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Unread 11-04-2012, 10:55 AM   #1
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Angry 23rd Q: This is NOT Pastrami! [w/ pr0n]

Lessons learned this time:
  • For applying the curing salt do NOT follow the instructions of the manufacturer! It was way too little curing salt, so the brisket did in fact not turn into Pastrami at all. At least the ingredients prevented the beef from spoiling during it's 12 days sitting in the fridge wrapped tightly in plastic foil.
  • If you take the beef to IT 175F on the smoker, steaming a sliced portion for 30 minutes is NOT enough to further break down the connective tissue! It had way more bite than we had wished for. For the second meal we had it steaming for more than 2 hours, then it was nice and tender.
But see for yourself:

A rather small breast core of young Austrian bull with just 7.19 lbs



It had a nice looking flat, but a really tiny point



Rubbed in curing salt according to the instructions of the manufacturer and wrapped tightly in plastic foil for dry curing



And here we are 12 days later



It did NOT get that nice reddish throughout, the curing salt only penetrated the top layer and partly not at all, resulting in grayish spots



Firing up minion style with some buried apple wood



Beef on



The tiny point was ready after 3 hours 11 minutes







The point went into the cooler for resting, and on it went for the flat. Here is an overview of the cooking area.



Flat ready after 6 hours 4 minutes





Tiny point after resting



Flat after resting



Closeup of the sliced point





Closeup of the sliced flat



And on it went to getting steamed



It can't be denied, that the flat is just looking beautiful



So here we are after steaming for 30 minutes



Steamed beef closeup



Our Essence of Q Sauce



And the resulting sandwich



All in all it was a huge disappointment! Not Pastrami like at all, but a 12 days dry cured brisket, which does not come any close to the better briskets I have produced so far.

Pastrami production will have to be revisited after some time passing by, but then I will use the curing salt at my own discretion.
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Unread 11-04-2012, 12:46 PM   #2
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What exactly was disappointing? Was it too tough? Too salty?
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Unread 11-04-2012, 12:59 PM   #3
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I usually smoke to 170 then rest a day and then steam to 190. One thing I don't get did you steam it after you sliced it? Looks that way from the pics? Also what did you use for a rub? I only do S&P and coriander.
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Unread 11-04-2012, 01:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose View Post
What exactly was disappointing? Was it too tough? Too salty?
With only steaming for 30 minutes it was too tough, and I didn't really like the flavor profile, coming from a typical pastrami rub recipe. Steaming for hours it was very nice and tender, but kind of bland, as if the flavor from the rub was washed away by the steam. It definitely was not too salty, especially after using way too little curing salt. All in all it was not really the typical brisket, and not anywhere near what you would expect from a pastrami.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidder View Post
I usually smoke to 170 then rest a day and then steam to 190. One thing I don't get did you steam it after you sliced it? Looks that way from the pics? Also what did you use for a rub? I only do S&P and coriander.
Yes, I did steam it already sliced up, after I read about someone having succeeded this way, and I have no clue about the temp it reached during steaming.

After dry curing I washed off the curing salt as good as possible, and then I applied the following mixture:
  • 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 never used coriander or mustard seeds in a rub before, and I can't really tell I liked it on brisket.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the preparation thread leading up to this cook.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 07:58 AM   #5
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Of course everyone has their own best tastes. I seriously question the rub recipe you used. The amount of paprika and coriander in particular are WAY more than any recipe I have read. Also the use of curatives is not necessary for pastrami and will definitely change the flavor and texture of the finished product.
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Unread 11-05-2012, 08:03 AM   #6
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Looks great!
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Unread 11-05-2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captndan View Post
Of course everyone has their own best tastes. I seriously question the rub recipe you used. The amount of paprika and coriander in particular are WAY more than any recipe I have read. Also the use of curatives is not necessary for pastrami and will definitely change the flavor and texture of the finished product.
Yes, the rub definitely was the major problem besides the curing gone wrong. It was inspired by MrBBQ.ca and looked interesting in the pre-cooking phase, although in the end the coriander was not available as seeds but only as powder, and I could not get the mustard seeds powdered using a mortar. Any better fitting pastrami rub recipe at hand?
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Originally Posted by Phubar View Post
Looks great!
It looked so good, and nevertheless was rather bad. My wife refuses to eat the remaining part of the flat, which I want to try to steam in one piece with temp control. Also I don't like the flavor profile I don't want the dog to have it all...
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Unread 11-05-2012, 03:08 PM   #8
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i never did ythis so i don,t know for sue but i think you are supposed to brine a pastrami.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 02:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
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i never did ythis so i don,t know for sue but i think you are supposed to brine a pastrami.
You can definitely dry or wet cure it for sure, both ways are reported to lead to success, so dry curing instead of brining was not the problem here, but the amount of curing salt used according to the manufacturer's instructions, which was way too little.
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Unread 11-06-2012, 10:30 AM   #10
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check out thirdeyes blog He has a great tutorial
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Unread 11-07-2012, 02:06 AM   #11
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The remaining piece of that farked up pastrami is steaming right now:



Temp went up pretty fast, I was expecting it to be in the steamer for a few hours till lunch, but it's already at 199F and we are about 3 hours away from lunch.

Is it possible to over-steam?

I wanted it to reach IT 203F, but we are way ahead now. Since steam can not get any hotter than 212F I guess it will do no harm if I just let it steam for another 3 hours without considering IT, right or wrong?
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Unread 11-07-2012, 05:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by This is not your pork! View Post
"... in the end the coriander was not available as seeds but only as powder... "
You could try looking somewhere like here:
https://foursquare.com/v/indian-mark...7682ed230729fe

I use a lot of coriander seed making biltong and I can pick it up in 2kg bags at the Indian supermarkets in London. I also get other spices in much larger quantities than in british supermarkets (so cheaper as well) as well as things like garlic powder etc that are not normally stocked in European supermarkets. Check them out to see if they have cracked black pepper in a larger grade than you currently use.

Use a mortar & pestle or spice grinder to crush the coriander for pastrami etc. - you can roast the seeds first yourself as well.
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Unread 11-07-2012, 09:43 AM   #13
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I usually buy spices at a local wholesale supermarket, they are stocked pretty well.

Well, the remaining piece of fake pastrami has been steamed till lunchtime. It reached an IT of 208°F and was super tender afterwards, I ate it in wraps with our Essence of Q sauce, my wife had it over salad.







It was better this way, but I still didn't like its flavor profile. At least it's gone now, we ate it all for lunch.
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Unread 11-07-2012, 12:40 PM   #14
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A couple of suggestions -
If you're using pink salt (prague #1, insta cure #1 etc) 1 level tsp per 5 lbs of meat should be plenty of cure for dry curing a flat. You do need salt (sugar helps too) to carry the nitrite into the meat, if you didn't have much salt that could be your problem.

As for smoking/getting it tender, Smoke it for color more than smoking it for temp. With that said, I generally smoke mine at cooler temps (180 - 225F) until the color is where I want it, It will prolly be on the rare side.
Then foil it and steam it in the foil for several hours (like 4+) or use a pressure cooker at 15 PSI for about 45-60 min (still foiled).
I've never tried it, but I imagine you could also use a large covered turkey roaster with water in the bottom (use a rack inside to keep the foiled meat off the bottom of the pan) and cook it in the oven if your steamer isn't large enough to hold a whole flat...
If you cook it for longer in the smoker (higher IT) it seems to me that the final product is a bit dryer

Allow the meat to cool in the foil before opening or cutting, this will retain the moisture and collagen in the meat and foil so that it will hold together once cool and still be moist.

Another thing to try is buying a corned beef brisket and experimenting with that, once you have that down, then go back to curing your own. If you buy a corned brisket, I prefer getting the leanest point you can, way better flavor than a flat!
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Unread 11-07-2012, 12:46 PM   #15
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When I have done a pastrami with dry cure, which is normally my preference, I use a lot more cure than you did. I prefer a heavy coating, no meat visible. I do NOT add more cure, just more salt and spices. I follow the instructions, I use Morton's Tenderquik and it has not failed me. I do press the meat if it is more than 2 inches thick.
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