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Corned Beef Question...

TheDirtyBurgerTheDirtyBurger Posts: 846
edited 12:10PM in EggHead Forum
This is the year I get smoking a corned beef right dammit. So with that in mind a quick question. I do not want pastrami yet, I only want corned beef. I planned to follow third eye's guide (

Now do I still discard the seasoning pouch? Do I make a new rub? Leave it alone? I just want corned beef that has been smoked instead of boil/braised/or whatever.

I am going to RD today to get some flats to start soaking so I can cook them monday.



  • hornhonkhornhonk Posts: 3,841
    Are you buying corned beef brisket flats? With the pouch? If so, why would you want to soak it?
  • I am not sure exactly what you want. A brisket is usually used to make corned beef. To make it into corned beef, you have to brine it. If you smoke it after brining, it becomes pastrami. If you smoke it without brining, you get a brisket.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,466
    toss the packet, whatever you use for rub make sure it doesnt have salt, enough salt rises to the surface even after soaking it that you wont want any added. the flavor packet is for boiling it. i keep the rub simple, pepper, garlic, onion powder, maybe some garlic, you should also add some garlic :laugh: if you smoke it, you got some pastrami ;)
  • Thanks for the responses guys

    This is where people get confused (or maybe I am the confused one!). I do not want pastrami. I want a smoked corned beef. A place by me does it and he soaks them for 12 hours and cooks at 205* in a Southern Pride. They are outstanding.

    I am just wondering if other people have smoked a corned beef without making it a pastrami.
  • Haha!

    I think you are a bit confused. Read these.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,466
    i think there is a fine line between the two, pastrami might have more pepper and garlic. some might say steaming it towards the end makes it pastrami as a traditional deli place will serve it that way but i think thats more just the way its easiest to serve it and keep it warm for a day. corned beef isnt normally served smoked.
  • Like anything else we cook, there are many variations in technique. For example, there is the Myron Mixon high temp 5 hour butt and the 24 hour low and slow. Some who inject, some who don't, some who sauce, some who don't.

    You are mixing technique differences with the true definition of the difference.

    Both must be brined, and the brine mixture is the same for both. Obviously, the chef can take some liberties in tweaking the mix, but there are certain basic elements that are essential to it.

    The only true difference between the two is after brining, the cut of beef (typically brisket) is either boiled to make corned beef or smoked to make pastrami.

    Some will boil and then smoke to make pastrami, some may add coriander, pepper and other spices prior to smoking to make pastrami. Nonetheless, it is the smoking of the brined beef that "classifies" it as pastrami.

    If you are looking for a good guide to either. I would highly recommend the Charcuterie wizard himself, Michael Ruhlman. Ratio, pages 159-161
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,466
    should have said pastrami equals smoked corned beef. still there may be differences in the brine. place near me makes grey corned beef in a salt pack, lots of spices with the dry salt but no garlic. for good pastrami you need garlic.
  • I consider pastrami to be a peppery smoked corned beef. I do not want the flavor of a typical deli pastrami. I want the flavor of corned beef but smoked - if this is technically pastrami, I get it BUT in the end there is a flavor difference.

    I have had "smoked corned beef" at 3 places, 2 were garbage and the other one ruled. It looked like corned beef not pastrami, it tasted like corned beef not pastrami, and it was smoked. Anyone else on here down this on their egg?

    I guess we could call it a non-pastrami pastrami or a antistrami? :huh:
  • That's just a technique difference. Just like how my rubs use honey or no sugar, while I bet most people on here use turbinado sugar. It is still a rub.

    My link to Ruhlman's book above is for pastrami or corned beef. He doesn't change the brine recipe for either. He does however coat the post-brined brisket with coriander and pepper prior to smoking for pastrami, but the spices used after brining are really a chef's preference. Just like certain elements of the brine are essential (e.g. salt), while others are more your preference.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    "I consider pastrami to be a peppery smoked corned beef. I do not want the flavor of a typical deli pastrami. I want the flavor of corned beef but smoked - if this is technically pastrami, I get it BUT in the end there is a flavor difference."

    I think we're just hung up between terms and definitions... pastrami (the noun) can be made from beef, pork, mutton, etc. The process involves using a curing brine followed by smoking and finished by a variation of steaming (like braising or pressure cooking)

    Although the curing brine is essential, meats that have been pastramied (the verb) will have a unique seasoning that is heavy in pepper, garlic and a few other things.

    So, when you mentioned "smoked corned beef" you are planning on omitting the pastrami style rub, and go with something else or maybe no rub at all. And so calling it smoked corned beef is fine. A great example of a similar product is my pastramied turkey. I use an injectable brine which has curing salts in it. Following the curing, if I smoke it, it's actually smoked turkey. I call it pastramied turkey because of the seasonings.... I add white pepper to the base injection, then use a pastrami rub under the skin before smoking.

    I would still advise you to try at least one with a steamed, braised or pressured finish. These finishes really help.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,670

    I thought this was interesting.



    Caledon, ON


  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    That's a very interesting article with fantastic photo's. We had a long discussion about Montreal style smoked meat on another forum, I guess I need to try that method myself.

    On another note, I'm on the list of taste testers for the Cluck & Squeal rubs and have been visiting with Marc about the differences of flavors and personal tastes within the US (like North Carolina BBQ verses Memphis BBQ) and between the US and Canada. Sometimes we overlook that folks the world over slow roast meats, but don't always call it barbecue.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,670
    Marc's rubs are excellent although I haven't tried the pork on anything yet. :laugh: Very subtle flavours though and not much salt which is typical of Canadian food vs US



    Caledon, ON


  • Third eye,
    Thanks for the info. Just curious, what type of rub would you recommend for the "smoked corned beef". I just bought a flat that came with the seasoning packet. I am going to start the soak in a little bit.

  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    Well, let's take a look at my pastrami rub:

    4 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper (more if you like it peppery)
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    2 teaspoons Canadian/Montreal Steak seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried
    1 teaspoon paprika

    The pepper, coriander, garlic and paprika seem to be the stand-out flavors, the onion and thyme sort of tie everything together.... and the Montreal is in there to provide a balance for everything except the pepper. (which I don't think can be masked anyway)

    Now, take a look at my Montreal rub:

    3T coriander seeds
    3T black peppercorns
    4T dried bell pepper (mix green & red bell pepper)
    2T onion flakes
    2T garlic flakes
    2T sea salt
    1T caraway seeds
    2T dill seeds
    1T dried thyme
    1t dried lemon peel

    I'm seeing a fair amount of overlap flavors, and that's why I opted to include some of it in my pastrami rub.

    Now, you are looking to stay away from the pastrami signature, so let's scratch coriander, garlic, paprika and the heavy use of pepper. Here is what I'm thinking..... With no rub, corned beef will have sort of a salty, allspice, with maybe a hint of clove kind of flavor. Many brine/cures use pickling spice (and that little packed is a pickling spice kind of thing), so let's stay away from that too. I think you need to have some pepper, but how about a mix of at least three kinds (black, white, and cayenne) and if you have more use them. In addition to pepper, I think celery seed would be a good ingredient. And I think a small amount of thyme, granulated onion and ground bayleaf would be good too. I have powdered Worcestershire, so I would add that. The wild card ingredient would be a little bit of cinnamon, I would get a mix of the other things first, remove a tablespoon and add a pinch of cinnamon. Something like this:

    2T pepper blend
    2T celery seed, ground
    1t thyme
    1t granulated onion
    1/2t to 1t bayleaf, ground
    1t Worcestershire powder
    ? cinnamon
    Adjust amounts as needed...
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
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