Smoked Pastrami

by Kevin H. on March 14, 2013 · 8 comments

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

The recipe is a culmination of much research and my awesome cousins Dan and Tim.  Last year at Memphis in May, over a three-day period we cooked ribs, pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken, salmon, Memphis sausage & cheese, beef tenderloin, smoked brats…and much more.  But you know what the best thing we ate was, that we were all talking about for days?

This Pastrami.

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

Dan brined it for weeks in California, where he lived at the time, and actually packed it in ice in his suitcase and brought it to Memphis.  How dedicated is that?  Since then, Tim recreated at our family Christmas gathering, and it was so ridiculously good that 3 of these 10lb suckers were eaten and gone in about 30 minutes.

I needed no further motivation to try it myself.

I won’t bore you with all the details here, as many of them have been given this week with the Brine and Rub.  Pictured above you see the brisket soaking in water.  This process pulls some of that salty brine out of the meat.  I soaked it for about 5 hours, but it could have soaked a lot longer – even overnight if possible.

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

From there it’s as simple as patting the brisket dry and covering both sides in delicious rub.  Let it sit like that for at least 30 minutes so it adheres well to the meat before moving to smoker.

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

Then it’s all about the internal temp.  I used a blend of hickory and apple wood and smoked this big beauty for about 4 hours.  And yes, those are bacon wrapped potatoes you see.  That’s a fun and tasty little side dish treat for you…and why the heck not, you know?

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

After smoking, I wrapped in an aluminum pan and cooked until the internal temp hit about 200.  After letting it rest for 30 minutes I sliced it and was absolutely smiling from ear to ear when I saw that the process had worked and this beef brisket was now a pink colored pastrami.  Such a neat process.

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

So thank you to my cousins for inspiring me to make this delicious meat.  I will say, it’s a time consuming process to go through a 3 week brining period on top of spending a half day smoking it….but it’s one of my most favorite things I’ve ever done.  I’m telling you it’s delicious.  And the sandwiches we had the next several days were out of this world.  Plan it out and try at least once.  I think you’ll be surprised at how much you like it.

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

Smoked Pastrami

Smoked Pastrami

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Brine Pastrami as instructed for at least 2 weeks, if not 3 weeks.
  2. Soak in water overnight to draw out some of the salt.
  3. Pat dry and cover both sides with Pastrami Rub.
  4. Smoke at 225-250, using a mix of hickory & fruit wood, for at least 4 hours or until internal temp hits about 160.
  5. Place the brisket in an aluminum pan with a bit of liquid - apple juice, water, or whatever you want - and cook until the internal temp is around 200. Another good indicator is when your thermometer slides into the meat like butter.
  6. Let rest for at least 30 minutes, slice thin.
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Leave a Comment

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff March 17, 2014 at 11:29 am

Hi Kevin,
So it’s St Patrick’s Day and I have been holding off trying this for today. Just finished the four hour smoke and I wrapping it up to go back in right now. I also couldn’t help but try the bacon wrapped potatoes and bacon wrapped cabbage wedges. My mouth is watering already!!! My question is how do you usually time smoking your sides and main dish? Since the meat is only smoked the first four hours and the potatoes only take two I don’t know the best way to handle the time conflict? Do you pull the potatoes early and if so what’s the best way to keep them ready to eat for dinner?

Thanks for all your help,

Jeff

Reply

Kevin March 17, 2014 at 11:46 am

Hey Jeff – I usually try to time it so all the smoked stuff comes off at the same time, just so I can shut down my smoker. If that means I have to keep the potatoes warm, I just put them in a covered pan. And if they need to be warmed slightly then I just put them in the oven for a few minutes.
Good luck – I think it will be a hit!

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Denise Lynn March 12, 2014 at 1:11 am

oh and i meant to ask if you would leave the rub on overnight as well ~~??? i have a large offset smoker and always do this for my pork butts ~~chicken and ribs ~~Miss ~~belle ~~a~~Que

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Kevin March 16, 2014 at 8:48 am

Sure! I would definitely leave on for at least several hours. Overnight won’t hurt it either. Just soaks in those flavors more!

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Denise Lynn March 12, 2014 at 1:07 am

Kevin ~~love the way you did present this recipe in such a forthright manner ~~my gosh some of the recipes i have been looking at this week are simply daunting and shy one away from ever trying them~~:)~~i knew if i looked hard enough i would find one that did not scare me off and i am an experience smoke ~~question ~I have decided to use a medium – large chuck roast as i have one and have seen comments that both they and short ribs do make great pastrami so say if it runs maybe 5 pounds and not the 7 + you have listed here would you still use the brine and rub as listed or cut it back a quarter ???~~love your blog by the way ~~Miss ~~Belle ~~a~~Que

Reply

Kevin March 16, 2014 at 8:49 am

You could cut it back, Denise. If you don’t, you’ll probably just end up with a little extra rub – which isn’t a bad thing! Either way, you’ll have success.

Reply

Barrett January 22, 2014 at 5:32 am

Kevin,

Love the website. Do we need to trim the brisket at all before brining or at any point during this process? Thanks.

Reply

Kevin January 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Hey Barrett – thanks for reaching out! Yes, I always trim. I’d say on the fat cap side, just trim some of the really hard fat, leaving about 1/4 fat. On the meat side, I usually trim that up pretty good, down to the meat, so all the flavors can penetrate.
Have fun and let me know how it goes!

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