Sunday, January 23, 2011

Operation Pastrmi - A Quicker and Easier but Still Damn Tasty and Tender Version

During the holidays I had the pleasure of making the meat for everyone.    As anyone who reads this blog should know PERNIL was on the menu.    It's the 2nd dish back in the picture to the left.   However I also endeavored to make another favorite meat that I have been practicing.   I call it my "Quicker and Easier but Still Damn Tasty and Tender Pastrami."   Its the first plat of meat in this picture.

Pastrami takes commitment and dedication but I PROMISE YOU it is SO WORTH IT!!!!

When you take your pastrami out of your smoker and cut the first slice you will KNOW it was worth it.   So friggin delicious


Ok on to the recipe

First pick up a large piece of brisket.   Generally a 7-11 lb brisket will do.   Your first step is to trim down the fat a bit.    Just remove the big nasty bits but make sure you leave some on.   The reality is fat = flavor.  However too much also = grissle.  Not so yum.   Strike the right balance with your knife.   This part is all about experience!

Ok next step onto the brine!   To make a pastrami brine is quite simple.   To be honest it is just a pickling brine that you like with some bay leaves, black pepper seeds, mustard seeds and coriander seeds to get that quintessential pastrami flavor.

Here is my brine recipe:

8 quarts of water
2 cups of kosher salt
1 elephant garlic blub sliced down the middle horizontally
10 coriander seeds
10 black pepper seeds
10 mustard seeds
(toast all the seeds first so they really release their oils)
16 bay leaves

Mix it all up with a big wooden spoon and whamo.  Drop the meat in.   Cover it up.  Keep it cold.   I stuck this brine with brisket into a freezer bag and the stuck the freezer bag into a cooler with ice and closed it all up.

Now comes the waiting bit.   Leave it alone for 5 days.    Let the brine work its magic.   Salt water makes meat go through a transformation so let it work its magic!   Alton Brown once explained the process on his show Good Eats and I forgot exactly what happens here but its magic.   MAGIC I TELL YOU!!!!!!

Oh yeah...Check that the ice is ever present in the cooler.   The last thing you want is to find out the cooler didnt keep it cool 5 days in and you have a bag o rotten meat.  Not chill.

Ok so now you have waited 5 days and you have your Pastrami brisket well brined.     You need to now make the spice coating.   This is the most laborious part of the pastrami making.    You need the following:

1 bottle of black pepper corn seeds
1 bottle of coriander seeds
1 bottle of yellow mustard seeds

Make sure all the bottles are the same size.  You need equal parts.   Get out your mortar and pestle and get ready for the not so fun part.   You need to crack all the seeds with the mortar and pestle.  Your arm will be hurting after you finish but I promise you it will be worth it.    Get it all cracked up and put down on something you can fit the meat into for coating it.   Here is what my setup looked like

Once this is ready take your meat out of the brine and just dry it.  You need to now take the meat and coat it with the spices and when I say coat it I mean coat it.    Just press the meat into the spices and flip over and press again.    Keep flipping about 10 times and pressing the meat into the spices.    Your meat should look like this when you are done:

At this point it is time to friggin celebrate.   You get to look down at your meat and it is beginning to look alot like pastrami! YUM YUM PASTRAMI.

Get your pastrami in your indoor hot smoker.    I use a "Emeril" brand smoker.    It was 79.99 and gets the job done!   It even came with 4 different types of wood chips!  Thank Emeril!

Get the smoker smoking then put it in the over at 200 degrees to keep it smoking.   Leave it in their for about 45 mins per lb.    You will know its ready when the meat hits about 165 degrees.   This is about 45 mins per lb.   Check it 4-5 hours in and make sure it is smoking nicely.   If you need to add more chips and get the smoke going again then get er done so the meat is tasty.

Here is what the delicious finished product looked like:

Slice your meat along the grain of the meat so it is edible.  It is brisket so this is the most imporatant step otherwise it is FAR TOO TOUGH TO EAT!

When you are done.   Grab some rye bread, slather oen side with french dressing, drop some swiss cheese on it and toast it in the broiler.   Drop the pastrami on top and WHAMO!


A Quicker and Easier but Still Damn Tasty and Tender Pastrami courtesy of Munchies and Media :)

No comments:

Post a Comment