Smoking pastrami: I've got questions

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corkybstewart

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I've got 3 2 pound tri-tip corned beef roasts curing right now, they should be ready for Saturday. The plan is to vacuum pack and freeze one, cook one for Sunday dinner, and smoke one for pastrami.
What's a good wood for the pastrami? How long should I plan on? I'll be doing it in my Green Egg so I can get it around 200-225 for very long periods without needing to add charcoal. But I've never smoked a pastrami and I want to do it right so any tips from experienced smokers will be greatly appreciated.
 

TasunkaWitko

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Can't go wrong with oak or hickory, but any nut or fruit hardwood should do just fine. If I could choose any, I'd go with cherry.

As for how long, that's up to the meat and a dozen other little factors. I tell people to estimate 1.5 hours per pound, but in reality it is best to go by internal temperature. If it were me doing this project, I'd go until the internal temperature is 188 degrees; a lot of folks wrap them in foil when they het about 160-ish, then set them back on the heat until the final temperature.

I would then double-wrap it in foil, wrap THAT in towels, and put THAT into a cooler for at least 2 hours before slicing. If you're going to refrigerate it, let it cool down, first then package and refrigerate.
 

TasunkaWitko

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Of those, I personally would go with oak or pecan - save the mesquite for a brisket, and the fruits/almond for some pork, chicken or fish.

Sorry to hear about your trees. :(
 

Dfitz

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I have on hand: oak, pecan, mesquite, peach, almond, apricot and apple(last year's drought was hell on my fruit trees)
Skip the hickory and stick with oak. Tri-tip makes a good pastrami but if you have no religious reasons I'd suggest pork on your next pastrami. Myself, I love a decent fat content to my pastrami. After smoking refrigerate and slice.

Pork Psstrami:
 

Dfitz

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That particular photo was of the copa. The muscle at the top of the shoulder, part of the neck in sorts.
 

ericbw

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I like the idea, too. I have a couple of pork loins that might be good that way. Pork loin cures nicely like ham or Canadian bacon, but it's much lighter than shoulder (coppa). Where do you find coppa? I've gotten it out of a shoulder, but the way they are cut, they're short, not the full muscle.
 
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corkybstewart

corkybstewart

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So I smoked my pastrami Saturday, and it was better than I hoped for, except one issue. It's too salty for my wife to eat. We are both very used to a moderate-low salt diet, her more than me because I apparently am the reason for her high blood pressure:D. How do you balance the salt required to cure the meat with the final flavor being too salty?
 

dirtybear7

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So I smoked my pastrami Saturday, and it was better than I hoped for, except one issue. It's too salty for my wife to eat. We are both very used to a moderate-low salt diet, her more than me because I apparently am the reason for her high blood pressure:D. How do you balance the salt required to cure the meat with the final flavor being too salty?
First Yum! Next time try soaking the corned beef in water overnight before rubbing with the pastrami spices. You can even change the water a few times. This helps desalinate the meat. Here is a link to a recipe/process I like:
http://amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/close_to_katzs_home_made_pastrami.html
 

Staestc

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First Yum! Next time try soaking the corned beef in water overnight before rubbing with the pastrami spices. You can even change the water a few times. This helps desalinate the meat. Here is a link to a recipe/process I like:
http://amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/close_to_katzs_home_made_pastrami.html
I second DirtyBear's advice. Best site and recipe available for corned beef and pastrami! Only recipe I have used for pastrami and it never fails to be awesome! :mug:
 

ericbw

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First Yum! Next time try soaking the corned beef in water overnight before rubbing with the pastrami spices. You can even change the water a few times. This helps desalinate the meat. Here is a link to a recipe/process I like:
http://amazingribs.com/recipes/beef/close_to_katzs_home_made_pastrami.html
This is definitely a must for most cured meats. If you boil your corned beef, it loses the saltiness, but most meat is not boiled for 3 hours.

With anything else, I fill a pot with cold water and give it an overnight soak. Then let it dry in the fridge for a day, then smoke it.
 

WarEagleBrewer

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Did you wet cure (brine) or dry cure (rub)? I've found that brining makes a big difference in the level of saltiness and you can control the amount of salt in the brine. Trial and error is the fun part though! I make pastrami with venison backstraps. Do a search for "Pop's Brine" on the smokingmeatforums.com.
 
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