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Arm Roast Pastrami

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  • IowaGirl
    Club Member
    • Dec 2018
    • 664
    • Northeast Iowa, USA

    Arm Roast Pastrami

    A few months ago, I won a meat bundle at a local raffle and the bundle included two beef arm roasts. I'd never heard of this cut before, so I did a little research and decided an arm roast is the tougher lower part of a chuck roast, kind of between the chuck and the brisket, if I have my beef anatomy straight.

    I braised these roasts in the oven and was impressed with the lean, tender texture and bold, beefy flavor. Sometimes chuck roasts can be a little bland when braised, but not these arm roasts. I was so impressed with the flavor and texture that I recently bought another 3 pound arm roast to make pastrami.

    I followed Meathead's recipes for corned beef (https://amazingribs.com/tested-recip...ed-beef-recipe) and for pastrami (https://amazingribs.com/tested-recip...e-katzs-recipe).

    I corned the meat last week in a simple brine of water, salt, and pink salt. I soaked the roast in one change of fresh water for about 18 hours, applied the pastrami rub, and then smoked it yesterday. My plan was to smoke at 250-275 F until the meat reached 150 F internal temperature, wrap the roast, and continue to cook in the smoker until the meat was tender.

    A digression -- Meathead's pastrami rub (https://amazingribs.com/tested-recip...s-pastrami-rub) calls for coriander, both ground and whole seeds. I didn't have any coriander, but a quick google search came up with a substitute of equal parts cumin and oregano. I thought this substitute tastes fine, but then I'm not a pastrami expert, so consider the source. His rub recipe calls for quite a lot of ground black pepper, and I know that's normal for this type of recipe. I followed the recipe this time, but I will probably reduce the black pepper quite a bit to fit family preferences.

    Anyways, I know y'all have talked about how important it is to get meat like this to "probe tender" and how long a stall can last and all that.

    But I still wasn't entirely prepared for babysitting one measly little beef roast for a whole ENTIRE 11 hours ... only to find the internal temperature was STILL only 179 F ... and the meat was definitely NOT anywhere close to probe tender ... and I'd been fiddling with this ALL DAY ... and now it was near bedtime and I was getting CRANKY ... and I'd had ENOUGH of all this.

    In a grumpy funk, I put the meat in the fridge and went to bed.

    After sleeping on it and waking up in a more cheerful mood, I decided to try again. I set up a steamer basket, put the refrigerator-cold roast in to steam over simmering water, and in about 2 hours with very little fuss, the internal temperature was about 203 F and .... miracle of miracles ... I now know what "probe tender" means.

    I served myself a piece of "humble pie" for lunch. Tonight, hubby and I enjoyed tender, flavorful pastrami for supper.

    This was a lot of fiddling and hovering for a tiny amount of meat, but the pastrami is tender and tasty -- quite a delicacy. And I now understand why good pastrami is so expensive to buy at the deli.

    I think once I get more confident about my skills, it will make a lot more sense to smoke more than just one 3-pound roast at a time. But for now, I'm still learning a lot as this experience shows, and I don't want to risk too much meat while I'm still learning. I'm glad I stuck with the project, and the pastrami turned out well in the end.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	P1030717 800.JPG Views:	1 Size:	118.1 KB ID:	671933
  • Oakgrovebacon
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 1961
    • South central Illinois

    #2
    Persistence and patience paid off, that is some fine looking pastrami!

    Comment

    • SullysSassySauce
      Club Member
      • Mar 2019
      • 47
      • Eau Claire Wisconsin

      #3
      Excellent look pastrami. I might have to try using an arm roast my self. Glad all your time and effort paid off

      Comment


      • IowaGirl
        IowaGirl commented
        Editing a comment
        I got the idea from the Girls can Grill website where the author wrote about using chuck to make corned beef rather than brisket. If chuck works, why not arm roast? Arm roast tends to have a long narrow shape with the muscle fibers going the long direction -- nice for slicing. And it stays tender and moist after a long slow cook.
    • RonB
      Club Member
      • Apr 2016
      • 13142
      • Near Richmond VA
      • Weber Performer Deluxe
        SNS
        Pizza insert
        Rotisserie
        Smokenator 1000
        Cookshack Smokette Elite
        2 Thermapens
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        Dot
        lots of probes.
        CyberQ

      #4
      The next time I make pastrami, I will make a bunch because it's a lot of work no matter how much, (or little), you make.

      Comment

      • HouseHomey
        Club Member
        • May 2016
        • 5437
        • Huntington Beach, Ca. Surf City USA.
        • Equipment
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          Erik S.

        #5
        Oh my world, that looks Spectacular!! Great work! Also it rested up in the fridge.

        Intentionally resting up is a tactic I use ALL THE TIME and I consider it part of the cooking process and account for that time.

        Under refrigeration is a Gangster move. I use that tactic on waygu sliders, whole tenderloins and ribroasts and other things when appropriate.

        Comment


        • IowaGirl
          IowaGirl commented
          Editing a comment
          Might be a "gangster move" for you, but it was a "ta heck with this" move for me. But I'll keep it as a secret weapon to scare the next bitty beef roast that defies me into behaving itself.

          edit -- It does let a person divide a long cook into two shorter ones, should things like sleep and family dare to interfere.
          Last edited by IowaGirl; April 30, 2019, 07:51 AM.

        • holehogg
          holehogg commented
          Editing a comment
          HH for me the less informed and ever eager to learn pse explain what happens or doesn't or you know what I mean while it's refrigerated between cooks.

        • IowaGirl
          IowaGirl commented
          Editing a comment
          holehogg -- Maybe HouseHomey can explain if there are changes in the meat itself when it's refrigerated. I can't help you there. For me, refrigerating the meat after the smoking step and before the steaming step was mainly a welcome breather in the middle of a long process.
      • Skip
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 3530
        • Blue Earth, Minnesota
        • MAK Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates, Mostly Thermoworks Thermometers

        #6
        Nice Pastrami IowaGirl . Until I was a Pit Member I never made pastrami. I will agree with you on cutting back on pepper. As much as my Wife and I like pepper we enjoy a little "milder"pastrami than the original. Good job!

        Comment


        • IowaGirl
          IowaGirl commented
          Editing a comment
          I got the roast at Spring Training, Skip. The pastrami is a nice souvenir of the day ... and I won't have to dust it.
      • Uncle Bob
        Club Member
        • Feb 2019
        • 440
        • Salado, Tx
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        #7
        Good write up, and some humor at your expense. Another endorsement here of the smoke it to 150ish, holdover in the fridge for a day or so, then steam to probe tender (anywhere from 190-205 in my experience). For me it took "just okay" pastrami to "now that's pastrami".

        Comment

        • Thunder77
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 2833
          • Halethorpe, MD
          • Weber 26.75" Kettle with SnS. Broil King Baron 5 burner. Akorn Kamado, and Akorn Jr kamado. Primo Oval Junior. Love grilling steaks, ribs, and chicken. Need to master smoked salmon Favorite cool weather beer: Sam Adams Octoberfest Favorite warm weather beer: Yuengling Traditional Lager All-time favorite drink: Single Malt Scotch

          #8
          Beautiful pastrami! I know the frustration you were having. I now smoke until the stall, then sous vide the rest of the way. If you have a sous vide cooker, I would highly recommend adding that to your pastrami routine. I agree about the pepper. I think I cut mine back by half. I prefer the coriander myself. Keep on making that pastrami!

          Comment


          • SteveRopa
            SteveRopa commented
            Editing a comment
            Can you share a little about your sous vide technique? How high and for how many hours? I always get frustrated at the steaming phase, and was thinking i might sous vide this time.

          • Thunder77
            Thunder77 commented
            Editing a comment
            It should also be noted that the MH recipe calls for coarsely ground pepper. That makes a heck of a difference.

          • IowaGirl
            IowaGirl commented
            Editing a comment
            I did use a coarse grind pepper, but maybe it was on the finer side of coarse.
        • BRic
          Club Member
          • Mar 2017
          • 370
          • Winnipeg Mb. Canada
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          #9
          Looks good , enjoyed reading your write up .

          Comment

          • fzxdoc
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 5259
            • My toys:
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            #10
            Thanks for the nice writeup of your thought process and pastrami adventure, IowaGirl . Sounds like it was a success and it sure looks great.

            Pastrami is my all-time fav of Meathead's recipes. It comes out great every time. But as others have mentioned, smoke several of them at a time, since they lose about half their weight in the smoking process and because they're so good. A few weeks back, I smoked 7 of them! What we don't eat that night (we like pastrami reubens in the panini press), I like to slice after chilled overnight in the fridge. That way I get nice thin uniform slices and I freeze them in easily-consumed portions.

            Congrats on a cook well done. You showed that a wise temporary toss-in of the towel can still lead to great pastrami.

            Kathryn

            Comment


            • HouseHomey
              HouseHomey commented
              Editing a comment
              “What we don’t eat.” I’m not sure what you mean? 😃
          • Troutman
            Club Member
            • Aug 2017
            • 7473
            • aka Troutman Taco - Hanging Free in Tejas

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            #11
            Great looking pastrami on an interesting cut of meat. But I say pour on the pepper, I love it !!

            Comment

            • IowaGirl
              Club Member
              • Dec 2018
              • 664
              • Northeast Iowa, USA

              #12
              I agree with the idea of making a large-ish batch of pastrami at one time. It is almost the same amount of work to do Kathryn's seven versus my one. It would also be a lot more fuel efficient to smoke several at one time.

              I'm glad I did just the one this first time, however. The rub definitely needs to be tweaked, and I'm obviously still learning the ropes of doing a long cook. If I had followed the method mentioned by Uncle Bob to pull the meat out of the smoker at 150 F to then steam to finish, the smoking would have been over at 5.5 hours according to my notes.

              Things that went well were the curing/corning process and how much and how I desalinated the meat. It's pink all the way through and is just salty enough. I'm also quite happy with my choice of arm roast.
              Last edited by IowaGirl; April 30, 2019, 12:15 PM.

              Comment

              • Uncle Bob
                Club Member
                • Feb 2019
                • 440
                • Salado, Tx
                • Summerset TRL44 gas grill and side sear
                  RecTec 590 Stampede
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                #13
                If you're feeling adventuresome on the seasoning I've found adding fresh ground juniper berries to MH's recipe brings the flavor closer to the old, traditional pastrami I'm accustomed to.

                Comment

                • Potkettleblack
                  Club Member
                  • Jun 2016
                  • 1979
                  • Beautiful Downtown Berwyn
                  • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330 / OK Joe Bronco Drum
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                  #14
                  I kind of feel like anything less than 5 lbs raw, pre brine, isn't worth going through the trouble. But then again, I do an equilibrium brine, smoke, sous vide, and smoke again. So, can be a month long proposition. Yeah, 5 lbs raw trimmed or come up with something less time intensive.

                  Comment


                  • Potkettleblack
                    Potkettleblack commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I will admit that I slacked a bit.

                    Equilibrium brine means no need to desalinate, and that you can cure in bag for as long as you like... so, if you can't get to it for 21 days, no big deal.

                    http://curedmeats.blogspot.com/2013/...salt-cure.html

                    Sous viding for 40+ hours with smoking on both ends meant a week between smoke bouts... poor planning or only able to smoke properly on the weekends.

                  • Thunder77
                    Thunder77 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Are we talking only salt, and no other curing agent?

                  • IowaGirl
                    IowaGirl commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You need to read the links in my first post. If you do, you'll learn we're not talking about just salt. You have to use a blend of salt and nitrate to cure meat.
                • holehogg
                  Club Member
                  • Nov 2017
                  • 2486
                  • Port Elizabeth, South Africa

                  #15
                  Superb looking pastrami. Job well done Mam.

                  Comment

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