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T-Bones Tommy Pastrami

Pastrami is a beef brisket "kind-of" turned into corned beef (like you have on St. Patrick's Day), then seasoned, and smoked into a pastrami. This is a project. You'll want to make this for an event with family or friends. It will be a great accomplishment once complete.


1. Get yourself a nice size 3-5 Lbs. Beef Brisket.

2. Trim the fat.

3. Brine for one week

4. Inject it with brine after a few days

5. Rinse thoroughly, dry it off and coat with coriander and black pepper

6. Cook in smoker at 225° - 245° until internal temp reaches 200°. About 14 hours for a big boy.

7. Steam it on a rack in a roasting pan, tented with aluminum foil

8. Use the drippings in the roasting pan to make an au jus. Add brown sugar and coriander. Reduce to lacquer.


  • 3 quarts water

  • 3/4 cup Morton's coarse or coarse kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup of pink curing salt - Also known as curing salt, salt peter, or Prague powder. - NOT

Himalayan salt. See safety note below

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice

  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds

  • 1 tablespoon whole yellow mustard seeds

  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)


  • 1/4 cup ground coriander

  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika


You will also need: large stockpot, 2-gallon container with lid or two 1-gallon containers, 12 by 15-inch roasting pan with rack


To make the brine, fill a medium to large stockpot with 3 quarts water. Add the kosher and pink salts, granulated sugar, pickling spice, coriander and mustard seeds, and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often to fully dissolve the salt and sugar in the water. Immediately remove the pot from the heat once the brine boils.

Add 3 quarts ice cold water to a 2-gallon or larger food-safe container that will fit in your refrigerator (you can also use a strong sealing 2-gallon marination bag - double bag for extra insurance). Pour the brine into the container and place it uncovered in the refrigerator until completely cool. You can also divide the brine evenly between two separate containers so that it will fit better in the refrigerator.


Trim the fat from the brisket until the fat layer is about 1/4 inch thick or less.

If necessary, cut the brisket in half so that it will fit into your container(s).

Submerge the brisket in the cooled brine.

Allow the brisket to brine in the refrigerator for 5 days, flipping it daily top to bottom and stirring the brine. Make sure that if any of the brisket sides are touching one another you regularly turn them away from each other to expose all the sides to the brine. Injecting the meat with the brine helps it get to the center of the meat.


Mix the coriander, pepper and paprika in a small bowl. Evenly rub 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the top of the brisket. Then flip the brisket and rub the remaining spice mixture onto the fatty side. Allow the brisket to come to room temperature, about 1 hour.


Cook fat side down until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 200°


Remove and wrap in butcher paper.

Let rest for a while


  1. After resting, you can go ahead and carve the pastrami into 1/4-inch-thick slices or cut as thin as possible without the meat falling apart. Note: if there is a greyish middle, don't be alarmed. It just means to brine didn't permeate all the way through. That's where injecting the brine helps.

  2. Steaming the pastrami: place the pastrami in a roasting pan with a rack. Tent it with aluminum foil, tightly sealed around the edges of the pan. Cook at 275° for about 20 to 30 minutes. Use the drippings in the roasting pan to make an au jus. Add brown sugar and coriander. Reduce to lacquer. Remove pastrami, carve, and enjoy the au jus poured over the slices.

  3. If your guests aren't coming until the next day or so. Keep the pastrami wrapped in foil and refrigerated. Steam it the next day before your guests arrive. Make the au jus and keep warm.


Your choice of breads for sandwiches: Rye, Sourdough, Demi Baguette, Sub Roll.

White cheese - Swiss or Provolone

SAFETY NOTE: handle the pink curing salt with care and keep it out of reach of children. It is used in pastrami and other cured meats to kill bacteria, prevent botulism, and add flavor. However, it is extremely toxic if ingested directly; in fact, it's colored pink to prevent people from mistaking it for regular salt. When used with care in recipes like this, it is very safe and necessary for proper flavor and food safety. That said, you should know the risks and keep the curing salt properly labeled and out of the reach of children.

Credit to Tori Avey


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