 days for 2-3 kg meat). OR
  5. No pumping meat. Cover brisket with brine and cure for 4 days. Use about 4 days per 1 kg of meat.
  6. Remove brisket from brine, wash, drain and wipe dry.
  7. Coat the brisket with spice mixture. Be generous with your rub, it should be applied in a thick coating.
  8. Hang in a preheated to 130° F (54° C) smokehouse (no smoke applied). With dampers fully open, hold at this temperature for about one hour, until meat surface is dry.
  9. Re-adjust dampers to 1/4 open and apply light smoke for 2 hours. Raise temperature to 200 - 220° F (93 - 104° C). Cook until an internal temperature of 165°F (74° C) is reached.
  10. Hang at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Serve or refrigerate.
  11. Pastrami may be dry cured. For 1 kg (2.20 lb.) beef use: Salt, 35 g, 2 Tbsp. Cure #1, 5 g (1 tsp). This comes to 312 ppm of sodium nitrite. The USDA allows 625 ppm for dry curing meat. Sodium nitrite dissipates rapidly, after curing, smoking and cooking not much is left. Note: there is 4.69 g salt in Cure #1
  12. Spice mixture: Cracked black pepper, 3 tsp Coriander seeds, 3 tsp. Brown sugar, 2 tsp. Garlic, 1 clove, finely minced
  13. Mix salt, cure, and spice mixture together and rub it into the meat. Massage it well and cover the meat’s surface evenly.
  14. Place meat in a Ziplock plastic bag.
  15. Hold in a refrigerator for 5 days, turning the package daily.
  16. Remove meat from the package, rinse with cold water, drain, pat dry with paper towel.
  17. Make another spice mixture and coat the brisket with it. Be generous with your rub, it should be applied in a thick coating.
  18. Smoking/cooking - follow steps 8, 9, and 10.

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