Yield: Makes about 5 lb. of pastrami
Making pastrami at home takes time—a little over a week, in fact—but very little effort. The long brine and slow smoking infuse the beef with flavor and keep it tender. This recipe makes a lot, and while you can certainly use a smaller piece of brisket, why not make enough to share with friends and family? The unsliced brisket will keep for at least 10 days, too.
Make Ahead Tips
If not using right away, wrap the unsliced pastrami in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 10 days. (You can also freeze sliced pastrami for up to 2 months.)
A whole brisket has two parts, the flat and the point (also called the deckle). The flat is the meatier part.
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Have made this pastrami recipe a few times now. It's easy and produces excellent results. One caution though - once you make your own pastrami, you'll never want to eat the store bought variety. I have smoke and cooked my pastrami using my Traeger but I've also cooked low and slow in the oven. Both were excellent.
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I have made this twice now, and am back on this recipe page in preparation for hosting a get-together with 25+ men. This pastrami was a real hit the times I’ve made it. While I understand not wanting to consume nitrates, I cannot believe that you will end up with a real deli taste without the curing salt. I use the curing salts! My only caution to those reading this is to allow a full week for curing. The second time I made this I did not plan ahead adequately, and had the brisket in the brine for only 5 days. When all was completed, the very center of the meat was still brown instead of the loveley pink. Still tasted great, but the visual appeal was off.
Made this recipe when I first saw it in Fine Cooking. Absolutely great!! My only real problem was how to make room in our already pretty full refrigerator for a week to brine a whole brisket(flat and point). Partially solved this by brining it in a large plastic bag rather than a rigid container. This way it could conform to the shape of a medium refrigerator drawer. Kept thinking "What is the result after the brining?". Answer is corned beef. So Saturday I thawed a packaged corn beef left from last St Patrick's Day. Seasoned it and smoked it on a Weber Kettle. It was raining out and maybe that accounts for why it took 8-9 hours to reach 170 rather than 4-6. Worked very well so it's a good short cut.
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