Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Pastrami from Corned Beef?

Not exactly. Purists can leave now but I managed to make a pretty tasty simulation using a point-cut corned beef.

I used this recipe posted below (video link here) as my guide with several modifications:
  • First of all, I had a tiny 2-lb brisket, so I probably should've halved the proportions but I didn't. I also added the contents of the little packet that came with the brisket, which was mostly coriander seeds, plus a pinch of allspice because that adds a nice rounded note.
  • The recipe calls for triple-wrapping the seasoned brisket but I have trust issues, so I quadruple-wrapped it in heavy-duty foil.
  • The recipe said to bake it for six hours at 225° but I did it for 250° for four and a half hours.
  • Recipe said let it cool overnight but I was busy so it sat in the fridge for two days. 
  • Recipe said take it out, sprinkle leftover rub, then broil, then slice. Nope. I sliced it cold, then sprinkled and broiled. I didn't reheat it with water, either, since it was already pretty moist. The result is pictured above.
Taste was good; definite pastrami notes and the texture was excellent, probably because the source, a point-cut from Aldi, was quite good; well-trimmed and not too salty. (I'd made it as a straight-up corned beef in my pressure cooker a couple of weeks earlier.)

So what would I do differently next time?

Might dry it a bit more before cooking. I realize these things are pumped with liquids but it seemed a bit wet. Also, maybe wrap and cook on low in my slow cooker instead of the oven for economy's sake. I'd also reduce the pepper and use some liquid smoke and more smoked paprika because it just wasn't very smokey.

But overall, I was quite pleased with the result and will press forward in the name of science — and pastrami!

Here's the original recipe I modified.

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