Friday, July 20, 2018

Homemade Pastrami

Last March, just before St. Patrick’s Day, when the corned beef was on sale everywhere, I bought two of them. Why, I asked myself, should I just buy one? Why, when I love this so much, do I only make it once a year? Right then and there, I vowed to take a walk on the wild side and buy two. And so I did. I turned one into a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day dinner, the other I put into the freezer. I had completely forgotten about that second corned beef, until I attempted to shove something into my way-too-full freezer, and it dislodged itself and landed on my naked toe. A 4-pound corned beef can do a lot of damage when landing on an innocent toe, but I digress.

It seemed like no accident that this dislodged itself on the same day that I found a recipe online for homemade pastrami. I had never eaten pastrami before, but I used to read Ellery Queen books, and he and his dad used to eat pastrami sandwiches from a New York deli all of the time. I used to ask the late Mr. O-P why we never had pastrami (he was the grocery shopper in our house), and was told that he never got it locally because it was always fatty. Huh, my mother used to say the same thing, so up until now, I have led a pastrami-less life.

But, as I said, I occasionally like to take a walk on the wild side, so I decided I was going to make this recipe. I mentioned this to my number two son, who enjoys cooking a good deal. He eagerly awaited results.  I told him that it was juicy, tender, flavorful, delicious, but because I had never eaten pastrami, I honestly couldn’t say how good it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was excellent, but did it taste like pastrami, who knew? So, I asked him what pastrami tasted like. He told me that it tasted a lot like corned beef, except it has a wonderful spicy seasoning on top that gave it zing and flavor. Bingo! That’s exactly how this tastes!
Despite a recipe that looks a bit lengthy, this could not have been easier to prepare. Before I went to bed one night I put it into the crockpot to let it slow cook all night long and into the morning, and awakened to a heavenly aroma. After that, all I needed to do was remove it to the refrigerator for six or more hours, and then bake it. Honestly, the hands-on time here was probably only about 10 minutes. What fabulous results, for such little prep time.

Whether you like pastrami, or whether you don’t, you are going to love this. I didn’t have any rye bread, but next time I’m going to plan ahead. There is a fabulous German bakery not far from my house that makes the most amazing rye bread that is only available one day a week. Next time I’m working around them.
Homemade Pastrami
As seen on the blog Recipe Tin Eats

1 4-pound corned beef, with a thick fat cap

Spice Mix:
 4 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper*
2 tablespoons coriander powder
1 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder

*I used
Melissa’s Organic Rainbow Peppercorn Grinder, it yields the freshest, most delicious pepper.

In a small bowl, combine spice mix ingredients; spread mix out onto a tray. Remove beef from packaging, pat dry, and then roll in spice mix, coating completely.

Place beef, fat side down, on top of a large sheet of heavy-duty foil. Wrap carefully, and then repeat again with another sheet of foil. Flip the beef so that the fat is on top.

Place rack in slow cooker (I used
this one), place foil-wrapped beef on rack. Slow cook for 10 hours on “low.”

Remove beef, cool for one hour, then refrigerate for 6+ hours. Reserve juices in slow cooker (optional).

Unwrap beef, place on rack on tray, place beef on top of rack, bake for 30 minutes at 350° until spice crust is set. Remove from oven to a cutting board and slice finely. If desired, place some pastrami in a dish, spoon reserved juices over top, cover and microwave to warm, if desired.
Pile high on toasted rye bread slathered with plenty of mustard and a pickle along side, use in Reuben sandwiches, or just enjoy as is. It’s hard to stop eating it. This will kick the offerings from your local deli (unless your local deli is Katz’s in New York) right to the curb. You don’t need them anymore.

You might want to top your pastrami with My Favorite Mustard Sauce.

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Marigene said...

Oh my gosh, that is one gorgeous piece of meat! So simple, too.
I used to do my corned beef in the crockpot or on top of the stove...but several years back I started just wrapping it in heavy foil and doing it in the oven for 4-5 hours and it has always come out looking like your photo. I think next time I will use your spice mix to see if it comes out like pastrami, which is one of my favorites. I always take as much fat off as I can, that stuff grosses me out!

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Mine was very lean. It really didn't have the fat cap that the recipe called for. The seasoning was wonderful, and refrigerating it did help in the slicing, which is the purpose. It was DELISH!

The Lazy Gastronome said...

Absolutely have to try this! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner Party.

Linda said...

We love pastrami! We had pastrami sandwiches in NYC that were (literally) 4 inches thick! I made corned beef about 20 years ago, and it was very good. I've never thought about making pastrami, but I'll bookmark your recipe to give it a go sometime.

The Lazy Gastronome said...

Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party!! You were in the top four most visited posts and will be featured at tomorrow's party!!