Homemade Pastrami aka THE BEAST! {Recipe – Homemade Pastrami}

I thought I would give making homemade pastrami a go after recently visiting New York for the second time. We went to Carnegie Hall Deli the home to the most amazing pastrami on rye sandwiches. You have the option to double the amount of the meat, which means you have an epic tower of pastrami goodness to plough through! Delish!
I adapted the recipe I used from the Guardian food section and had to utilise the fact I work in a food factory but a very easy recipe, that takes a few 10 min sessions of prep then let it do its own thing. I became close to my pastrami over the madness around the lead up to the Christmas holiday and affectionately called mine the Beast… name not necessarily required to make this….  
Homemade Pastrami
The beautiful piece of brisket
Homemade Pastrami Stock
The deliciously flavoured brine
Homemade Pastrami
The Beast over the soaked wood chips
Homemade Pastrami
The Beast all finished and delicious!
Homemade Pastrami aka THE BEAST!
Recipe Type: Meaty
Author: foodnerd4life
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Adapted from The Guardian
  • 1.5kg beef brisket
  • 50g honey
  • Brine Ingredients
  • 2litre water
  • 200g salt
  • 75g sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 13g pickling spice (I mixed mace, allspice, juniper, coriander, ginger, dried chilli and just a couple of cloves)
  • Spice Rub
  • 10g each of black peppercorns and coriander seeds
  1. Place the brisket into a heavy-duty freezer bag. (I didn’t have any large enough so ended up taking mine to work to use the vacuum packer to seal mine. If you don’t have a food factory to hand, use a large container that has an airtight seal). Pour over the honey and set aside.
  2. In a large pan, bring the water, salt, sugar, bay leaves and pickling spice combination to a boil and leave to cool. Once cool, ladle the brine over the meat and seal in the freezer bag or seal the container making sure the meat is covered.
  3. Place in the fridge and turn the meat daily for 5 days.
  4. After 5 days, remove the brisket from the brine and pat dry, put to one side. In a bowl, soak some wood chips for 20 minutes in cold water. (I used mesquite wood chips, which worked well and gently flavoured the pastrami without overpowering it). Crush the black peppercorns and coriander seeds (which oddly smells just like pastrami without the beef!), massage the spice mixture all over the beef.
  5. Oven to 70C. Line a big tray with plenty of foil, drain the wood chips and place on the tray with a rack on top. Place the BEAST on top of the rack over the chips. Tightly wrap the tray with more heavy duty tin foil. Place in the oven and depending on the weight of the brisket, smoke for as long as possible, 45 minutes to an hour per pound of brisket. Until the internal temperature is 165C.
  6. Once smoked, loosely unwrap a corner of the foil, and add a few centimetres of boiling water to the base of the tin, re-wrap. Oven to 120C. Return to the oven and cook for another 3 hours.
  7. The BEAST is finally ready!! And boy is it worth the wait! We attacked it as soon as it had cooked as it smelt so good when it was cooking. But if you can wait a little longer for it to cool, pile wafer thin slices on top of rye bread, lather up with mustard and topped with plenty of beautifully sliced gherkins. Trust me, once you’ve put in the mild effort into making this, you’ll never go back to the slimy pink slices you get at supermarkets. Enjoy!
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