I can't say I have ever taken Pastrami with no particular finish method (foil, pressure or steaming) to a super tender state, as the corning has had an effect on the meat.... tightening it somewhat. Generally the thickness of the slices regulates tenderness (and of course grain direction). On many of the store bought flats I wind up starting my slicing from a corner to best take advantage of the grain..... and again, on these non-finished ones, my slicer is set pretty thin, not shaved meat like you can get at the deli.... but pretty thin. I make a slice and test it, then adjust as needed. My current favorite finish is a pressure finish, but I did the foil finish for years. I want to play around with steaming them too.
For a corned beef dinner I cook my cabbage and potatoes separately for a couple of reasons. When cooked with the corned beef, potatoes can soak up too much salt and it's hard for me to control the doneness of the cabbage. I will take a few cups of the pot likker, and put it in a fat separator.... then I use that as a flavor adder when cooking a separate pot of cabbage. I boil my potatoes until mostly done before letting them finish in the pot with the corned beef.
KCBS - CBJ
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