Corned Beef to Pastrami

This was the second time making corned beef and the first time smoking it to make pastrami. The corned beef was made with part of a brisket point. The pastrami rub even included juniper berries. It turned out great with Mary raving about her Ruben sandwich.

1/28/2017 – Put the thin end of the point from the brisket trimmed this past weekend into Foamheart’s seasoning for 1/2 gallon but again used the Cure Calculator’s cure plus sugar plus salt for only one quart as that is a 2:1 meat to water ratio and fits within a 1-gallon zip lock.

Meat – 2.76 lbs = 1,254 gms
1 Qt water = 946 gms – Did not weigh the water. Used a measuring pitcher.
Total = 2,200 gms

Calculator says:
Cure #1 Needed…5.49 grams. Added about 6.5
Salt Needed… 38.85 grams.
Sugar Needed… 22 grams.  Added about 28 as too much fell into common glass cup
Total 2266.34 grams

For 1 quart water
1 qt.water = 946 gm
Sugar — Added per Calculator
Canning Salt  — Added per Calculator
#1 Cure — See above
1.5T Granulated garlic rounded
~1/6t Ground Cloves
1.5 Bay Leaf pieces
1/2t rounded Coriander seeds
1/2t rounded Brown Mustard Seeds
1t Thyme
1-1/2T cracked black pepper

Put coriander, brown mustard and crack black pepper into CI skillet and warmed until popping. Turned off gas and added thyme and bay leaves to skillet.

Cure-marinaded, rinsed and ready for rub

After a few minutes dumped the contents into the filtered tap water that had the cure-salt-sugar. Stirred well then dumped into the zip lock with the meat. Put into SS deep bowl and into refer for 14 days.

Cure was to be complete in 14 days or 3/14/17. But, did not remove from cure ziplock until 3/24/2017 as had too much other meat to eat.

3/24/2017, 2 pm – For the pastrami phase used as a guide and comparison to others recipes the instructions at With that advice used Chef JJ’s Pastrami Rub listed below. Click here for his post at SMF.

Ready for the smoker

2T Black Peppercorns
1T Coriander Seed
1T Dry Minced Onion
1T Dry Minced Garlic
1tsp Allspice Berries
1tsp Mustard Seed
1tsp Dry Thyme Leaves
3 Bay Leaves, crumbled
1tsp Juniper Berries

All Spices were whole and toasted in a dry cast iron skillet over Medium heat until fragrant. Cooled then ground in coffee/spice grinder until slightly less than Coarse. Added the Garlic and Onion once it had cooled some. Then added the herbs. The amount of rub the recipe made was plenty without being wasteful for this 2-3/4 lb piece of meat. It would have also been enough for a 3.5-4 lb piece.

3/25/2017, 12:30 PM – The MES was preheated with setting at 240 and the AMAZEN tray is loaded for the first time with Lumberjack Pecan Pellets that arrived this week. Ambient temp is in the 70s and the humidity is 44% as a “cold” front blew threw last night. The grate temp on the third grate from the top is in the 220s and rising. Put the meat in and the temp came back and continued to rise up to 260. Reset MES to keep it at a target of 225 per Chef JJ.

Ready to eat

1:30 – Grate temp is still high at 245. Lowered MES set point to 210.

2:15 – Added 8 chicken thighs to the 2nd grate from the top. Grate temp fell to 185 and began climbing back up.

7:35 – Been in a stall for a long time. Still with IT at 153. So moved it to the convection oven set at 275.

8:35 – Hard to believe it happened so quickly but by now the IT had risen to 195 so pulled it to a cooling grate.

3/26/2017 – Sliced it across the grain about 1/8″ thick and made Ruben Pastrami sandwiches. Tender but not falling apart. Mine was with my homemade sauerkraut and Mary’s was with cole slaw we had just made. Both on rye bread with our homemade Russian dressing. Mary raved all day about what a great sandwich.

Conclusion – The cure process seemed to work well as the redness is consistent. After all the seasonings for the pastrami rub I am not sure if the marinade/cure seasonings made any difference. Next time try a dry cure to reduce the space in the refer and likely to reduce the smoke time as the long smoke was due to drying out the meat in the already damp-running MES. The first time using the pecan pellets was a very nice experience.

This amount of meat was sliced on three occasions for a Rueben for each of us. Made with about 3 1/8″ thick slices.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email