If you’re looking to make your own pastrami, using a brine might be something you’re just not ready to do yet. You can easily make smoked pastrami using a corned beef packer, and definitely is worth doing at least once in your life!
This smoked pastrami recipe, pretty much took me a weekend to do. In case you’re uninitiated, pastrami, is usually cooked from the leaner, or “flat” portion of a brisket. Which is also where corned beef comes from. I believe you can get corned beef “point” (or the fattier side” of the brisket”) packers, so just make sure see the work “flat” or lean on your corned beef packer.
When you get your corned beef packer, take the brisket from the pack, and let it soak in the fridge in a bucket of water overnight (8 hours minimum). This will allow the corned beef to desalinate, which you’ll want becuase it will be wayyy to salty to eat as pastrami, if you throw it on the smoker as is.
This saves for a few days but ultimately, you’ll definitely want to experiment with brining on your own!
So I smoked my pastrami with a 50/50 blend of cherry wood and pecan wood. This is all preference and totally up to you. You’ll want to smoke at around 225 until you hit the “stall” or 160. At this point you’re going to wrap loosely in aluminum foil (to preserve your bark) then you have a decision to make.
You can put it back on the smoker at around 325, for a couple hours until it hits an internal temp of 205, probing for little resistance. Keep in mind it will have a little more resistance than a brisket would, due to the brine.
Or you can go the “Katz” route. Let it rest in the fridge overnight, then steam it for about 2 hours before its time to serve. This is what I did and bought a tamale steamer to get the job done. You’ll see that you’ll get some Au Jus, which You’ll want to put the pastrami back into after you slice. It’s delicious!!
You’ll want to stick around because shortly I’ll be sharing a little pastrami reuben sandwich I put together.