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dmprantz 02-06-2013 01:58 PM

Freezing Home Cured Pastrami
I'd ask about corned beef briskets, but Pastrami is smoked, and thus on topic :wink:.

Does any one have experience freezing uncooked, home-cured, wet-cured meats? I'm particularly intersted in the following:

If you freeze it before it's cured, will it still cure and take on pickling flavours frozen?

If you freeze it after it's cured, should you leave it in the curing brine, or switch to water? Will the brine make it get too salty? Will water degrade the flavour? Is there a specificing point in time where it should be frozen, like 10 days in?

Does time come into play for any of the above?

Every March I tell myself I should take advantage of St. Patrick's Day, cure up a bunch of brisket, and freeze it for use throughout the year. I always ask myself the above questions, tell myself to research it, and then forget until the next year. With Restaurant Depot open in the area, I may actually try my hand at beef plate now too. Ruhlman only mentions freezing bacon after it has been dry cured. Any one have a copy of Kutas?


HankB 02-06-2013 07:55 PM

Apologies... I can't answer any of your questions but have a couple of my own.

When you buy brisket around St. Patrick's Day, are you getting them already cured or curing your own. (I would think that corned beef is what would be on sale then.) Or do you start with corned beef and cure it further before you smoke it?

I thought that pastrami was simply store bought corned beef that was smoked but now I'm wondering if that's correct.

Free bump anyway. ;)

Crazy Harry 02-06-2013 08:49 PM

freezing stops the curing process. below 36* curing slows down. after your brisket is cured (corned) you have corned beef, take it out of the brine, vacuusuck it and freeze it. you still need to soak it in fresh water after it is thawed to remove some of the salt before you smoke it for pastrami. you can also freeze it after you smoke it but better yet send it to me.:biggrin1:

dmprantz 02-06-2013 10:15 PM

Before St. Patty's day, I find raw brisket to be more available and relatively affordable at places like Sam's Club, and I like to buy it and cure my own. After St. Patty's day, on March 18, I used to like to head to grocery stores and buy the leftovers really cheap. Last year when I did that, they were still full price, they said that they weren't going to clear them out, and all the packs I saw had a Sell By in June.

Pastrami is an interesting thing. Going back hundreds of years, it's something that has been made out of pork, mutton, and goose. Really, whatever is cheap. Modern day Jewish/American Pastrami (150-ish years of tradition) is always beef, usually plate (fajita/skirt steak), but some times brisket. It really is the beef equivalent of bacon when done right. Anyway, it is not really a "corned beef" that has been smoked. While they are both cured, they are often different cuts of meat, different seasonings in the cure, pastrami traditionally has a seasoned coting, and a different cooking process, where pastrami is both slow smoked and then steamed. Do a lot of people take store bought corned beef, smoked it, and call it pastrami? Yes. Is that "all pastrami is?" No.


dmprantz 02-06-2013 10:18 PM

Thanks. I was thinking of freezing it in liquid, in which case the question was should that liquid be curing brine or strait water. I was panning that because store bought corned beefs are always sold with liquid. Are you suggesting that I don't do that? I know that vacuume sealing cuts down on freezer burn, but freezing it in water does so even more. Open to input either way.


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