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Unread 02-09-2011, 09:02 AM   #1
ramrod25
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Default Pastrami Question

Went down to our local Walmart to get a corned beef brisket last night - sorry - we don't carry those anymore. Tried the other grocery store in town (small town) and they didn't have one either. HUM

So - I have a question. If you buy a corned beef brisket - and then soak it to get out all of the salt - do you really end up with just a regular flat brisket??

In other words, can I take a brisket flat and season it for pastrami - and end up with pastrami??? Or is there something special about starting with the corned beef brisket?

Thanks for the help.

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Unread 02-09-2011, 09:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramrod25 View Post
So - I have a question. If you buy a corned beef brisket - and then soak it to get out all of the salt - do you really end up with just a regular flat brisket??
Nope. It is still corned. The water bath just pulls some of the salt out of it so it doesn't taste like a salt lick after you smoke it.

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Originally Posted by ramrod25 View Post
In other words, can I take a brisket flat and season it for pastrami - and end up with pastrami??? Or is there something special about starting with the corned beef brisket?
Again, Nope. If you take a regular brisket, season it and smoke it you have regular smoked brisket Pastrami is basically smoked corned beef. You can buy a regular brisket and cure it (the corning process) yourself to get corned beef and then smoke it. I've done that a few times and it come out great, but the corning process takes a couple of weeks depending on the size of the brisket.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 09:08 AM   #3
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The process of "corning" a beef brisket is more than just seasoning a brisket with seasoning. It take several days of a wet cure/brine to give it the flavor of corned beef.

The soaking you are going to give your store bought corned beef will only remove salt. The flavors imparted with the wet/cure/brine will not be leached away.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 09:11 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramrod25 View Post
Went down to our local Walmart to get a corned beef brisket last night - sorry - we don't carry those anymore. Tried the other grocery store in town (small town) and they didn't have one either. HUM
If you have a Sam's nearby, they should be carrying them this time of year.

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Originally Posted by ramrod25 View Post
So - I have a question. If you buy a corned beef brisket - and then soak it to get out all of the salt - do you really end up with just a regular flat brisket??
No. The curing agent is in the meat already and has converted the myoglobin to nitorsomyoglobin. When cooked, the meat will turn pink. It will never be a regular brisket again.

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Originally Posted by ramrod25 View Post
In other words, can I take a brisket flat and season it for pastrami - and end up with pastrami??? Or is there something special about starting with the corned beef brisket?
No, you need to brine it first or it won't taste the same, and it certainly won't look the same. There are seasonings added to the brine that flavor the meat, it is not just pure salt and/or curing agent. You would be missing this added flavor by using a regular brisket.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 09:12 AM   #5
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Why not get a corn beef and do a pastrami from that
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Unread 02-09-2011, 09:16 AM   #6
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Buy some TenderQuick and go to the Virtual Weber Bullet for a recipe for making your own corned beef. There's another good recipe out there too, but I forget where it is. You can always skip the TQ, but I don't think it's as good. If you want real pastrami, you should use a beef plate, but good luck finding one. Brisket point is pretty close.

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Unread 02-09-2011, 10:50 AM   #7
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I've done the dry rub method from the virtual weber bullet and it comes out great, the hardest part for me was trying to find tender quick locally, so I bought it online at Allied Kenco.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 10:56 AM   #8
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I've done both dry and wet cured pastrami from flats, points and beef rounds. There is no doubt this can make for some great pastrami. But...

...you can get some great results from a good quality store bought, already cured corned beef. There are some really great brands and there are some not so great brands.

The key in either process, store bought or home cured, and that's to make sure you get the salt leached out of the meat. I soak mine for several hours, rotating the water every 30 minutes. I even toss in cut potato or two during the process, because that helps remove the salt.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 10:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will work for bbq View Post
I've done the dry rub method from the virtual weber bullet and it comes out great, the hardest part for me was trying to find tender quick locally, so I bought it online at Allied Kenco.
All the tender quick does in this process is give it the nice red/pink color we love in pastrami. In many countries it's not used and if you order pastrami it's sort of a grey color...
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Unread 02-09-2011, 11:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big George's BBQ View Post
Why not get a corn beef and do a pastrami from that
He said that he couldn't find one locally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmprantz View Post
Buy some TenderQuick and go to the Virtual Weber Bullet for a recipe for making your own corned beef. There's another good recipe out there too, but I forget where it is. You can always skip the TQ, but I don't think it's as good. If you want real pastrami, you should use a beef plate, but good luck finding one. Brisket point is pretty close.

dmp
No need to go all the way to another site :) there is plenty of info on corned beef and pastrami right here on the Good Ol' BBQ brethren

Here is the recipe that I use...

Brine for Corned Beef

Saltpeter, or potassium nitrate is a food preservative. It will give the meat a pink coloring and reduce the chances of spoilage. If you are careful with your food handling and don't need the pink coloring you do not need to add the saltpeter.

INGREDIENTS:
4 quarts water
2 cup brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
12 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
3 tablespoons pickling spices
4 teaspoons thyme
8 bay leaves
1 teaspoon saltpeter (optional)

The beef brisket should remain in the brine stored in a cold, dark place for anywhere from seven days to three weeks. You do need to regularly check on the meat and turn it to prevent spoilage.

When I corned my first brisket, I used Morton’s Tenderquick instead of salt peter. I followed the directions on the Tenderquick package to determine the amount. Also, I thought the corned beef was a little sweet, so I would reduce the amount of brown sugar next time.


Pastrami Rub for Beef:

5 tablespoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon white peppercorns
1 Tablespoon Juniper Berries
8 cloves garlic, minced

When grinding the rub ingredients you don’t want to pulverize it but more so want a very coarse feel—similar to cracked black pepper.
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Unread 02-09-2011, 11:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Grail View Post
All the tender quick does in this process is give it the nice red/pink color we love in pastrami. In many countries it's not used and if you order pastrami it's sort of a grey color...
I disagree with this. Nitrogen based curing agents do imbue a pink colour, but they also cure the meat which has sanitary and textural effects. While you certainly can cure meat with just NaCl, I don't think it is as good as nitrite/nitrate cured meats. I am not aware of any country which has commercially produced "Pastrami" that is not cured with nitrogen. Corned beef is a little bit different because it means different things in different countries.

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Unread 02-09-2011, 11:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmprantz View Post
I disagree with this. Nitrogen based curing agents do imbue a pink colour, but they also cure the meat which has sanitary and textural effects. While you certainly can cure meat with just NaCl, I don't think it is as good as nitrite/nitrate cured meats. I am not aware of any country which has commercially produced "Pastrami" that is not cured with nitrogen. Corned beef is a little bit different because it means different things in different countries.

dmp
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Unread 02-10-2011, 07:21 AM   #13
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This is the best place in the world to talk BBQ.

Thanks for all the responses to my simple question.

Really appreciate it. A Sam's is 90 miles away - but may
have to make a trip over shortly.

Again - thanks for all the information.

Regards
Rodney
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