This is a membership forum. As a guest, you can click around a bit. View 5 pages for free. If you would like to participate, please join.

[ Pitmaster Club Information | Join Now | Login | Contact Us ]

There are 4 page views remaining.


No announcement yet.

Brisket and Pastrami Questions

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Brisket and Pastrami Questions

    Well we have now moved way beyond sausage making and " y Mas" to all our online sales pitch in Ecuador. Finally got the smoker working correctly ( new burner and a needle valve regulator). Now sits all day on 225 degrees.
    Two new things I need some help with. One is that I have missed smoked brisket the way it is done in Texas. So, nice old style dry rub ( Adkins BBQ rub) , overnight in the fridge, on my BGE at 225 and smoke for 7 hrs. No pics, but that great Texas taste. So I decided that maybe I could package and sell some of this down here. Vac packed one brisket and sold several lbs. Most posted positive, but one customer wrote back privately that it was as "tough as shoe leather". Now I usually don't have any left over to freeze, so I have no experience with freezing smoked brisket. I apologized to the customer and offered his money back. He declined and opted to try it again. I gladly obliged. He then reported back again that it was inedible, tough as shoe leather but great taste. Refunded the money for both. Anyone have experience with freezing smoked brisket? Am I doing something wrong? He says he defrosted by dropping the package into boiling water until it was soft. I have 2 packages out now and will try them tonight. Slow defrost for me.

    Second question. Now doing pastrami. Same customer says he opened one package and had let it defrost during the day. He says that the pastrami was slimy and smelled rancid. He says he tried the second package with the same results. That was the last of that run, so I can't check for myself, but we have had nothing but rave reviews from others. HMMM?
    Pastrami is close to Meatheads,but I can't just copy, so I played for 6 mos. with variances as I find small changes sometimes work wonders. Mine is brined for 14 days, 4 + inch brisket points and flats, soaked in clean water for 14- 18 hrs, dry rubbed, then back to cooler for 24 hrs. then smoked at 225 degrees hanging past the stall, with a hard bark, cooled over night, then steamed for 4 hrs or until fork tender, back to cooler for overnight, then sliced and vac packed and straight to the freezer. Sliced and packed 30 lbs yesterday and left a few slices out on the counter overnight. Low here was 73 degrees last night. This morning all that had happened was that it dryed out. Then my dogs ate it. They said it was great Not sure how you get pastrami slimy and rancid.
    Question 3. Pastrami yield. Above pastrami made this week above in question 2, started as whole ,untrimmed briskets, which I cut and trimmed after the corned beef cure. I started wit 14 whole briskets, some were smaller and thin, so I packed them for corned beef. The rest I left to cure for another 7 days. There were 14 pieces totaling about 60 + lbs after the cure.End result was 30 Lbs. of sliced and packed pastrami. I always wondered why pastrami was so expensive. 21 days start to finish, cost of meat, spices, package and a small profit, wow. I sell for $11 a lb. I hear it is #20 in the states.
    However, yield was the question . 60 + lbs of meat = 30 lbs of product. 50% yield?

    Thanks for the help.

    Stay Safe


    The solution is not to sell to this customer anymore.

    Seems he can't get out of his own way.


    • Jfrosty27
      Jfrosty27 commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree. Defrost in boiling water? Small wonder it’s like shoe leather. Leaves it sit out? Again, no surprise it’s slimy and rancid. The guy is luck he didn’t get sick

    The customer sez it's bad but keeps coming back? Something ain't right. I agree with the above. Politely tell the customer that you're done with him.
    Last edited by RonB; August 1, 2020, 07:28 PM.


      "He says he defrosted by dropping the package into boiling water until it was soft. I have 2 packages out now and will try them tonight. Slow defrost for me."

      Problem right there. Brisket is done between 190-206F normally. Now you are putting it in boiling water 212F till it is soft?

      Why was it not soft before? Was it not probe tender? You only need to reheat it sufficiently to eat not boil the beeeeezes out if it.

      14 days for Pastrami in the salumera? yikes!!! I do mine in 5 days.
      Last edited by Ahumadora; July 31, 2020, 06:06 PM.


      • texastweeter
        texastweeter commented
        Editing a comment
        I dry cure my pastrami for 14 days. Never wet brine. Is that a long time?

      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        Sounded like he was boiling it to defrost it quickly, with the "as you surmised" side-effect of cooking the bejeezus out of it.

      Yep, most all my same thoughts, now. I worried a lot about what did I do wrong on these, but after putting it in writing... Sorta makes sense as you guys say.
      Thanks for the support.

      Your cure your pastrmi in 5 days or go from start to finish?


        I have to agree with the 14 days, sounds too long. I do brisket flats in 3-5 days, 7 tops. Did you follow Dr. Blonder’s calculator? Letting your meat sit in a 35* refrigerator in solution can begin to be a little on the risky side.

        On yield I consistently see 35-40% lose in yield. Your 50% is not surprising.


        • Ahumadora
          Ahumadora commented
          Editing a comment

        Couple of question/thoughts:
        1) When you say brisket are you talking about a full packer (point + flat), flat only, or point only?
        2) What is the quality of meat? Prime, Choice, Select?
        3) 7 hours at 225? I cook hot and fast (275-300) and my briskets are usually done in 6-8 hours. I seriously doubt your brisket is done in that short amount time if you are cooking at 225. At least not probe tender done (~200 degrees internal).
        4) I have no problem reheating meat in a vaccuum sealed bag in hot water - that’s the way I do it because the meat stays moist and has better flavor vs reheating in the microwave. Now I am also reheating sliced or pulled/chopped meat and not a whole brisket. If he’s reheating the whole brisket that way, then that’s a problem. Maybe pre-slice the brisket before freezing.

        Good luck!


        • EdF
          EdF commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, I thought the 7 hours was on the short side too. But then I read the part about boiling it to defrost and figure that's the real villain.

        The 50% yield is in the expected range from my experience (which isn't huge with this cut, but enough).


          I buy packer full briskets. If I had to guess, I would say middle choice grade. This is Ecuador where you can pick any side road and in less than 10K down you will find a stand with a 1/2 beef or pork hanging for sale, all or by the pound. Straight out of the sellers sparse few animals. No grade, no feed lot, no grain. Maybe some fish meal to help with fat.
          I by mine from a 85 yea rold man from S. Carolina who has a full butcher shop, an operating feed lot, corn fed, dry aged for 2 weeks. Pretty good beef, but no prime here.
          I separate the points and flats and the brine by thickness. 3" and less brines for 7 days, 4- 5 " brines for up to 14 days. I brine in food grade buckets with 3- 4 pieces in each bucket, labeled with the finish date. Rinse and back to the washed bucket, in fresh water for 24 hrs. Then out ,rinsed, dry rubbed, and back in the cooler for 24 hrs.
          Then it is smoked at 225 until it hits an internal temp of 15 degrees. Out of the smoker, into the cooler for 24hrs. Then wrapped in foil and steam to 205 degrees or fork tender. back to the cooler for 24 hrs, then sliced, vaced and into the freezer.
          All of the above follows Meat Heads Katz receipt pretty closely.
          Our website goes into detail about the thawing process, refrige overnight , then steamed til hot and serve.

          Never said that boiled the meat. Statement that is what my customer did. Re- read the post, please.


            I dry brine pastrami with an equilibrium brine in a vac pack. Takes a week or two. No rush no worries. I wouldn’t wet brine anything that long.



            No announcement yet.
            Rubs Promo
            Meat-Up in Memphis