Recipe by Ron_L
I've done pastrami from home-cured corned beef and from store bought corned beef. It is better if you cure your own, but very good from the store bought corned beef, too.
If you want to corn your won brisket, here's a good brine...
4 quarts water
2 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
12 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
3 tablespoons pickling spices
4 teaspoons thyme
8 bay leaves
1 teaspoon saltpeter (optional)
The beef brisket should remain in the brine stored in a cold, dark place for anywhere from seven days to three weeks. You do need to regularly check on the meat and turn it to prevent spoilage. Adding salt peter or Tenderquick (see below) will give the meat the characteristic pink color. You can still corn the beef without it if you don't want to use it.
When I corned my first brisket, I used Morton’s Tenderquick instead of salt peter. I followed the directions on the Tenderquick package to determine the amount. Also, I thought the corned beef was a little sweet, so I would reduce the amount of brown sugar next time.
Once you have the corned beef, then you can make pastrami. If you are using a store bought corned beef I recommend soaking it in fresh water for at least a day to remove some of the salt. For my last batch I soaked the corned beef in fresh water for two days, changing the water twice a day. in also tossed in a couple of cut up potatoes to help absorb the salt. Either way, rinse the corned beef again in cold water and dry it thoroughly (I let mine dry overnight in the fridge). Then give it a nice rub down with the rub below (If you can't find juniper berries, just leave them out. I didn't notice the difference).
Pastrami Rub for Beef:
5 tablespoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon white peppercorns
1 Tablespoon Juniper Berries
8 cloves garlic, minced
When grinding the rub ingredients you don’t want to pulverize it but more so want a very coarse feel—similar to cracked black pepper.
I let the meat sit with the rub overnight and then re-rubbed it in the morning. Then I smoked it till it reached an internal temp. of 165. Being fully brined there is no need to foil or get your brisket up to 190 internal. Also, there is no need to place into a cooler for residual “carry over cooking”. One done you can either slice it right away, or cool it and then slice.
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