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Holy Grail Pastrami

The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,715
I'm not 100% there yet but this post can be a living document as I progress. I can say I got damn close with this one and would only make a few tweaks to the next one. I got my inspiration from a pizza place (stick with me) that makes their own pastrami. Their pies are some of the best in the city but it's their pastrami that has become more famous, and rightfully so. Once I set out on this quest, I knew who to check with first- TFJ (the wife)  She does a lot of the curing in the house and she used to do this venison backstrap pastrami that was out of this world. We did it for caterings and parties and I couldn't stop sneaking bites every time I walked by. She told me where to get the recipe:

http://manvsmeat.com/blog/2013/9/2/pastrami.

The brine below is from Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Mhyrvold (this is his credit to Mhyrvold on his site. I copied and pasted)  

The Brine :

4.5 l water

290g brown sugar

150g salt

30g Pink salt #1 (nitrite) 

Boil 1 l of the water with the dry ingredients to dissolve them and then add the rest of the water. Cool, then add: 

Coriander seed 7g

Black peppercorns 5g

Mustard powder 5g

Cinnamon stick, toasted and crushed 1g

Fennel seeds 2g

Cloves, whole 1g

Chilli flakes .5g

1 bay leaf, torn up. 

I used a 6 lb Meyer All natural Brisket but here was plenty of brine for a full size packer. Knowing I was going to Sous Vide after the smoke, I cut the brisket in half right at the Pont/flat junction and put in the brine for 7 days. Every single thread I've read out there says to desalinate the brisket. TFJ was adamant not to do that as it's not in the instructions in this recipe and she had made the backstrap several times without desalinating. I deferred to her and it was the right call. The balance was probably perfect for most, I could have used more salt (I'm a fiend).

After 7 days in the brine, I threw it in the fridge for 2 days to allow the brine to equalize. It was uncovered and got pretty dry and tacky. I was going to do 24 hours but life got in the way and it turned to 48. No discernable damage done. Since it was so dry, I used a mustard slather to hold the rub. No taste came through in the finished product but since it's pastrami, I figured it wouldn't matter if it did.

The Rub:

Grind together the following ingredients to make the coating for the outside of the pastrami: 

Salt 150g

Sugar 150g

Black peppercorns 144g

Coriander seeds, toasted 84g

Juniper berries 20g

Chilli flakes 13g

The rub was excellent. I don't see a need for straying from this one. perfect peppery/coriander pastrami flavor.

After the rub, I started making things up and using different suggestions from different sites. Man Vs. Meat says to cold smoke for 10 hours and then SV at 143 for 72 hours. We did this with the backstrap with excellent results but I wanted a big black bark and bold smoke. Chef Steps says smoke it at 150 degrees on an electric smoker then SV at 155 for 24 hours.  Johnny don't do electric smoke so I set my egg up at 200 with the Cyber-Q with oak and cherry chunks. Didn't seem to be getting a lot of smoke or color on the bark after a few hours so I bumped it up to 225 and that made a difference. More smoke, more color. It was still a little light in spots after 8 hours so I bumped it up to 250 for 30-45 min and that got me the color I was after. Brisket internal was 160-170ish.

I pulled it, let it cool a little then vac sealed it and dropped in the the bath at 155 for 24 hours. I got his time and temp from Chef Steps and their "Smokerless Brisket" Video. As stated above, Man Vs Meat says go 143 for 72 hours.  I've seen 100 other variations out there but I knew I didn't want to wait 72 hours so I took the Chef Steps route. After 24 hours it didn't feel quite  ready so I left in in another 6 for a total of 30 hours at 155. After the bath, I rapid cooled it and threw it in the fridge for 24 hours. When it was time to serve the next night for dinner, I pulled it from the fridge, let it come up to room temp, then steamed it until it probed like butter. It softened up like crazy in the steamer. As you can see in the pics- the fat was rendered perfectly and it was super juicy. The flavor was out of this world and was probably the 2nd best I've had (still chasing Pious but rapidly gaining ground):

I read a review in Tx Monthly by Daniel Vaughn (https://tmbbq.com/pastrami-at-pieous/) saying Pieous smokes it 14 hours then puts in a C-Vap oven to steam. This is pretty much what Franklin does with his briskets. All I know is after steaming this one, I'm going to be steaming by next whole brisket somehow, some way. I also loved how this came out of the fridge the next day and served up like a gooey marshmallow once it was steamed. May be on to something here.

Where I got my inspiration: 

The brine, the rub, the idea to SV after a smoke and the basic framework- Man vs. meat blog

http://manvsmeat.com/blog/2013/9/2/pastrami

The idea to hot smoke instead of cold and to use my egg over the dishwasher- Meathead.

http://amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/close_to_katzs_home_made_pastrami.html

He said that charcoal smokers give the best color to the bark. I believe he is correct. Last one was in the dishwasher with 100% oak logs and the bark was still pretty brown. I smoked it all the way though too (No SV finish). The cold smoked backstrap from the man vs meat blog didn't darken up as much as I would have liked so I went with meathead on this one.

The time and temp for the SV part of the cook- Chef Steps (with an adjustment from me based on feel)

https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/smokerless-smoked-brisket

So here are some pics:

Point and Flat just off the egg:

In the bath at 155 for 30 hours:

Testing for flavor and texture after the SV and a night in the fridge (still cold, before the steam). This is when I thought we might be in for a treat. When this thing came up to room temp, it was buttery and delicious. Not a bad cut of meat either! Meyer All Natural Choice

After the steam and ready to serve. I can't express what a difference the steam made. All the fat turned to goo, the meat was so moist and it even set and darkened the bark a little. never would have thought that.

And finally, to the chef go the spoils. A few burnt ends as a cutting board snack as I sliced. These were special.

"I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

"I believe I’ll have another beer."

- Hondo Crouch

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Comments

  • otterotter Posts: 286
    Boy, hats off! That turned out really good. Please explain your water bath, what kind etc. How did you steam it? Thanks 
    Pure Michigan
    Grand Rapids, Michigan  LBGE, SBGE
  • otter said:
    Boy, hats off! That turned out really good. Please explain your water bath, what kind etc. How did you steam it? Thanks 

    waterbath was an Annova sous vide circulator and a bus tub. Since it was cut in to 2 smaller pcs I was able to steam in my large stove top pressure cooker. It has a steamer basket that sits above the waterline. I left the lid loose so it did not pressure cook, just steamed.

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • I can see @caliking puckering up over the excess food saver bag usage now.

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • Photo EggPhoto Egg Posts: 8,744
    Awesome, over the top post...mouthwatering!
    Thank you,
    Darian

    Galveston Texas
  • BJM2932BJM2932 Posts: 119
    I feel like a underachiever after my pastrami post now.  Looks incredible!
    L BGE
    Paoli, PA

    Instagram


  • calikingcaliking Posts: 12,048
    And again, the burnt end pics made me change my pants. 

    You would be proud of me though. Bagged up a brisky last night... With a foot of extra bag at the end!!! 

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • caliking said:
    And again, the burnt end pics made me change my pants. 

    You would be proud of me though. Bagged up a brisky last night... With a foot of extra bag at the end!!! 
    Did you cry a little? 

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch


  • Photo Egg said:
    Awesome, over the top post...mouthwatering!
    Thanks D! 

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch


  • BJM2932 said:
    I feel like a underachiever after my pastrami post now.  Looks incredible!
    It was very good but there is definitley something to be said for starting with a good corned beef. This is a lot of work. Pretty fun once its done though. 

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 14,216
    This right here folks is what makes this forum great. I'm inspired again. Thank you brother. 
  • bgebrentbgebrent Posts: 18,103
    Absolutely fantastic brother Cen Tex.  Great post.
    Sandy Springs & Dawsonville Ga
  • This right here folks is what makes this forum great. I'm inspired again. Thank you brother. 

    I look at it more as an manic obsessive sh*t show from a guy who clearly has too much time on his hands, but if that's inspiration then so be it :lol:

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • bgebrent said:
    Absolutely fantastic brother Cen Tex.  Great post.

    Thanks Brent. It was fun but an ass-whip for sure. Just glad I got one in the win column. The first one was not so great.

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 6,151
    Great post. Ton of good info.

    "Not a bad cut of meat either! Meyer All Natural Choice," I've never seen any brisket so marbled where I live. Spectacular.

    If I understand correctly, the equalization period of the brining balances the salinity.
  • gdenby said:
    Great post. Ton of good info.

    "Not a bad cut of meat either! Meyer All Natural Choice," I've never seen any brisket so marbled where I live. Spectacular.

    If I understand correctly, the equalization period of the brining balances the salinity.

    if you are talking about the fridge rest after the brine, that is what I understand as well. Most people said if you don't have time you can skip it but it was widely recommended by most sites I read.

    As for the brisket- That is a grocery store choice brisket. A damn good one but it was like $3.99 lb. They mix in the prime with them at the same price all the time. This is why I always tell people that CAB and Meyer All Natural are as good as you can get in a store. We are lucky to have them at 2 stores, both a mile from my front door and right across the street from each other.  

    To be fair, this was the fattiest part of the point so it's a little exaggerated. It's still a great brisket though.

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • JohnInCarolinaJohnInCarolina Posts: 13,691
    Thanks for taking the time and effort to detail this.  I'm guessing you'll soon discover the degree to which imitation is the finest form of flattery.
    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Einstein

    "I've made a note never to piss you two off." - Stike


  • Austin  EggheadAustin Egghead Posts: 3,959
    edited May 2017
    If you are talking about pastrami at Pious, and you are that close, we are coming over with our forks. =)  Looks good enough to slice thin and devour.
    His fruit pies anit too shabby either.
    Oops should have read further...You are reference Pious.  We will be over!!
    Large, small and mini now Egging in Rowlett Tx
  • If you are talking about pastrami at Pious, and you are that close, we are coming over with our forks. =)  Looks good enough to slice thin and devour.
    His fruit pies anit too shabby either.
    Oops should have read further...You are reference Pious.  We will be over!!

    It was close but not quite there. Very happy for my 2nd try

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • Thanks for taking the time and effort to detail this.  I'm guessing you'll soon discover the degree to which imitation is the finest form of flattery.

    I hope everyone who tries it hits it out of the park. Definitely fun and much more involved than the typical wings and basic stuff we do all the time. This is a process. 10-12 days from start to finish!

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • LegumeLegume Posts: 9,266
    Hell yes!

    I may just have to copy you, with some plate ribs.
    Austin, TX
  • DoubleEggerDoubleEgger Posts: 14,216
    This right here folks is what makes this forum great. I'm inspired again. Thank you brother. 

    I look at it more as an manic obsessive sh*t show from a guy who clearly has too much time on his hands, but if that's inspiration then so be it :lol:
    I'll save this thread from the Styx video. Lol
  • GATravellerGATraveller Posts: 6,598
    You freaking rock. Thanks so much for taking the time to detail this journey. Lot of time and effort for the benefit of others. Awesome! 

    "Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community [...] but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It's the invasion of the idiots."

                                                                                  -Umberto Eco

    2 Large
    Peachtree Corners, GA
  • Legume said:
    Hell yes!

    I may just have to copy you, with some plate ribs.

    chef steps has the plate rib Pastrami video start to finish.

    https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/sous-vide-pastrami

    It looks really good. That was actually what I was referencing when they said to cook it in an electric smoker at 150. I watched it 10x while this was in the brine. It has a different SV time and temp than the brisket. Since I was using brisket, I went with the brisket video time and temp. I worried over it for days. It worked out just fine.

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 18,680
    A far cry from some of your more significant prior posts... ;)  An extremely comprehensive write-up and comments throughout.  You can tell that you and TFJ have a wealth of food preparation knowledge and the ability to get it into a forum where others can benefit.  What an end-result right there.  Congrats.  Those slices and burnt ends say it all.  

    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • lousubcap said:
    A far cry from some of your more significant prior posts... ;)  An extremely comprehensive write-up and comments throughout.  You can tell that you and TFJ have a wealth of food preparation knowledge and the ability to get it into a forum where others can benefit.  What an end-result right there.  Congrats.  Those slices and burnt ends say it all.  


    I was sober so that helps.

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 18,680
    I may have to try that approach sometime.  
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • I just ordered this for my steam table so I can do a whole brisket.   I'm fired up about holding my next brisket in the steamer instead of a cooler. I'll keep everyone posted




    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • SciAggieSciAggie Posts: 3,741
    Absolutely fantastic. I appreciate your earlier comments wondering if it's worth the effort. For my money, as a once a year treat, this recipe is on my list brother. I made pastrami during winter going to far less pains and I liked the result. Your method will take it to the next level. Thank you for such thorough and complete documentation as well. My hat is off to you my friend. 
    Coleman, Texas
    Large BGE & Mini Max for the wok. A few old camp Dutch ovens and a wood fired oven.
    "Bourbon slushies. Sure you can cook on the BGE without them, but why would you?"
                                                                                                                          YukonRon
  • SciAggie said:
    Absolutely fantastic. I appreciate your earlier comments wondering if it's worth the effort. For my money, as a once a year treat, this recipe is on my list brother. I made pastrami during winter going to far less pains and I liked the result. Your method will take it to the next level. Thank you for such thorough and complete documentation as well. My hat is off to you my friend. 
    Definitely worth having in the tool kit. Fun cook for special occasion or if you are bored and looking to do something outside the norm. 

    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

  • The Cen-Tex SmokerThe Cen-Tex Smoker Posts: 18,715
    edited May 2017
    Finally Sliced up the flat today. Was just as good as the point. Check out all the gelatin on my slicer! Gooey goodness abounds. And check out the marbling in the flat. Meyer All Natural briskets are legit (and this was choice). 

    I do feel that i will never be able to use this slicer again without a tiny speck of black pepper or corriander getting on whatever i'm slicing. I cleaned it for 30 minutes and they are still coming out of every crevace. 




    "I believe that life is based on belief-systems. The Way I see it, folks just need to have something that they can really believe in."

    "I believe I’ll have another beer."

    - Hondo Crouch

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