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Corned Beef/Pastrami Results For Those Interested

Citizen QCitizen Q Posts: 484
edited 7:34PM in EggHead Forum
OK, it's been awhile, but I finally got around to brining and curing that 14 lb brisket that I talked about a couple of months ago. I chopped it up into 4 pieces, using the point for pastrami and 3 pieces from the flat for 3 different corned beef methods.
First, the pastrami results since it involved the Egg. I followed the recipe from the following link and got very good results, although I believe that the amount of cure powder (salt and sodium nitrite/nitrate) used could be greatly reduced. The method calls for bring for 10 days (2 days/lb), then placing in the smoker at 125 without smoke for an hour before increasing to 225 and adding light smoke until 165 internal temp. I figured this would be somewhat difficult but I gave it a shot and much to my surprise, I had absolutely no dificulty holding 125 in the BGE for much longer than an hour (something to keep in mind just in case I might try smoking dairy products such as cheese or ice cream in the future). After the meat was in there for an hour I added some maple chips, kicked it up to 225 and it took about 3 1/2 hours til it was done. I only sampled a small fatty piece hot off the Egg and was not at all impressed by the taste, but after cooling in the fridge for a day (pastrami is sposed-ta-be a cold cut after all) this meat was absolutely delicious, all the flavors came through just as I had dreamed about. I was a bit disapointed though, when I sliced some up and dropped it in boiling water for a traditional hot pastrami sandwich, much of the flavor seemed to wash away but that didn't stop me from polishing the whole thing off cold in a matter of days.
Now for the corned beef(s). I got mixed results here, with the best being the combination of Len Poli's recipe from the link below and Mac's 1725 Corned Beef recipe that he handed me back in February (thanks Mac). I brined 2 the same but cooked them differently, with the better of the 2 being simmered in water with a bottle of beer and a couple of tablespoons of pickling spice. Very tasty, but not that deli-style that I was looking for so I tried the second simmered in just plain water for 3 hours which put it a bit on the plain side of tasty and still not quite that deli-flavor I wanted, much more like a Boar's Head corned beef round than like a Mosey's or Pearl corned beef brisket. A good buddy of mine knows some people at Pearl and I'm going to nose around a bit and see if I can't get a few pointers on fine tuning my preparation methods.
Now for the third and final piece of corned beef. Big mistake, this one. I stuck mostly to the recipe from the link, but added about a cup of cider vinegar to the brine. I believe that the acid from the vinegar actually cooked the meat instead of enhancing the brine, making the meat very tough and bitter, although the fat cap WAS very sweet and flavorful. My wife was very disapointed to catch me eating chunks of the fat after I told her that I was just gonna toss the thing in the rubbish.[p]For those interested maybe trying for themselves, go to the following link , scroll down a bit and click on Brine Cured Meats. Good luck, and let us know how you make out.[p]C~Q



  • MarvinMarvin Posts: 515
    Citizen Q,
    Thanks for the review and the links; something I had planned on doing. One trick that you might consider for hot pastrami: many delis steam their meat to get it hot; probably preserves some of the flavor.

  • Marvin,

  • Marvin,
    I thought of steaming, but not until after it was gone.
    Well, as we Red Sox and Bruins fans are so fond of saying, there's always next time.


  • Mac  in NCMac in NC Posts: 287
    Citizen Q, [p]Hey CQ!! Glad to hear that you had positive results from the recipe I was able to provide ya. You're the second person that has written back saying the results were on a positive note.[p]Sorry that you didn't get the results you were hoping for but I'm going to assume that the folks at Mosey's and Pearl have learned a thing or two since 1725!! If you ever find that "secret" technique, please share with me. Bluesmoke was the first to respond about the recipe and my interest in trying it myself is really starting to peak now that I have a second thumbs up. [p]Enjoy the weekend... Mac
  • CRCR Posts: 175
    Citizen Q, I had a very similar experience the first time I made pastrami. It is dreadful when hot and right off the smoker but wonderful after it has cooled overnight.[p]
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