We’re big meat lovers in our house. We’ve tried all sorts of things over the years but until now, we’ve never tried cured meat. For our first attempt we thought we’d go with one of the best; pastrami.
If you didn’t know, pastrami is beef which is cured in a brine, rubbed in a spice mix then slow cooked. I’ve seen it mentioned that pastrami is smoked – apparently not smoking it makes it corned beef but I’m not sure how accurate that is, so I’m going to keep calling what we made pastrami!
Lucy knew I wanted to make this (as did she) so she got the process going. She researched recipes and found this one from Tori Avey. She also found a website, Surfy’s Home Curing Supplies, which makes premixed salt/pink salt which saves the hassle of both getting hold of pink salt and measuring it yourself! Lucy had messaged the owners, asking for some advice between the curing salts. The reply was quick, informative and they threw in a couple of recipes, just in case we didn’t know where to start. This website has a good selection of products for curing a variety meats, so we’ll definitely be visiting again!
We popped to our local supermarket and picked up a nice big piece of brisket. Brisket is perfect for slow cooking as it’s a hard working cut from the chest of the animal. The piece we got was over 2.5kg so it was a little bigger than the recipe asked for. We did however keep the measurements for the brine the same.
I trimmed the excess fat off the brisket and cut it in half so it could fit in our containers – we ended up using the two drawers from the fridge as they were a perfect size.
We mixed the salt/pink salt mixture with spices and vinegar and brought it to the boil, combined it with some ice cold water then put it in the fridge to cool down. Once it had cooled we put the brisket in it, weighed it down with a bowl and covered it over with clingfilm.
From this point there wasn’t a lot to do. Each day we uncovered, flipped the brisket and then recovered it.
The recipe says about 5 days in the cure but we left ours for 7 which worked to our schedule.
Once the curing was complete we removed the brisket from the brine and placed it onto the tray it was to be cooked on.
We mixed up the spices for the rub but as it was a bigger bit of meat we made a little extra than the recipe called for – around a third of a cup of ground coriander, 3 tablespoons of smoked paprika, same of normal paprika and 4-5 tables spoons of freshly crushed black pepper. We applied this to the brisket and left it to come to room temperature before putting a few cups of water in the bottom of the pan, covering in foil and then cooking for a few hours at 150 degrees Celsius.
After 2.5 hours we got a little impatient and took it out of the over. I used our meat thermometer and found that the internal temperature was right. It sliced really nicely but still gave too much chew so we decided to put it back in. Another 2 hours at 150 and then we turned the oven off and left the meat in the oven overnight.
By the morning it was perfect. It cut really well and you could pull it apart by hand. It was melt in the mouth perfect. It smelt, looked and tasted great!
The recipe states that the meat will last a week in the fridge…ours definitely won’t last that long!
What goes great with pastrami? Bagels. So I baked some bagels using the recipe I used here.
I’ll definitely be making this again but next, we’re trying our own smoked bacon!