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This is not your pork! 10-05-2012 12:58 PM

Pastrami from Start to Finish: Missing Details
 
I have been reading about pastrami production all week, and although there is quite some info available, it's hard to settle on a procedure. The most appealing one comes from Mr.BBQ and outlines as follows:
  • Brine brisket for 2-3 days
  • Dry meat, apply rub and let marinade/cure in the fridge for another 4-10 days
  • Smoke for 4-8 hours till IT 175F
  • Steam for 2-4 hours before serving
Other procedures work with way longer brining for up to 4 weeks, but that's quite a long waiting time. I am not so sure about dry curing, brining just seems to make more sense.

So I already have the following for my first try in pastrami production:

Nice and not too large brisket with 7.19 lbs
http://i1063.photobucket.com/albums/...t_7_19_lbs.jpg

The only curing salt I could find, which is a mixture of several ingredients, destined for curing and reddening
http://i1063.photobucket.com/albums/...ng_mixture.jpg

This curing mixture contains in unspecified quantities:
  • Table Salt (iodized)
  • Sugar
  • Monosodium Glutamate (flavor enhancer)
  • Coriander
  • Caraway
  • Pepper
  • Sodium Nitrate (preserving agent)
  • Sodium Ascorbate (antioxidant agent)
  • Juniper Berries
  • Garlic
  • Allspice
The instructions on the curing mixture tell the following:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Poekel Fix Wuerzmittel

Wet Curing

Rub meat well with curing mixture and put in container. After 3 days boil off water, let cool down and put in container to cover meat completely. Keep room temperature between ~ 46F and 50F. Let cure for about 2 - 3 weeks depending on meat size.
Dry Curing
Rub meat well with curing mixture and put in container. Room temperature should be max. 59F. Let cure for about 1 - 2 weeks depending on meat size.

The shown bag contains 4.41 lbs of that curing mixture, and it is supposed to be good for 132.28 lbs of meat, so for my brisket with 7.19 lbs I am supposed to use 108.67 grams ~ 3.83 oz. of the curing mixture.

I am a little confused right now due to the different proceedings, which supposedly all should lead to a similar result.

Does brining for just 2-3 days + marinading/curing in rub for 4-10 days sound reasonable?

What about the brine? How much water? Does 2 quarts of water boiled with addition of 100 grams of that curing mixture sound reasonable?

The rub will not contain that curing mixture, but the following ingredients:
  • 4 tbsp Sal Marina Natural
  • 4 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 3 tbsp coriander
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
I think I will start with brining tomorrow, so if you have any thoughts on this, please tell.

landarc 10-05-2012 01:06 PM

Go for it. The original corning process was a packing and pressing process, in which layers of salt corns were mixed in with beef pieces in a barrel. Over time a brine developed, which cured the meat. The salt was just a grade of salt, the size of which was about 1/4" in diameter. It made a good size for curing meats for long boat voyages. The modern brining process was developed as it is faster. There are many ways.

This is not your pork! 10-05-2012 01:51 PM

I guess it just can't go wrong.

One other thing that came to mind: If only brining for 2-3 days, do I just rinse it afterwards, or did it take in enough salt to require soaking?

landarc 10-05-2012 02:03 PM

I soak for 24 hours, 3 water changes

Redheart 10-05-2012 03:35 PM

Please re-read the directions on the Poekel gewertz. It is not designed to be dissolved in a brine. It says to rub the meat and then place it in a container of water.

This process allows the sodium nitrate to penetrate the meat in proper concentrations to ensure 'preserving'. This also accounts for shorter cure time allowing the sodium nitrate to go into solution along with the other salts and penetrate the cells.

I only mention this because when you are dealing with sodium nitrates you are dealing with a chemical that can produce health problems, immediate and long term, if not dosed out properly.

Personally when I make a corned beef or a pastrami I prefer the dry cure. The additional aging the meat gets during this time, IMHO, provides a more tender end product.

This is not your pork! 10-06-2012 03:57 AM

Ok, I'll try the dry curing as suggested by the directions, preparations will start soon. I am still not sure where to put the meat in for curing, because the directions talk about a bucket or "Surrschaff" with the intention of curing a lot of meat at once, so the meat has to be arranged tightly into such a bucket or "Surrschaff".

With just 7.19 lbs I am first going to separate flat and point, and due to the lack of a Ziplock I either will have to choose cooking pot or my enamel coated casserole with lid.

The instructions for that curing mixture do not mention any turn-over, so just rub with mixture and put in container for 1-2 weeks. It will be intersting how this is going to turn out. We have a wine fridge with a temp of about 53°F that should be suited for storing the curing meat, I really don't want to block our normal fridge for 2 weeks.

Big George's BBQ 10-06-2012 06:56 AM

For brining I have dotten food safe buckets from the grocery bakery- origionally contained frosting. I believe the fridge temp should be below 40 degrees

Redheart 10-06-2012 07:25 AM

When dry curing I wrap my meats tightly in plastik film, place in a tray and keep in the refrigerator.

This is not your pork! 10-06-2012 08:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Redheart (Post 2236099)
When dry curing I wrap my meats tightly in plastik film, place in a tray and keep in the refrigerator.

Good hint, I have extra wide plastic film available, so I'll do this then. The instructions for dry curing only mention a max. temp but no min. temp, so I guess I'll put it in the normal fridge after all (which is at 35.6F).

tortaboy 10-06-2012 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by This is not your pork! (Post 2236054)
Ok, I'll try the dry curing as suggested by the directions, preparations will start soon. I am still not sure where to put the meat in for curing, because the directions talk about a bucket or "Surrschaff" with the intention of curing a lot of meat at once, so the meat has to be arranged tightly into such a bucket or "Surrschaff".

With just 7.19 lbs I am first going to separate flat and point, and due to the lack of a Ziplock I either will have to choose cooking pot or my enamel coated casserole with lid.

The instructions for that curing mixture do not mention any turn-over, so just rub with mixture and put in container for 1-2 weeks. It will be intersting how this is going to turn out. We have a wine fridge with a temp of about 53F that should be suited for storing the curing meat, I really don't want to block our normal fridge for 2 weeks.


I have a few of those hard plastic gray tubs/lids that restaurants use to clear plates from tables. About 24" x 12" x 4" deep or so. These work great and easily fit on the top shelf of my fridge. You can buy them online, or in any restaurant supply store.

martyleach 10-06-2012 01:02 PM

I have found that on thicker chunks of meat, i.e. over about an inch and a half thick, the dry cure doesn't penetrate completely. So, the last time I did a 18lb brisket, I injected a "Pumping Pickle" mixture consisting of the recommended amout of Morton's TQ. I then gave it a dry rub of the TQ mix and put it in a tight ziploc for a week in the Fridge, turning every day.
I then soaked it for 2 days, changing the water twice a day.

landarc 10-06-2012 02:59 PM

If you press the meat when it is curing, the cure penetrates better.

This is not your pork! 10-07-2012 02:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by landarc (Post 2236297)
If you press the meat when it is curing, the cure penetrates better.

Do you mean like massaging once daily or putting a weight on top?

Phrasty 10-07-2012 02:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by This is not your pork! (Post 2236113)
Good hint, I have extra wide plastic film available, so I'll do this then. The instructions for dry curing only mention a max. temp but no min. temp, so I guess I'll put it in the normal fridge after all (which is at 35.6F).

Ideal curing is between 36˚- 40˚ (but basically anything under 40˚*and above freezing.)

I did a pastrami post a while back

Looking forward to seeing yours.
Cheers

Redheart 10-21-2012 09:53 AM

How is that pastrami looking? Better yet how is it tasting?


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