Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Pastrami Again?

Mad Mad Pastrami King
Even in these epicurean times when food is the forefront of just about everything I always come back to Pastrami. Pastrami is the measure of all things cured. Nothing fancy, nothing crazy, something simple know as Pastrami makes the world go round. To say that I love pastrami is an understatement. 

I have a many recipes dedicated to Pastrami using several techniques using all kinds of meats. If your're interested in those details take a look here

 This post will not provide a huge amount of detail so if you're looking for specificity click on the link above. This post is about recording what I love to do. These posts are are liken to a diary but my diary happens to be about food. BTW-In case you're interested the picture above is a point.

Just purchased a whole packer from Costco. I have never used Prime Brisket from Costco so this will be a first. 

Trimmed off quite a bit of fat. At first I wasn't going to separate the Point from the Flat but there was so much fat. The fat layers was a concerned of mine in that the cure wouldn't penetrate all the way through. If I was just BBQ'ing this Packer it wouldn't have been an issue. Anyhow I saved all the fat for another project.

The Pastrami cure and rub can be found HERE
Heat whole spices in skillet and cool. After cooling grind up. 

First things first. Place brisket (Flat and Point) in large container.
Lets get started. I combined the cure and salt in a bowl and blended them well and than proceeded to cover the meat packing them gettiinto every nook and cranny. Add the ground up ingredients to the remaining ingredients and mix well. Like before cover the meat getting it into every nook and cranny. Note: I measured out precise amounts for both the Point and Flat separately. Place brisket in separate Vac bags. Flip everyday for 15-21 days and give it a good whack.


When the brisket is fully cure (15-21 days) remove from bag and rinse thoroughly and dry. 
"Before cured foods are smoked, they should be allowed to air-dry long enough to form a tacky skin, known as a pellicle. The pellicle plays a key role in producing excellent smoked items. It acts as a kind of protective barrier for the food, and also plays an important role in capturing the smoke’s flavor and color."

Apply the pastrami rub and proceed to the next step.

Cold Smoke for at least 10 hours!!!! If you don't have a cold smoker A-Mazen-Smokers are awesome for this application.

This is a critical step!!! After you have completed the cold smoking it's all down hill from here. Seeing how I never have spare time I normally refrigerate my cold smoked meat until the following day. Anyhow, vac seal the Pastrami and get the SV up and running for the anticipated long immersion.

After trials and misgivings about time and temps I think I have finally nailed down the temps and times. That being said I think I have made well over 250 lbs of Pastrami to reach these new numbers (explains waist line too). Drum roll please... 142 f for 40-44 hours. Ta-da..... The lower temp ( 148 vs 142 f) and the lower time (48 vs max 40-44 hrs) produces a moister better textured Pastrami. After the long haul in the SV I shock the Pastrami and refrigerated until I was ready to apply Hot-Smoke. 

Are you still with me? Remove Pastrami from Vac bags and dry off meat a bit. Apply more rub and lots more coarse pepper. I love pepper!! 

Get the smoker up and running for the Hot-Smoke. The weather was awesome so I was able to use my Custom Modified Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker. Yes I am bragging here. If the weather had turned to crap I would have used my propane smoker but you can't beat Charcoal and wood. Anyhow smoke the cold meat at 200-225 f degrees until an internal temp of 142-145 is reached. Do not go above 145 f. Don't forget we SV'd at 142 f. The reason why we start out with cold meat is to delay the meat reaching the final temp of 145 f which allows the meat to stay in the smoker for a longer time.

All done!!! Check out that bark. It came out perfect. I had my Mise en place all ready to go which means rye bread and mustard. 

What can I say other than it came out great!!!

Note- I am not a fan of cold pastrami so I always warm the meat up in a pan with a touch of water.