Non Smoked Pastrami

Pastrami is a delicious spicy  piece of cured beef that has been rubbed with a selection of herbs and spices and then smoked, it is then sliced very thin and can be served hot or cold, it is of course ,possible to make this at home, but the actual smoking of the meat is of course the problem to the majority of household in the UK.

I have cured my own ham for some time now and thought that I would like to try pastrami, but lacking a smoker, I searched the internet and came up with several ideas, and devised the following recipe.

After purchasing a piece of beef Brisket that weighed around the 3 lb mark  (1360 grams)

A Piece of Beef Brisket

Cured Brisket of Beef has been traditionally cured by salt pellicules resembling grains of corn, hence the title corned beef.

In the method that I use, the meat is cured in a solution of water, salt, sugar, spices and Cure#1 also known as prague powder #1. it is the same method that I use to cure ham and bacon.

In the following method, I  use a plastic food grade zip-lock bag just big enough to take the piece of meat comfortably,

I purchase my bags from the UK 99p stores and they are a bargain


at only 99 pence and that includes 6 assorted sized bags and a vacuum pump,

and they can be re-used several times

Anyway back to the task in hand

I make up my cure solution by reducing the amount of water to typically 500 grams and thus I can reduce the amount of cure#1  and other ingredients that I have to use, saving both on the cost of ingredients as well as the space taken up in the fridge.

This is the type of marinade injector that I use

Once the meat has been injected it is placed in the bag with the cure solution and sealed but it will need turning over every day to ensure an even dispersion of cure in the meat.

The amount of cure #1 that is used is directly in proportion to the amount of water used so if we can reduce the amount of water, we can reduce the amount of cure#1 used, as it is the strength of the solution that is important.

The cure is mixed according to the calculator a link to which is on the usefull web site page 

Take 1/2 the quantity of water and bring to the boil, add all the ingredients except the Cure#1 and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved, when dissolved add the rest of the water and when cooled add the cure#1 and stir until dissolved.  We then strain some of the cure liquid equivalent to  10% of the weight of the meat, which in our case will be 136 grams.

Place the meat on a tray and inject the 136 grams of cure into the meat with a marinade injector, if it runs out re-inject until you are sure that it has reached saturation point.

Place the meat into the plastic bag and pour in the un-strained  cure, add the residue of the cure from the tray, exclude as much air from the bag as possible and seal the bag.

You will need to turn and meat over every day for the amount of days shown in the cure calculator.

The Meat In cure in its zip-lock bag

 After the meat has cured remove from bag and rinse well under a cold tap, dry well with kitchen towel  cover loosely and place in fridge for 3 hours, after which time wrap in clingfilm and return to the fridge for 24 hours.

You can now just boil or poach the meat for use as traditional boiled beef and carrots or read on and turn it into Pastrami

3lb or 1360 grams Joint of Beef Brisket,

2 tablespoons coarse black pepper,

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tabelspoons ground coriander.

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine the powdered paprika, corriander and garlic  powder and put into a spice shaker, this will help distribute the spices evenly and sprinkle on all sides of the meat 

Rub in well using your hands, the use of surgical gloves here is important. 

Sprinkle the flaked chillies and press onto the surface

of the meat.

Press in the black pepper giving an even coating,  press in with hands or a fork.

Preheat your oven to 200 deg c.

Lightly oil a large piece of heavy-duty foil,  place the meat on and fold up all four sides and wrap it into a tight package, turn it over and repeat approx 4 times we want to end up with  4 layers of foil.

Only the first layer of foil needs to be oiled.

Place in the centre of the oven and cook for 30 mins then turn oven down to 125 deg c and roast slowly for approx 3 hours 30 mins. 

Remove from oven when cooked, (check with a food temperature probe through the foil if you wish, it should be 75 deg c minimum).

Pierce the foil and allow any liquid to drain out, cool as quickly as possible using a fan, or seal in a plastic bag and immerse in cold water until cooled, when cold refrigerate overnight, twenty four hours is even better.

During that long slow cooking and the subsequent standing in the fridge, the smoked paprika has given the meat a smoked taste. The coriander and black pepper give it a pastrami type flavour.

 Unwrap the parcel,  if you do not want it too spicy then wipe some of the spices off, and slice it like that or you can leave the rub on put it in a hot oven for 15 minutes at 220 deg c.  until the crust has firmed.

Either way, slice it thin.

 This is delicious hot or cold, to reheat place in foil in a steamer.


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