Last weekend, I picked up a nice section of corned beef flat so I could take my second stab at Pastrami.
My first attempt, done about 5 years ago, was a complete unmitigated train wreck. I won't go into all the Gore-y details,(
) but I was still a young Noobian at the time and just didn't think things through, despite trying Thirdeye's excellent tutorial, so not reading through everything carefully, among other things, made for a culinary disaster. We wound up eating hot dogs that night the end result was so utterly inedible.
So after perusing numerous pastrami approaches, I decided on something I felt would produce the results I was hoping for. I would have more pics for you, but didn't document everything blow by blow as the lighting in our new place just isn't that conducive for good photos. I remedied that in the final sammie photo with good results using white butcher paper as my surface, along with a 40 watt light kit that helped compensate for the poor indoor lighting.
So let's get started.
First, I took the 3 lb uncooked store bought corned beef brisket flat, and put it in water in a large cooking pot in the fridge, covered it, and changed the water 4 times over the course of 24 hours to help pull out as much sodium as possible. We pulled the meat from the water, patted it dry, and let it come to room temp for a bit. Then a rub was generously applied to the meat that consisted of LOTS of fresh ground black pepper, coriander, smoked paprika, mustard, onion, and garlic powders.
I then fired up the UDS, and when it got to 275, added three chunks of pecan for smoke, and put the meat on, fat side up. Here my UDS, chugging away:
About an hour into the cook:
Three hours later:
As with any brisket cut, you need to gauge doneness by "feel", not temp, although when you get close to 180 degrees internal, that's when you want to monitor things more closely. When my probe thermo slid in like butter in all quadrants, I knew the meat was done. Total cook time was about 5 1/2 hours.
I took the meat off to cool for a few hours, then put in the fridge.
It was at this point I was kind of unsure where to go in terms of meat prep, so I consulted The Missus. While a number of approaches suggested steaming the meat in hunks prior to slicing by hand she strongly recommended we slice the meat first, then steam.
I wasn't fully onboard with this at first, but as usual, her food science background convinced me this might be a good way to go, so I agreed. She also suggested bringing out the meat slicer we bought a while back, so we could get nice thin slices of pastrami, just like they do in delis.
So here's the meat after we took it out of the fridge, fully cooled:
Coming out of the slicer:
All meat fully sliced, and ready to be steamed:
The Missus McGyvered a steamer by using two halves of a large roasting pan, separated by a pizza screen, which we placed the meat slices on:
We steamed the meat for about 20 mins, and when we lifted the cover, the slices of pastrami were juicy, tender, and delicious.
At this point, our mouths were watering, so we began on sandwich construction, which was accompanied by fresh pickle spears, and potato chips. Generous amounts of French's yellow mustard was applied to my sammich as I ate it, and I have to say, I enjoyed each and every bite, beyond description!
It feels really good to vindicate past failures!
And a BIG thanks to The Missus, whose wise post cook advice helped yield the best pastrami sammies we've ever tasted!