Make Delicious Pastrami With a Simple Recipe

About 25 years ago I was introduced to pastrami, which is a close cousin of the corned beef, I loved it even better.

Over the years, I have gotten very good at making the corned beef from scratch.  However this was my first attempt to make pastrami.  I used chef John Mitzewich’s recipe from his YouTube video.  I cheated a bit by using a corned beef brisket rather than making it from scratch.  I actually used a corned beef brisket, they sell almost all the time at Costco.  If you get the corned beef brisket from Costco, do NOT use the spices which come with it.

Step 1: Prepare Corned Beef Brisket from scratch (optional)

Skip this step if you already got corned beef brisket.  So, what exactly is a corned beef brisket?  The process of corning is basically to soak the meat in brine (salt water) for a few days.  In every recipe there is one secret ingredient which makes all the difference.  In case of pastrami and corned beef, it is the pink salt, which gives the final product a nice pinkish/reddish texture.  It is hard to find it at the grocery stores.  I found it on Amazon.  Look for Premium Authentic Pink Himalayan Salt Imported From Pakistan.

Use this recipe for a 5 lbs brisket.

  1.      One gallon water
  2.      Two cups Kosher salt
  3.      Five teaspoons pink salt
  4.      1/2 cup brown sugar

Bring the water to a boil with all the ingredients above.  Once cooled, put the brisket in a pan soaked in this brine for at least five days.  Make sure to keep it in a cool place or refrigerator.
The end product is a corned beef brisket.

Step 2: Prepare the Meat

Remove excess fat. Pastrami, unlike the corned beef has little fat.

Step 3: Get the Following Spices

 1 tbsp of red pepper
2 tbsp of black pepper
Pepper flakes to your taste
2 tbsp of coriander powder.  Indian grocery stores carry it for a great price.

Step 4: Rub the Spices on the Meat

Prepare a large lightly oiled aluminum foil.  Put the brisket on it.  Sprinkle the spices one by one on the brisket on both sides and rub them thoroughly.  Use the black pepper as the last spice to create that nice blank black peppery edge.

Step 5: Wrap the Brisket in Aluminum Foil (Six Layers)

Wrap the meat in aluminum foil, six times (yes, no kidding.)  We want the juices to be locked in.

Step 6: Cook the Meat in the Oven

Put the foiled meat in the oven at 250 degrees for five hours to cook.  After five hours let the meat sit for another day for it to cool down and soak up the juices.  This is very important.  Leave the foil wrappings intact.

Step 7: Carve and Eat

Open the foil, carve the meat into slices to your liking.  Most people eat pastrami sandwiches with spicy mustard on the rye bread.  You can use whatever you want to eat it with.  I prefer to warm it a bit and eat it just like that with a glass of wine or beer.

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