Mainly Because of the Meat – Homemade Pastrami

Brined before smokingThe other day I was listening to CBC Radio and the topic of discussion was the great delicatessens of North America.  There was talk of Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, the historic delis of New York City, and the decline of the number of delis and the expertise and dedication needed to run them. 

At that point I decided I should gain some of that expertise myself.  I consulted my Charcuterie book, then stopped in at the Cowichan Valley Meat Market and picked up a 5+ pound piece of trimmed brisket. I was determined to make a nice piece of pastrami. Later that evening I created a brine and stuck the brisket in it for 4 days.  At noon today I pulled it out of the brine, rinsed it, dried it, and rubbed with some toasted black pepper, coriander and cumin.  On to my Traeger smoker it went…for six hours. 

I was looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, but after 6 hours I had only made it to 130. I think it had something to do with the fact that the temperature outside was hovering around the freezing mark, so I pulled it off the smoker, wrapped it in foil and finished it in my convection oven at 300F with my never-fail meat probe watching the internal temperature for me.

DSC_1286 Here's the brisket as it came out of the oven.  You are then supposed to steam the pastrami for another few hours to make it nice and tender, but we couldn't wait. 

DSC_1291 I sliced it as thinly as I could while Ramona got out the rye bread, mustard, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese.  Time for Reuben sandwiches!

DSC_1296 Here's most of our dinner…Reuben sandwich with rye and flax bread from True Grain Organic Bakery, my own dill pickles and frites made in the T-Fal Acti-Fryer I'm testing out right now.  More about that later, but everything was yummy.  Now, what to do with 5 more pounds of pastrami???

Oh, and I'd love to make my own sauerkraut as well…

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3 Responses to Mainly Because of the Meat – Homemade Pastrami

  1. Cynthia says:

    OK, so the next time that you make five pounds of pastrami, I’m coming over! 😉 My goodness, but it looked really great!

  2. That looks really delicious. It is a lot of meat though, so I’ll either use smaller pieces of meat, or reserve this for special occasions when there is a gathering of lots of people.

    That acti-fry looks interesting too. A whole kilogram of chips with only 1 spoon of oil. Definitely takes the fat out of deep frying. Can you do crumbed fish in this device?

  3. Bigbearpits says:

    I have never hear of cooked pastrami on a smoker, what was in the brine solution?

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