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HELP! Salt Question for Curing/Brining Brisket for Corned Beef / Pastrami

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    HELP! Salt Question for Curing/Brining Brisket for Corned Beef / Pastrami

    Question on the Corned Beef cure??? I have 2 6-7 lb briskets brining to make pastrami. I got started a couple of days late and was rushing and just realized I used Diamond Crystal instead of Morton's Kosher Salt. I did go heavier by volume though in case I had to add more water to cover both briskets. So I ended up making about 3 gallons of brine with approx 4 1/4 cups of Diamond Crystal. Hopefully this will be fine...any thoughts anyone???? In addition, I was wondering if I could take them out after only 6 days, so I could desalinate them and let them cure with the Pastrami rub for at least two days prior to smoking this Friday. Thanks for any help!

    #2
    Desalinating for a little longer could help. You could cut a piece off when it’s done desalinating and cook it to taste the salt level to see if you need to go longer.

    You could also just change out the water now and use Mortons. It wastes the salt you used, but??? Could help with saving the end product.

    This is just my thinking process - hopefully others will chime in and provide some thought.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks. Its already been in the brine for 6 days. From what I read, it looks like i should have used a lot more Diamond crystal, but i am hoping I had enough extra! Next time I'll make sure I get Morton's!!

      Comment


        #4
        Two things - you can always do a conversion from Morton's to DC (I *think* it's basically double the DC, i.e. for 1 cup Morton's, use 2cup DC). But the other things you can do is go by weight. A given weight of Morton's and DC will be the same amount of salt. If a recipe asks for ratio, e.g. "make an X% solution" you can cover both to metric (which just makes % calculations easier) and do the math, ignoring volume entirely.
        Last edited by rickgregory; July 5, 2021, 06:47 PM.

        Comment


        • MattH
          MattH commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks, I realized this a little too late, LOL! I shouldn't have rushed, hopefully the extra salt I added in case I needed to add more water was enough!

        #5
        You’ll be fine. I use much less salt than the recipe calls for when I make pastrami. Don’t take it out of the cure early. Use the curing calculator. The time given is the minimum. If you need to shorten a step, shorten the time it sits with the pastrami rub.

        Comment


        • MattH
          MattH commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks much!

        #6
        Overnight with the Pastrami rub is just fine.

        Final cooked temperature is something of a matter of debate. Somewhere from 195-204. I like to slice with slicer (3mm thick) and you need to be under 200 or you just get wonderful mess. I smoked Pastrami today and this was the first time I went much above 195. The one that got to 202 slice ok with the grain but not very well across the grain, pretty much as expected. I think I will shoot for about 198 in the future.

        Comment


        • MattH
          MattH commented
          Editing a comment
          I made the Katz's recipe a while ago with a store bought corned beef. Took it to about 150 if I remember correctly and finished it with steam. DELICIOUS recipe! This time I was making the corned beef from scratch and totally forgot about the Morton vs Diamond Crystal thing...I'll leave it for the full 7 days in the brine and then leave the rub for less time. Thanks again!

        #7
        MattH - you must be a lot like me (except I am cheap and lazy). Pastrami was the first thing I ever smoked, and still probably my favorite! I will be very interested in your thoughts on home-brined versus corned beef. Of course by mixing up the salt you now have to do another batch "correctly" for comparison! No complaints there eh!

        I still have at least 6 more pieces in the freezer from the March sales, so my cheap lazy @ss won't be brining any soon!

        Comment


        • Troutman
          Troutman commented
          Editing a comment
          Make your own corn beef. It's not hard, albeit a little time consuming, but you get to control what goes into the brine. Who knows what radioactive material is in some of those store bought cryopacked ones.

        • RolfTaylor
          RolfTaylor commented
          Editing a comment
          Troutman. Excellent point. But it does raise the question of what's in the ingredients you are using. For example some salt has lead in it, albeit at rather low levels.

          Anyway, if I saw brisket for $2.49 a Lb (perhaps there is brisket-related holiday when I could stock up?) I might make some of it into pastrami. I am not a big fan of brisket, but I am open to the possibility I just have not had good brisket. so I will try smoking some someday! If I did find some at that price I would try.

        #8
        I've not used DC always Morton. But if by volume you are correct, in 3 gallons of water you should have used closer to 6 cups of salt (if its a 2:1 ration between salt types). Like was said; however, you should always weigh it out or use the displacement method which assures a proper ratio. I typically use about 7/8 of a cup by weigh of Morton to a gallon of water (along with sugar and my spices). What you may experience is a lack of proper corning or salt penetration. You'll see it in the color on the inside of the meat if so. Not the end of the world but try to follow the calculator on the free side of the site, it's pretty much full proof.

        Comment


          #9
          I used to only make pastrami with store bought salt beef until I did my first home cure about a year ago. It is so much better. The calculator is a must use.
          Only thing I have found is I should have gone a little longer on the cure time on a few occasions.
          Made a pastrami using topside yesterday. Cooked to an IT of 64C. Make this for the best thinly sliced smoked beef sammies. Toasted or on fresh bread rolls.

          Comment


          • RolfTaylor
            RolfTaylor commented
            Editing a comment
            So what is the best price you have found for brisket? The stuff I have from corned beef is awesome, but very tempting to try if it is even better. More is better. But better is better too!

          • holehogg
            holehogg commented
            Editing a comment
            RolfTaylor I never care much for what the price of brisket is here in PE. I'm happy to pay whatever for anything that looks passable. I honestly struggle to find decent brisket.

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