You know the Smoked Pastrami you get from the deli, the kind that makes sandwiches a mile high and covered with mustard. Well, you can make the same great smoked pastrami at home, and it’s actually pretty simple to do!
The process to make pastrami is quite lengthy if you are starting from scratch. The curing of the meat can take between 4-7 days, usually. Fortunately, there is a great shortcut that works like a charm!
There are some really famous delis around that serve great smoked meat, Katz in New York City, Schwartz’s in Montreal, to name a couple. The likelihood of a good deli that is close to you is pretty high if you live in any good size city in North America.
But the fun of making your own smoked pastrami at home is really exciting. Although I get excited about food all the time!
All you have to do is go to the store and pick up a package of raw corned beef. The meat is already curded and spiced saving you all sorts of time, like 4-7 days!!
A word of Caution
I would like to provide you with a couple of words of caution. You will want to find a corned beef with a nice fat cap. If you don’t, you may find it to be very dry after smoking, even after wrapping it in foil for half the time.
Secondly, make sure that the corned beef brine is not too salty. I had one corned beef that was prepared by a local butcher and it was literally too salty to eat. Ask your butcher or at the meat counter about this. After spending six hours in the smoker you don’t want to be disappointed! I think sticking with a name brand that you know will work best for you.
If you really want to be sure of your corned beef, you can prepare your own. I think that will be a post for another time for us here at BBQing With The Nolands.
HELPFUL ITEMS FOR THIS RECIPE
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Is pastrami just smoked corned beef?
OK, so the short answer is no, pastrami is not just smoked corn beef. Although they are very similar, the pastrami you get at a deli is likely a different, but a very similar cut of beef.
The difference is that pastrami is cut from the beef plate or navel, whereas corned beef is usually cut from the brisket. Although they are located in the same area of the cow, the beef brisket is less dense and not as fatty. But they are both spiced and brined in a similar manner, and the results for the home cook are really pretty close!
How to make homemade pastrami
As I mentioned, starting out with prepared corned beef saves you literally days of preparation. I found about a 2 pound sized corned beef at my local grocery store that was just perfect for this recipe. You do need to make up a spice rub for the corned beef and apply it so that the meat is fully covered before it goes into the smoker.
- Packaged corned beef
- Coriander seeds
- Mustard seeds
- Brown sugar
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
Remove the corned beef from the package, rinse it thoroughly with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Discard any seasoning packages that may have come with your corned beef.
In a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle, grind the peppercorns, coriander, and mustard seeds until there are only a few large pieces. Pour this into a small bowl and add the brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and mix well. Coat the entire corned beef with the spice mixture.
Let the spiced corned beef marinade in the rub on the counter for 30 minutes or so while you preheat your smoker. I use hickory wood chips to smoke my corned beef, but you can play around with woods as well. I would recommend you stay away from the really strong flavored woods like mesquite. Fruit woods like apple or cherry would work well too.
Place the meat directly on the grates and smoke for about 3 hours. You want the internal temperature of the meat to be about 165 degrees F.
You definitely want to have a good temperature probe when smoking; I use the Chef Alarm from ThermoWorks. (This post contains affiliate links. As a ThermoWorks Affiliate, I earn a small portion from qualifying purchases at no extra charge to you.)
I find it to be an invaluable tool when smoking. Remember, you always smoke to temperature, not to a specific time!
Remove the corned beef from the smoker once it reaches 165 degrees F. Wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil and return it to the smoker. Continue to smoke it until the internal temperature reaches about 195 – 200 degrees F. about another 2-3 hours.
As with most meats that you cook you need to let it rest. You should allow your smoked corn beef to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
You are going to want to have your pastrami sliced thin for your sandwiches. I have found the best bread for your pastrami sandwich is a slice of good rye bread. Check with your local bakery or specialty store as it can sometimes be difficult to find!
For my sandwich, I stay pretty much basic, just a really good amount of mustard on the bread, and that’s it, other than a pickle on the side! Others in our house like to add mayo, but that is the great thing about making you own pastrami; you can serve it up any way you like!
Pin it HERE!!
Pin it HERE!!
- 2-3 pound packaged corned beef
- 1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
- 2 tsp whole coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds
- 1 Tbsp light brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Take the corned beef out of the packaging and rinse it under cold water, discard any seasoning packets included with the corned beef.
- Pat dry with paper towels, set aside.
- In a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle, combine the whole peppercorns, whole coriander seeds, and the whole mustard seeds.
- Grind until most of it is ground with a few larger pieces remaining.
- Pour this mixture into a small bowl, mix together with the brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- Coat the corned beef completely in the spice mixture. Note: The spice mixture is enough for about 2 corned beef pieces of this size. Save any remaining spice mix for later in an airtight container.
- After rubbing the corned beef allow it to rest and marinate on the counter for 30 minutes while the smoker preheats.
- Preheat the smoker to 225°F. Place the corned beef directly on the grates and smoke for about 3 hours using hickory wood chips, until the internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees F.
- Remove the pastrami from the smoker and wrap it in foil. Place it back into the smoker and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 195 - 200 degrees F. This may take an additional 2 to 3 hours.
- Remove the meat from the smoker. Leaving it wrapped in the foil, allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Thinly slice the meat against the grain to serve.
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LessMo Kitchen Tongs, Pack of 2 (16” and 12”), Premium Stainless Steel Cooking Tongs with Non-Slip Beech Wood Grip - Resistant+Non-Slip- Grip, Handy Utensil for Serving, Barbecue, Buffet, Salad, Ice
Mueller Austria HyperGrind Precision Electric Spice/Coffee Grinder Mill with Large Grinding Capacity and HD Motor also for Spices, Herbs, Nuts, Grains, White
Pyrex Glass Mixing Bowl Set (3-Piece Set, Nesting, Microwave and Dishwasher Safe)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 586Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 222mgSodium: 2209mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 42g
Recipe calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is estimation only. If you need nutritional calculations for medical reasons, please use a source that you trust.