New York Deli style Pastrami 2 Pack Cure Mix and Seasoning
Pastrami is a cured, smoked beef brisket or flat as it is known. It enjoys huge popularity in the states and growing popularity over here in Europe. Pastrami is cured with seasonings and hot smoked with more seasonings. The main flavours associated with pastrami are pepper, coriander, garlic and paprika. We have formulated this recipe for pastrami using a 2.3Kg brisket which is a manageable size. If you cannot find a brisket that size then you will need to adjust your recipe accordingly.
To make Pastrami you will need a 2.3kg cut of beef brisket
To cure the brisket you will need
20g Sugar (optional)
1 Pastrami Cure Mix (comeplete with salt)
Sealable plastic bag zip lock bag or similar. A vacuum sealer bag is fine.
To season the brisket before hot smoking you will need;
1 Pastrami Seasoning
- Trim the excess fat skin and sinew from your brisket and pat dry with paper towel. With the brisket on a chopping board use a small knife to pierce both the upper and lower surfaces of the meat at about one inch 25mm intervals. This will allow the cure to do it’s thing evenly through the whole brisket.
- Place the Brisket in a non-metallic dish.
- Mix together the Pastrami Cure with the sugar (optional), spread the cure evenly over both sides of the brisket rubbing it into the surface of the meat thoroughly.
- Transfer the brisket into a sealed vacuum bag or other sealable bag. When doing this try to remove as much air as possible from the bag and ensure that the bag doesn’t leak during the curing stage. If there is a chance the bag may leak then ensure you place the bag on a tray or shallow dish to catch any liquid that may be produced during the curing process.
- Allow the brisket to cure in the fridge for seven days turning over daily.
- After the curing stage is complete, remove the brisket from the fridge and discard the bag.
- Rinse the brisket under cold running water to remove all traces of the cure.
- Soak in sufficient cold water to submerge the brisket for one hour, drain and pat dry with kitchen towel.
- Lay the brisket in a non-metallic tray. Apply the seasoning mix to the brisket in the ratio of one third of it on the bottom and sides with the remaining two thirds on the top surface. The point of this is to give the brisket a herb and spice crust as it cooks through.
The next stage of the process is the most important part in terms of achieving the right texture. It is really important not to cook the brisket at high temperature otherwise it will become tough and dry. Low and slow is the key here, low temperatures and a long cooking time will ensure you get the right texture. Brisket can be a little tough if it is not cooked for long enough or if it’s cooked at too high a temperature. The curing process starts to break this toughness down by dissolving much of the connective tissue and this continues with the cooking and smoking process too providing the temperature is maintained at the correct level.
Hot Smoke Method –
- Aim to hot smoke your brisket for around five hours at 115°C aiming for an internal temperature of 72°C. The internal temperature can be checked using a food probe.
- Smoke with oak or a fruit wood like Cherry or Apple to impart a wonderfully aromatic smokey flavour and colour to your pastrami.
The Cold Smoke Method –
- If you haven’t got a hot smoker you can cook your brisket in the oven before smoking it. Be careful here as even gas mark 1 (140°C) is a little too hot. Some electric ovens allow temperatures as low as 50°C so you will need a little experimentation to get this part exactly right.
- You will be aiming for an internal temperature of 72°C in the thickest part of the brisket. To achieve this internal temperature you will need to aim for an oven temperature slightly higher than your target internal temperature as there will be a lag in temperature rise for the internal part of the meat. This may sound obvious but it’s worth mentioning because in order to achieve the internal temperature and prevent over cooking the brisket it is absolutely necessary to take your time cooking this slab of meat so the outside temperature doesn’t exceed 115°C.
- It takes a long time for the inside of the meat to reach the desired temperature so the cooking time will be the same as that for the hot smoke method.
- Once the brisket has cooled it can be placed in a cold smoker for between two to four hours (depending on your preferred taste).
To serve, For best results slice your Pastrami thinly across the grain.