Sunday, January 09, 2011

Corned step closer to pastrami!

Last month I made corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots...a favorite comfort meal of ours.
Today I smoked some corned beef...the first step in making pastrami out of it. First, I rubbed all sides of the corned beef with a mixture of ground juniper berries, black peppercorns, garlic powder, and salt...then wrapped in plastic wrap and tossed in fridge for 28 hours. I rigged up my own "stove-top smoker". Those are hickory chips. I put a large piece of foil over the above chips and platform..poked holes in it then put the beef down on top. Then I wrapped it all tightly with more foil...turned up the burner! I let it smoke for about 30 minutes.
After smoking it...I added a bit of water (discarded the chips, etc) and let it cook at 240 degrees for 4 hours...covered.
I then tried to cut it thinly and then put it back in that lovely, smokey au jus. I needed a real meat slicer. It was okay...but not really good pastrami. I might try it again one day...from a beef brisket....but that means curing it for 13 DAYS before smoking it. Whew!! Now I know why Jewish Deli's are dying! Some of those East Coast deli's pile a pound of pastrami between two pieces of rye. Pastrami-making is NOT for sissy's. We did have a sandwich with stone ground mustard on Jewish Rye....I didn't hate it!

That little bit of "pastrami" took me 2.5 days to make and it cost me (not including my labor) about $16.00. Don't gripe the next time you pay over 10 bucks for a deli pastrami sandwich!


Eileen said...

WEll, that was a good try. It looked good. You'll have to try the cold smoking method and see if that gives you a more "pastrami" taste..Have fun with your experiment

TaraDharma said...

valiant effort, Mel. It does look good soaking in that juice!

Ya know, if more people tried making great food, or growing organic crops, they'd hush their mouths when it came to paying "high" prices for foodstuffs. We generally have very little idea about the effort that goes into producing our food. We are used to spending a very small portion of our income on what we nourish our bodies with.