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2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled

We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for tentatively March 18-21, 2022. Click here for more info: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/forum/announcements/misc/1014106-meat-up-in-memphis-2021-canceled
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Pastrami Questions

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    Club Member
    • Jan 2016
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    Pastrami Questions

    I'm currently corning a 6 lb piece of brisket flat and am hoping to make my first pastrami sammies on Sunday.

    Here're my questions:

    1. Do I still need to desalinate for 8 hrs or because I'm NOT using store bought do I skip that step?

    2. How long does it take to steam the meat from 150 to 203?

    And if I smoke it on Saturday and stick it in the fridge for a day:

    3. How much time do I need from fridge temp to 203 in the steamer?

    Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!

    Here's a terrible picture of the meat corning - I basically put everything in there that MH suggested.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	corning brisket.jpg
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  • Jerod Broussard
    • Jun 2014
    • 9898
    • East Texas
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    Still desalinate. I don't change the water but I put it in a good size pot and fill it up and let it go about 8 hours.

    Steaming takes a while. Longer than I expected. I have not steamed since the first time. I either: 1. Go all the way like a brisket with a really long rest, or 2. Sous vide at 195 for a couple hours.

    I steamed from fridge temp so that would be why it took soooooo long.


    • JCBBQ
      JCBBQ commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Jerod. Is "soooooo long" > 4hrs?

    • Jerod Broussard
      Jerod Broussard commented
      Editing a comment
      Been a few years and I am a horrible note taker (read: I don't take notes).

      I'm sure Meathead could give a more accurate number (read: an actual number)

    • JCBBQ
      JCBBQ commented
      Editing a comment
  • fzxdoc
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
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    JCBBQ , I steamed a 2.4lb (pre-cooked weight) piece of pastrami 3.5 inches thick, from 36 degrees from the refrigerator to 203 degrees in a deep covered Corning Ware pan on a rack over boiling water placed in a 225 degF oven in 2 hours.

    Here's the setup I used except I raised the rack to add the boiling water below the rack and put the whole shebang in the oven. This photo is actually how I stored the pastrami in the fridge while letting the rub sit 48 hours before smoking. I just modified it by raising the rack and adding water for steaming.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Pastrami rub stage.jpg Views:	1 Size:	69.7 KB ID:	382036

    Last edited by fzxdoc; September 18, 2017, 01:48 PM.


    • JCBBQ
      JCBBQ commented
      Editing a comment
      Oh! That's not too bad. That's right in line w what MH writes in his recipe. Thanks Kathryn!
  • EdF
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
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    I've done it from scratch a couple of times. I did desalinate, and don't remember what I smoked it to. I doubt it was 203F though. I saved steaming for individual servings, the way we did it when I was growing up: slice thin and steam on the stove. Sorry the critical bit in the middle is missing.


    • SoCal Chris
      Club Member
      • Feb 2017
      • 86
      • Temescal Valley, CA

      I recently did exactly what you are suggesting. I desalinated and would recommend that you do as well. I then smoked it on Sunday, wrapped it and put it in the fridge till Monday, and then steamed it right before the meal. It took about 2 hours. Good luck.


      • CaptainMike
        Club Member
        • Nov 2015
        • 2680
        • The Great State of Jefferson
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        A note of caution when steaming: try to avoid using foil. I had a large flat that would not fit in my steamer so I steamed it in a suitable pan with "tented' foil. Apparently, the "tenting" wasn't good enough and allowed the foil to touch the meat thereby creating the "lasagna cell" effect and ruined the whole wretched mess. I'll never use that method again and will cut big hunks into smaller, more manageable pieces.


        • JCBBQ
          JCBBQ commented
          Editing a comment
          I've got a big stainless steel double steamer. I should be able to cut the 6lbs in half and fit one hunk on each level. I've got to re-read that section. Not sure I understand the Lasagna Cell Effect.

        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          You will be fine with that. Aluminum foil can react with the sodium of the brine.
      • Springbank
        Club Member
        • Nov 2016
        • 2
        • North of Atlanta, but not far enough any more.

        The local Kroger had brisket on sale for $1.99 a few weeks ago. Of course I bought too many with dreams of Pastrami and Texas style brisket after reading Meathead book and this site. I split them up, smoked a flat using the crutch, and it came out pretty good, but a bit dry. Needed lots of sauce, but falling apart and tasted great.

        Corned a bunch of flats and points. When the corning was done, I soaked a point to get the salt out, used Meatheads rub, and got it in the smoker about 8:30 AM at 225. I know about the stall, but this was insane. It seemed to stall in the 140s, then got up into the 150s, and stalled again. Crept into the 170s, and seemed to be going faster. All this time the wife is saying "it's got to be done!" But no. I figured I'd nap on the couch with the Smoke remote and finish it off. My cat jumped on me and woke me up at 2:00 AM. I figured it had to be close. Wrong again. 182 after almost 18 hours! This was about a 4.5 lb point. I trudged out to the smoker with my Thermo pen to check. About 195 in the thin end, but the Smoke was right on at 182 in the middle. I decided enough was enough. Took it out, stuck it in the fridge, and went to bed.

        My wife loves pastrami, so she sent me to the store for some rye bread and Swiss cheese. There was no way I was going to take hours to steam it! It sliced pretty thin and stayed intact. Warmed it up, made the sandwiches, and all I can say was that it was awesome! Really well marbled, and it tasted like I remembered pastrami used to taste years ago. Well worth the effort, even if the yield will be about 6 big sandwiches.

        So the next time, I've got 5 more home made flats and points in the deep freeze, vacuum sealed. I've got two old "brand X" thermos that I haven't used since I got the Smoke, but do work. I've also got a DOT, (I confess, I'm a Thermoworks junky, thanks to the reviews on this site). With all that gear I can monitor 5 hunks of cow, which is about what my smoker will hold. They will all go in the smoker at once about 9:00 PM. I still might not take them to 203, maybe 190 ish, then most will get vacuum packed, except for one or two, and go back to the deep freeze. That will leave me with two or three more briskets in the deep freeze to play with, and a much quicker pastrami that I might even steam.


        • EdF
          EdF commented
          Editing a comment
          Go get em. Pastrami is incomparable!
      • JCBBQ
        Club Member
        • Jan 2016
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        First off, I just mixed up my pastrami rub with some freshly ground coriander seeds into powder. The kitchen smells amazing.

        ANOTHER QUESTION: What's your estimate of time to smoke the meat at 250 degrees until it reaches 150? I was thinking 4-5 hrs but just read Springbank 's post above and now i'm having second thoughts. I don't smoke enough briskets to know this. Help!!


        • EdF
          EdF commented
          Editing a comment
          I seem to remember just a few hours. This link may help. I've used his recipe, and it's great. http://ruhlman.com/2011/09/how-to-make-pastrami/

        • JCBBQ
          JCBBQ commented
          Editing a comment
          EdF yeah, I found my post from last year where I detailed the time and meat temps. It took 3 hrs at 225 so I think you're right. At 250 it should be a couple hours.



      2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled

      We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for tentatively March 18-21, 2022. Click here for more info: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/forum/announcements/misc/1014106-meat-up-in-memphis-2021-canceled
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