July 17, 2013

Big Green Egg Pastrami Redux

Several people had asked when the pastrami would be making another appearance so I figured it was time to revisit the subject. Last time I did not give Props to the undisputed, trashcan cooking King of the "PRBS"(Puerto Rican Barbecue Society) Sweet Lou for sharing this recipe. Thanks Lou!! I purchased 2 lovely 14 lb. packers and began the process. I started with by making a brine:

2 T whole peppercorns
1 and 1/2 T dry thyme
3 T crumbled bay leaves
2 tsp whole cloves
1/4 cup of minced garlic
6 cups of water
3/4 cup of brown sugar
¾ Cup Kosher salt

Bring the brine to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes and then turn off the heat and put the cover on so it can steep for an hour or so.My kitchen smelled f*&%$#$@ing awesome!!!. While the brine is cooling I separate the brisket into two parts: the point and the flat.  I also remove as much fat and silver skin as I can. This takes some time but the wife likes it lean so(you can place your own metaphor about wives and marriage here). 

Once the brine has cooled to room temperature and not a minute before (You don't want the brine to cook the meat at all) I placed the 4 pieces into an industrial strength garbage bag and pour in the brine. I tied that bag up removing as much air as possible and placed the bag into a cooler and then into the fridge. Every other day or so I would manipulate the pieces around inside the bag to insure equal brineing. 

Since there were 4 pieces I ended up doing three separate cooks and learned a few things along the way. After 9 days I reached into the bag I pulled out one of the "Flats", this is the leaner and more muscular portion of the brisket. It is called the flat cause it is the flat piece when you separate the brisket. I washed this piece off and applied the rub:

Ingredients for the pastrami dry rub:
5 T ground coriander seeds (put them in a food processor)
3 T fresh ground pepper
10 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T yellow mustard seeds
4 T kosher salt (adjust to your liking)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup paprika
2 T ground ginger

Two "Points" on the Egg
I cooked this at 250 for about 6.5 hours in the egg. I used hickory and cherry for smoke and placed a water pan on the plate setter to keep it moist. I was aiming for 185 degrees but it went a little past while I was untying my cleats and was a little dry. Still good flavor. 

That night while surfing the interweb I saw someone putting the pastrami in water overnight to reduce the saltiness.  Ten minutes later I see that crazy spiky haired blonde guy on the food network discussing pastrami in someone's restaurant and his rub was almost exactly the same as mine only he adds allspice!!!  So about 5 days later I reach into the bag and happen to pull out the two "Points" of the brisket (Don't know why they call it the Point!).  

So here we go again, soak in water overnight, I put about 15-20 whole kernels/seeds of all spice into the spice grinder and added it to the rub. Cooked everything the same way on the egg and the results were incredible. The wife and I were heading out of town so I had to share some of the bounty. Jersey Mike happened to stop by the house soon after they were done and I asked if he liked pastrami, his answer was "Kinda, but not really". Six slices later big boy was headed to the supermarket and had a flat in brine 2 days later.  He is a novice smoker and this was a huge undertaking, I hope his results turn out well. The man with the largest arms in BBQ was next. The TrashMan may have to spend a few extra minutes choking people out to burn of the fatty goodness he waffled down. Left some at GranPappy's as well. Two days later I get a message from both him and the Mrs. with rave reviews. The "Point" is clearly the better piece of meat for pastrami. All I can say is, get off your butt and give this a try it is well worth the effort. 

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