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 Post subject: Pastrami
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:12 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am
Posts: 95
Location: Long Island, NY
New to the board so don't know if I'm going to get any love for this but... since the question was asked I'm continuing my pastrami process.

Have two briskets that have been corning for about 12 days. Tomorrow they get pulled, de-salted and rubbed.

Here's a shot of one I did a couple of months ago.

Image



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 Post subject: Re: Pastrami
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:31 am 
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 1:52 am
Posts: 354
Location: Philly
FedEx me some dude. Nice



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 Post subject: Re: Pastrami
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:48 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am
Posts: 95
Location: Long Island, NY
FedEx me some dude. Nice


Don't laugh. I'm sending one of them to Milwaukee. I'd trade you for a hoagie if there's a way to keep the bread from getting soggy.....



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 Post subject: Re: Pastrami
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 3:42 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:24 pm
Posts: 122
Bestcop, have you had Hershel's pastrami in Reading Terminal Market? Really great stuff, hand sliced and everything. A good hold-over until Robstreperous sends you some of his delicious looking product...


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 Post subject: Re: Pastrami
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 6:21 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:03 am
Posts: 156
Great! Pastrami is my favourite meat on bread.

However... it is not sold in shops here anywhere. There is one Italian restaurant (my favourite :-) ) where I can get it. I can get the basic meat from a butcher, but I don't know what the seasoning is and how to further process it.

Can you tell me how you make pastrami?


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 Post subject: Re: Pastrami
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am
Posts: 95
Location: Long Island, NY
Sure. Labor of love. Been working on mine for 7 or 8 years now and I'm only just getting there. Simple answer: you rub and smoke a corned brisket (corned beef). But.... there's more to it than that.

Here's the best write up I know of. It's on Amazingribs.com and by following the links the author takes you all the way from picking and dressing the meat through to putting it on the table. I use it as my base and haven't had any leftovers yet. http://amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/close_to_katzs_home_made_pastrami.html

Equipment:

Knives Since this is a blades forum I won't even pretend to describe the type of knives to use to dress a brisket down to a 1/8" fat cap. You guys will flame me until my keyboard fries. :lol:

Smoker. (There are some people who say they use charcoal grills but I've never tried). You're looking for something that will hold a temp around 225 to 250*F for at least 12 hours and maybe more. It's important it also be able to create smoke. IMHO this means charcoal and smokewood.

Also, I've read it's possible to smoke for only 4 hours or so and finish in the oven. I've never tried this.

Curing bucket. (For curing the brisket if you're doing a wet cure. There's a dry curing method too.) I have 2 first cuts curing right now. About 12lbs of meat dressed. They're taking just slightly over 3 gallons.

Space in your refrigerator. (You're going to cure for at least a week and then you're going to need to rest the meat after rubbing for at least 3 days. I've sometimes gone 3 months. I know it sounds weird to have uncooked meat around for so long. But remember curing was originally done as a preservation method.)

Prague powder. This is the curing agent. I use pink #1. I've only been able to find it on the web. There are non pink versions (Instacure I think) some people prefer since they don't contain red dye. I was happy to use them but a few of my relatives wanted their pastrami red. Go figure.

Spices You're going to make two preparations: First pickling spices to be used in a brine along with the curing agent. Second a finishing rub which is applied to the cured brisket - aka corned beef several days before smoking. Chief ingredients are corriander and black pepper. There are good recipes for both preparations in the Amazingribs link above.

Steaming table Before serving you're going to steam the meat up to between 200 and 205*F. I don't have a staming tray so I use an annodized roasting pan, a coated roasting rack and aluminum foil. The important thing here is you need something non reactive. The salt, water, heat, aluminum foil and say... steel can cause an electorstatic reaction between the metals you don't want.

With the equipment out of the way:

Method:

1. Make your brine. This will be salt, garlic, brown sugar and the prague powder. I could write up what I'm experimenting with but honestly I can't do it better than the author in this link http://amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/home_made_corned_beef.html

2. Dress your brisket. There's controversy here whether to leave on any fat cap. The trade off is tenderness and moisture from rendering the fat vs the potential of the cure failing to penetrate all of the meat.

I'm from the leave the fat cap on school. Anytime I'm smoking something for more than 4 hours I want the fat there to render. When I trim I shoot for 1/8" and if I'm to err I err on taking more off than less. It's true. If the cure fails to penetrate you're left with some fairly disgusting stuff but I've only had it happen to me once or twice when I was learning and I feel the finished products much better with the fat cap on.

3. After the brine cools put your dressed brisket in it. It needs at minimum of a week. Once I forgot I had it going and left one in for 2 months. Turned out fine.

3. Desalt. After curing take the brisket out. Rinse it. Soak it in as much water as will fit in your bucket for 8 hours. I do this twice. [Once this step is done by the way you have a corned beef ready for steaming if you want]

4 Take your finishing rub and rub both sides. Don't forget the sides of the brisket. It needs at least 3 days in my opinion. Once I went two weeks.

5. Smoke the meat. There are volumes written out there on the best way to smoke brisket and much blood has been spilled. :mrgreen: So I'm going to leave that aspect to the combatants although Meathead's write up in the link above is a pretty good guide.

The main things to know here are:

- low and slow 225*F to 250*F
- robust smoke wood and a lot of it.
- finishing temp of about 200 to 205*F.
- it will take you a really, really long time to reach target temp if you use the wet cure method and desalt properly.
- figure about 14 hours for a 4-5 lb flat. (I'm not kidding. Even if you foil midway through the cook).

6.Let the meat rest. 12 hours minimum. I usually try to go at least a day.

7. Steam it slice it serve it. Bring the meat up to 200 to 205 *F again in a steam bath. See note regarding non reactive pans and aluminum foil in equpment section above. Slice it and serve it. Classic advice is to go against the grain, which is what I do for sandwiches but I've had a lot of fun cubing it and using it all kinds of ways.

So there you have it. I'll post up some picks as I cycle through my present batch.



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 Post subject: Re: Pastrami
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am
Posts: 95
Location: Long Island, NY
Sorry. Really important omission in the post above. Critically important you include the pickling spices in the brine preparation. Step 1 under method. New to forum and not finding edit button.



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 Post subject: Re: Pastrami
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 6:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:41 pm
Posts: 19
Wonderful post, super links. The recipes that I have used never mentioned the in between soak and only brined for a few days. Can't wait to try out these guidelines. Thank you so much.
Last year,during a construction job in Fort Lauderdale, I got seriously hooked on a bi-weekly pastrami Rachel at a New York style deli. Someday, I will make pastrami that good.


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 Post subject: Re: Pastrami
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:43 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:03 am
Posts: 156
Thanks a lot Robstreperous! I'm gonna give it a try. Which spices do you use? Just pepper and coriander? Or other spices as well?

And where I live pastrami is usually eat with something sour, like sauerkraut. So does Katz (according to Amazingribs.com) apparently. Does anyone know how this tradition came to be? Pastrami is not really fat, so I'm wondering why.


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 Post subject: Re: Pastrami
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:21 am
Posts: 95
Location: Long Island, NY
Hi Mark.

Here's the basic list for the finishing rub:

4 tablespoons fresh coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar [I use dark]
1 tablespoon paprika [Currently using sweet Spanish. Did not like hot Hungarian}
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
Smokewood

I like to use fresh ground coriander seed instead of ground and bottled. For me it's an important taste in the finished product.
Your smokewood is also really important. I'm presently using 50/50 hickory and oak. I've also had good results using cherry/oak and 100% oak. But in the all oak case I use about 1/3 more wood.

Using the Amazing Ribs link as the base for the pickling spice I go heavy on celery seed, corriander and thyme. Under optional I like the star anise, didn't care for the cardamom, haven't tried mace and am on the fence regarding juniper.

You mentioned pastrami's not fat. It can be depending on what piece of meat is used. A brisket has a couple of parts to it. A first cut is leaner. There's also a point or deckel section that's very fatty. I generally cook flats since they're easier to find where I live but if I'm going all out I'll get a full brisket with both pieces (aka - packer it goes about 12 to 20 lbs) separate the two muscle groups then prep and cook them together.

There's also a belly cut (navel) I've had pastrami made from. Some people reallly like it. The two I've had were extremely fatty.

Katz's, and why do pastrami and sauerkraut go together? Who knows??... First off I will throw in a plug for Katz's. Anybody who loves pastrami should make the pilgrimage at least once. It's the benchmark. Been doing it for 130 years in the same place and it's among the last of the traditional New York Delicatessens. I get there about 4 times a year and whenever I'm leaving I'm usually thinking about when I can go back.

Not sure why sauerkraut and pastrami would be served together at Katz but here's an educated guess. Around the turn of the prior century that part of New York City was home to a large and concentrated population of mainly Jewish German and Eastern European immigrants. I think sauerkraut and pickled sour cabbage is traditionally from those parts of Europe so out on a limb that's my guess.

Doesn't look like I'm going to get around to pulling the ones I have curing now out of my brine this weekend but I'll take another shot at it next weekend. Will post up so you can see wha'ts going on.

So there you have it. Not sure how I got onto a knife forum and ended up writing about 3 pages on pastrami but enjoyed it. Please feel free to PM me with any questions and I'll do my best to help.

---Rob



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