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Old 03-23-2014, 04:35 PM   #61
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Charski,

You are right....there are many paths to pastrami paradise!

I based my method on a lot of reading about the legendary Katz' Deli on New York's lower east side, along with some wisdom from a friend who owned a Kosher Delicatessen in the Bronx for over 40 years.

I think part of it comes down to what style of pastrami one is trying to achieve. Having grown up in the Bronx eating from many Kosher Delis, that is the flavor I am always trying for. I also think the flavor profile of the end result has a lot to do with the dry rub, which in my case is primarily black pepper and coriander.

I only really get closest to what I am seeking if I corn my own brisket, because the packaged ones have a different taste than Kosher corned beef too! But, unless I am really ambitious, I use the packaged ones most often - as I will this week for example.

roger
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:32 AM   #62
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I'm gonna try one in my new smoker/roaster - which is due to arrive tonight! My UPS guy generally gets here around 6:30 so too late for tonight's meal but I have a whole turkey breast in the fridge and you know what's gonna happen to IT tomorrow, right?!

I've never corned my own beef but one of these fine days.... I have a couple of big crocks which would be perfect for brining them! Roger, would you share your recipe for the corned beef?

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Old 03-24-2014, 09:42 AM   #63
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Char,

No time right now but I will make it a point to type out the corned beef process later today or tonight. While I am at it I will post the full pastrami process as well.

Catch you later.

roger
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:55 PM   #64
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Thanks, Roger, no hurry!
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:30 PM   #65
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IT'S HERE! IT'S HERE!

I didn't expect the smoker/roaster to get here til too late to cook today but it's HERE and I'm about to wash it and load it up! Wish me luck!
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:20 PM   #66
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Char,

You asked for it, so here it is. My method for making New York Jewish Deli style corned beef. I don't recall the source, but it was the most authentic of the many I read.

The volumes given for the brine are for about a 5 - 6 pound piece of beef, which is what you will usually see in the market. Try to find the point, rather than the flat if you can. For me, if I am going to all this trouble, I get the full brisket, untrimmed, with both the flat and the point (first and second cut) attached to each other and it usually weighs from 12 to 15 pounds. So double or triple the brine volumes as needed. Note that if you do the entire brisket, the two pieces have to be separated before slicing because the grain does not run in the same direction on each piece.

The only “special” ingredient required is “Prague Powder” which is a mixture of salt and sodium nitrate. It is readily available on line. You can omit this but your corned beef (and pastrami if you go to the next level) will be an unpleasant gray instead of the expected beautiful pink. Some recipes use saltpeter instead but I have not tried that. (For all I know it is the same thing).

For the Brine you will need:

1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
2 teaspoons Prague Powder (optional see above)
1/2 cup Splenda or equivalent, in lieu of white sugar
1 tablespoon whole yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
2 teaspoons whole dill seeds
5 bay leaves

To make the brine, boil all the ingredients in the water till the salt and sweetener are dissolved, then cool the mixture. I put my pot in a sink of ice water to move things along. In the alternative you can boil the ingredients in about a quart of water and then add 3 quarts of ice water to it.

Refrigerate the brine until it is cold.

Add the brisket to the chilled brine. You MUST make sure the meat is completely submerged in the brine, so use a weight if you need to. Keep the brisket submerged and refrigerated for 14 days, turning the meat in the brine every 2 days. After the 14 days are up, you can cook your corned beef.

Rinse the brine off of the beef and steam the corned beef until tender, taking the usual precautions to make sure the meat does not touch the boiling water below. I do not like simmering the beef, as I find it becomes rubbery to varying degrees. Besides, Delis steam it so I do too. [If I am making a commercial corned beef I bake it in the oven]. Unlike smoking a brisket from scratch, this will take just a few hours, depending on weight.

Given my LC lifestyle, I no longer bake Jewish rye, other than for my kids, but I have a great "secret" for that as well!

Pastrami process will follow tomorrow.

roger

Last edited by Croton130; 03-24-2014 at 06:21 PM.. Reason: spelling error
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:35 PM   #67
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Thanks, Roger! I do have "pink salt" (curing salt) on hand for my homemade bacon and bologna recipes. I often buy a full brisket and cut off the flat part, then use the rest to grind for hamburger. It's really flavorful that way.

Meanwhile, back at the Oster smoker/roaster -

I smoked my whole bone-in turkey breast. Since this was happening much sooner than I thought it would, I had to punt! Rubbed it down with some Pepper Plant rub, then stuck it in the roaster with 2 cups full of applewood smoker chips. I put my probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast, snaked the cord out under the lid, then plugged it into the base and set it to alarm at 160*. I also put about 8 oz. of beer and same of water into the bottom of the insert. Set it at 225* and it took just about 2.5 hours to hit temp.

I pulled it out, tented with foil, and let stand about 20 minutes while I cooked a sweet potato to split with DH.

So here are the results!
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Last edited by Charski; 03-24-2014 at 07:36 PM..
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:05 PM   #68
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:42 PM   #69
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:49 AM   #70
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Char,

Beautiful Turkey breast - I may have to look into that Oster as well! How did you find the smoke flavor? Deep or mild?

roger
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:13 AM   #71
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Char,

As promised, pastrami paradise.

Ah . . . New York Jewish Style Pastrami. Pure heaven IMHO. This is a product very different from Boar’s Head and other supermarket deli counter pastramis. In the first instance most of them are made with round, rather than brisket. Secondly, the processing and spicing is vastly different.

New York once had about 1200 Kosher delis. Alas those days are long gone but some remain. The rest have been a victim of changing tastes, assimilation and health conscious eating. But you can still get the real deal here in NY, in LA, in Montreal (where it is called ‘smoked meat’) and in other enclaves. Check out the web site "savethedeli.com" if you want to become a deli "maven" or just locate a real deli near you where you can try the real thing. Then again, you can make it yourself if you take the time and make the effort. Believe me, it is worth investing both. With a lot of research and some trial and error, this is as close as I have come so far, although I am always teasing the process a bit. As mentioned earlier, I have a friend who owned a Kosher Deli in The Bronx (notice that the "T" in the is ALWAYS capitalized) for over 40 years, and he helped me a lot as well. So here goes:

Take your corned beef (I am assuming you brined a brisket yourself here, but a store bought corned beef will work, so long as it is brisket and not round, but it just won’t taste as good and will likely be too lean!), put it in a pot and cover it with cold water. Put the pot in the fridge for at least 8 hours and up to a day or so. Change the water a time or two. I know you just spent 2 weeks getting the brine into the meat, but believe me you don’t want pastrami that salty. The balance of flavors would be off.

Dry off the beef, apply a thin layer of cooking oil to help the rub adhere and then liberally pat on a rub made of:

2 t onion powder
4 T fresh coarsely ground black pepper
1.5 t mustard powder
2 T coriander powder
1 T whole coriander seeds
2 T brown sugar substitute. Use your own carb tolerances here, to choose one of the splenda/brown sugar blends or something else as a sweetener. So little is in the rub and some is lost in the prep, so make your own judgment.
1.5 T paprika
1 t smoked paprika
1 t tumeric
2 t garlic powder

These volumes are for a 5/6 pound piece of meat and will need to be adjusted if you have the whole brisket. If you do multiply the recipe, do not double the sweetener. Just do 1 1/2 times as much for a double batch, or double it for a triple batch. Obviously this mix can be endlessly tinkered with, but so long as you have a lot of black pepper and coriander it should be fine. Put the meat in the fridge for at least 2 days and up to 4. This helps with scheduling if you end up not having time to smoke when you thought you would.

On the day of the smoke, pick your wood. I usually use a combination of hickory and/or mesquite, beech and sometimes some oak. Use what you like and/or have, and prepare for a long smoke. While you can transfer the meat indoors to finish after 4 hours or so, pastrami can take lots of smoke so I have sometimes stayed up all night tending the smoker (I cheat and drink too much Mich Ultra on those rare nights - so sue me!). You want your smoker at about 225° and cook till your internal temp is close to or at 200°. This can take up to 12 hours or so. Patience is the key.

Theoretically you could eat your pastrami now. But if you do, you will miss out on the true beauty of what you have been working on for weeks by now. So . . . more patience! Wrap your pastrami in foil and refrigerate for at least a day and up to 4 days.

Final step is here! On the day you decide to reap the rewards of your labor, steam your pastrami in whatever vessel you have that it will fit in (that new Oster maybe???). If you end up using a baking sheet and covering it with foil, make sure the foil does not touch the meat and, of course, always make sure the meat doesn’t touch the water. The idea is to bring your meat up to 203°. I have no idea where that number came from and I guess 202° or 204° won’t hurt it, but that is what I saw somewhere and it works for me.

The time has finally come. Slice by hand across the grain remembering that the grain will run in different directions in the point versus the flat (second cut versus first cut). So be careful. After all this effort you don’t want to take perfection and make it chewy by slicing with the grain!

You might actually have to salt the meat a bit, if your soaking was too effective (happens sometimes). Add a good spicy brown mustard and you are good to go. Once again, good Jewish Rye is called for but sadly passed on.

That's all. Any questions boys and girls?

roger

Last edited by Croton130; 03-25-2014 at 07:15 AM.. Reason: add a thought
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:00 AM   #72
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Wow, Roger, no questions, you explained the processes for corned beef and pastrami to a "T" - thank you, and I'm gonna try your pastrami rub next time. I bought two corned beeves on sale after St. Paddy's Day so at least one of them is bound to find its way into the smoker!

The smoke flavor on the turkey was excellent. We ate some sliced hot last night, and I made DH a turkey sammich this morning - the flavor is more pronounced today, as I knew it would be - smoke always seems to develop better when left at least overnight at fridge temps. Truth be told, I prefer the turkey smoked, chilled, sliced, and in a sammich!

The Oster performed better than expectations. We have rain headed our way, so not sure if I'll get to do the pork chops today or not, but I'm gonna try! I could move the Oster out to the back porch, which is fully covered - the problem out there is power. I'll figure something out I'm sure.

As with most smoker stuff, it was a minor PITA to clean up, as smoke is sticky stuff. I used a soap pad and very gently rubbed the sticky smoke stuff off under running water, then washed the whole works with dish soap. It's a big thing and my sink is not, so it took some turning and careful spraying, but it wasn't all that bad. If I had a larger sink, the process would be easier though! Man, if I ever get to build my own house, I'm gonna have me a kitchen that makes SENSE!
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:03 AM   #73
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Charski says: "Truth be told, I prefer the turkey smoked, chilled, sliced, and in a sammich! "

Roger says: Never ate warm smoked turkey in my life. You are on the right (indeed the ONLY) path that makes sense.

roger

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Old 03-25-2014, 08:09 AM   #74
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LOL Roger!

The ONLY reason I normally would eat it "fresh off the press" like that is because I have no patience to wait til the next day to see how it tastes!

SOME stuff is good "out of the smoker" like baby back ribs or sausages. Most other stuff needs a bit of resting on it though!

We are in complete agreement.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:20 AM   #75
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Char,

You are sooo right.

P.S.: To anyone who may be reading this thread besides me and Charski - smoke some hot dogs. Those you can eat right off the smoker. You will be amazed! Just sayin.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:35 AM   #76
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I'm gonna do that next time I fire up this little Oster. (I say LITTLE but it's only in comparison to the big Brinkmann - it's by no means a small piece of equipment!)

We often put sausages on the top rack of the Brinkmann when we run it. We put them on there frozen solid. As the 3 hour heat runs, the sausages thaw, then start rendering their delicious fat and seasonings out and whatever is beneath them gets basted with that stuff.

Starting out with them frozen means they'll survive the 3 hour heat without turning into shriveled little black logs that are all but inedible. We just figured that would be the price we paid for the flavoring - but once I had the brainstorm to put them on there FROZEN - they came out delicious and worthy of eating!

I usually get something like the big hot Italian links, maybe some jalapeno links, whatever is nice, fat, juicy, and flavorful!
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:48 AM   #77
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Hmmmm.....frozen...nice touch.

roger
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:26 AM   #78
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I haven't been back to this thread in a couple days, I been missin out.

I finished my pastrami last night, it is delish. I've been studying pastrami all day and may try bringing the internal temp in the smoker higher (200) and eliminating the final steam.
One of my smokers is a commercial brand that has air intakes and exhaust only about the size of a nickle so it retains alot of moisture.
Char, it looks like you are really goin to town, well done.

Harry
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:29 AM   #79
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I would be scared to eliminate the steam! If you are brave enough, let us know how it turns out.
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:02 AM   #80
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Congrats on the Pastrami Harry!! No pics??

Hot dogs are a great idea!

The Oster instructions say no foil but I'm going to foil just the bottom next time. I used 2 whole magic erasers to clean it!!
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:30 AM   #81
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Rog, I'm gonna risk one flat to find out in about 2 weeks, I'll let ya know.

Jen, I haven't tried any pics yet, but no time like the present, the strami is gone, but I'll try some sausage.
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:31 AM   #82
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I did it I did it
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:32 AM   #83
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You're the man! Go for it.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:27 PM   #84
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I have an idea, though it's not entirely my own.
Grind raw corned beef, add coriander, black pepper and maybe garlic, stuff it into casings and smoke to desired color and an internal temp of 155 degrees.
Probably would need to add some water to make it stuffable.

I think would work.

Harry
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:37 PM   #85
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This sounds very interesting. Will you let us know how it turns out? I do NOT mean to be snarky, I just do not have the means to make sausage!
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:34 PM   #86
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U bet Rog, I can even send pics now!!!!

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Old 03-25-2014, 04:05 PM   #87
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WOW, Harry, I love your sausage hanging invention - and your kitchen looks just about the same vintage as mine, including the soffit and the wallpaper! LOL! Yeah, let us know about the corned beef sausage - what a cool idea.

I see in one of your pics that you're using the attachment for the KA mixer - how do you feel about it? I was gonna get me one but the reviews on Amazon were dismal! We have that Grizzly vertical 5 pound stuffer on order but still no word from Amazon about when we might get it.

Jen, I had some liquid (beer and water) in the bottom of mine so it wasn't hard to clean out, but the other parts like the top inside the lid and the edges of the insert were gnarly-sticky. I used, very gently, a steel wool soap pad. I have some plastic soap pads that I'm gonna try next time.

I also had just a smidge of ash in each of the two corners where the ash burners reside, but that wiped out pretty easily.

Last edited by Charski; 03-25-2014 at 04:06 PM..
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:06 PM   #88
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And another note on that sausage idea - I bet if you stuffed it into the larger casings, then smoked and then steamed if needed to complete the cooking, you'd get some dandy lunchmeat out of it!
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:32 PM   #89
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You all are making my mouth water for some good smoked meat.
I had a Little chief smoker but the coil burned out a year ago. I may have to try the Oster or break down and visit Lowes.

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Old 03-25-2014, 05:37 PM   #90
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Ya Doug, I'd hate to be without a smoker.
Char, the KA worked pretty good as a grinder, but sucked as a stuffer. I have a smallish table grinder (electric) now and a 5 lb vert. stuffer. Its a good setup, I can make sticks, dogs, polish size and salami size.
Right now I'm down to only hot dog (sheep) casings. I think they will make good golf energy snacks.
The Rytek Kutas book will do alot to make your project more gratifying.

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