Corned Beef to Pastrami – 3rd Cure

5/8/2017 – This was our 3rd corned beef and we began with a whole packer brisket at 14 lbs 7 oz and trimmed off all the fat. Trimmed weight was 8 lbs total. Added Cure No.1, salt and sugar per the Digging Dog Farm’s calculator and then Foamhart’s seasoning at 1T per pound to cure. Again used Chef JJ’s Pastrami rub and pecan smoke. 

Ran the calculator for each piece, measured out the amounts, put them into a shaker, and sprinkled each onto one side as there was very little to apply.

Mixed all the ingredients for the rub/seasoning from Foamhart as cited below x4 for the 8 lbs and sprinkled on slowly so it was evenly distributed. This recipe seemed to be about 2T and read that the seasoning to add is 1T per pound of meat. So, since I had 8 lbs that lead to 4 times this recipe.*

Too much seasoning

1.5 T Granulated garlic rounded
~1/6 t Ground Cloves
1.5 Bay Leaf pieces
1/2 t rounded Coriander seeds
1/2 t rounded Brown Mustard Seeds
1 t Thyme
1-1/2 T cracked black pepper.

Put the seasoned pieces into ZipLock Freezer bags and into the refer.

* Looking back at the 4X factor I realized I was wrong as it should have been 2X. That is why there is soooo much seasoning on the raw meat over the cure+salt+sugar. That may not be a bad thing.

4/11/2017 – Still concerned for coverage of cure so will add water with cure+salt+sugar per the Cure Calculator at the ratio of 4:1; i.e. 4 Meat+seasoning to 1 water. As there are 8 lbs of meat and water is 8.34 lbs per gallon I mixed up a quart (1/4 of 8.34) and the cure calculator says to add: Cure #1 – 2.36 grams; Salt – 16.71 grams; Sugar – 9.46 grams. Put into the freezer to cool. Weighed each bag of meat separately with seasoning in the zip lock bags and add about 1/4th that weight with the water mixture to each zip lock bag. Massaged and let continue to cure for at least another 12 days.

4/21/2017, 9 PM -Removed meat from the three ziplocks and let drain a bit. The grain of the meat has noticeably separated. Dried with paper towels. Lightly rubbed in a double batch of Chef JJ’s Pastrami Rub listed below as this is 8 lbs rather than 4 lbs. Click here for his post at SMF.

Patted dry after cure

2T Black Peppercorns
1T Coriander Seed
1T Dry Minced Onion – Had to use onion powder so only add 2t per batch
1T Dry Minced Garlic
1tsp Allspice Berries
1tsp Mustard Seed – Used brown
1tsp Dry Thyme Leaves
3 Bay Leaves, crumbled
1tsp Juniper Berries

Too much pastrami seasoning

All Spices other than the granulated garlic and onion powder were whole then cracked in the mortar and pestle and lightly toasted in a dry cast iron skillet until fragrant; ~ 10 minutes.

1/22/2017, 9:30 AM – Inserted meat into the preheated MES set to 225 that had coasted up to 252 and was at 245 when opened the door. Also inserted Amazn tray with two slots with pecan pellets.  Ambient temp is 275 and a beautiful spring day.

10:00 – MES temp is 225.

2:30 – MES temp is down to 180 and dropping. Found that connection to the heating element I repaired had corroded and fallen apart. Wrapped pieces in aluminum foil and put in over set at 225.

4:00 – IT has risen only to 180 so reset oven to 275.

5:00 – IT is 205-215 depending on the piece. Turned off oven.

5:20 – Removed to grate to cool and rest. Put into wine cooler to enjoy tomorrow.

Seasoning is black and falling off in charred bits

1/23/2017 – Sliced the thickest piece and the thinnest and made Pastrami Reubens with Kelley and the girls. The thinnest is dark red and the thickest piece is half gray. See the slice in the back right in the photo. The large piece in the photo is not the thick piece as I forgot to photo it. Perhaps during the cure, the thickest piece was turned and put back in the tray with the same side down too many times. Need to mark the sides to be sure a different one is up each time or notice the bag’s label and have the all up or all down each rotation.

The large piece in the photo is not the thickest piece as I forgot to photo it. Perhaps the thickest piece was turned and put back in the tray during the cure with the same side down too many times. Need to mark the sides to be sure a different one is up each time or notice the bag’s label and have the all up or all down each rotation.

The chunks are very gritty with seasoning and have an off taste to me although Mary and Kelley loved them. As the cure/marinade seasoning was maybe twice too much and there is a lot of pastrami seasoning I think it is over seasoned and the meat flavor is not dominant. As the double batch of rub had a lot of black pepper and the taste of the bark is often too spicy I think the pepper burned a bit and is the almost tart taste in the bark. As the rub had 4 tbs of dried garlic and onion it could be that the off smell and taste is the same as the smell of the dried powder. Next time use fresh garlic and fresh onion as would have been done many years ago.

4/30/2017 – Cut the large piece and found it to only was pink on one side. Apparently, the side where I first sprinkled the tiny pit of Cure. Tasted fine other than too much spices. Although I scraped off the loose spices and had a pile of black herb bits.

Next Time

  1. Do the cure from the beginning at 4:1 meat to water with the cure per the calculator.
  2. When turning the zip locks be sure a different side is up every time.
  3. For the marinade/cure put 1 tsp per pound of meat
  4. For the smoke only put enough so you can still easily see the meet. The pastrami rub above should be enough for 8 lbs.



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