Home-cured Pastrami

Maybe my all time favorite meat is pastrami. There’s something about the flavor of the beef, the strong seasoned crust, and the smokiness. What I find interesting is that it’s not well known to most, nor is it the superstar in sandwich meat category that I think it should be but I think I am partial to cured meats. So when I came across a home cured pastrami in The Gefilte Manifesto I got excited. VERY excited. 

So you may remember that back in December I bought an entire brisket and portioned it out. First, using the center piece was used to make my first brisket. I then used the thin end to make my home-cured corned beef. Then I used the larger end to make my pastrami.

To start let me just say that buying a full brisket might have been a little optimistic. Not knowing how to break it down left me with results on all three projects that were less than desirable. I will say even though I didn’t break it down and trim it up correctly I still ended up with beef that tasted amazing! After realizing how much trimming I should have done before hand, I looked online and found this video that showed hot to trim up a brisket.

Another thing of note on the Home-Cured Pastrami recipe in The Gefilte Manifesto was the topic of smoking the meat in your oven. This was given as an alternative incase you didn’t have access to a smoker. This excited me since I don’t own a smoker. However, while going through the steps I was left confused as to whether or not I was getting the desired outcome. The technique started with Making a giant foil packed in a roasting plan. Then put the wood chips in the bottom of the packet with the rack over the wood chips. Then place the meat on the rack and close up the packet. They then instruct you to put the pan on the stove and heat it up over medium-high heat just until you smell the smokiness about 5 minutes. They also tell you that you can peak into the packet if you’re not sure, which I did. Sure enough it was nice and smokey! I closed it back up and transferred it to the oven that had been heated to 225ºF. It roasted/smoked/steamed for 2 hours. They then instruct you to check the meat and the temperature. I opened the packet only to get lots of steam and no smoke. Even the rub was looking a bit soggy. I reheated the pan on the stove and sure enough got smoke. Then I put it in the oven again for the last 2 ½ -4 hours and checked it until the meat registered 155ºF.

So my question is this: Should it have been smokey the whole time? Should it have been drying out the beef rather than steaming it? Was it because my beef was too fatty? I wish the book talked more about these things or had pictures to help clarify what you needed to be looking for as visual queues.

I then pulled the beef out, let it rest and cool, then placed in the fridge uncovered over night as instructed. I sliced off a tiny piece on the end the next day and although it was super tasty it just didn’t quite hit the pastrami note I was hoping for. Don’t get me wrong… we still ate it all it was just different than I was hoping for.

If you’re interested in trying this delicious recipe I would highly recommend getting a copy of The Gefilte Manifesto. The book is chalk full of recipes that are perfect and delicious. You won’t regret it.

Recipe I have done and loved from The Gefilte Manifesto. Clockwise starting at the top left:


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