If you’ve ever visited New York, you’re likely familiar with the delectable pastrami sandwiches – generously filled with flavorful, thinly sliced beef, accompanied by pickles and mustard. It’s no wonder that these hearty sandwiches are now becoming a common sight at various street food markets.
Yet, what remains a lesser-known fact is that crafting pastrami in the comfort of your own kitchen is entirely achievable. Granted, a bit of patience is required during the preparation, as the meat needs several days to rest within a vacuum-sealed bag. However, the process of creating pastrami from scratch isn’t intricate, and the necessary tools are quite manageable. Alongside a vacuum sealer, you’ll require a method for smoking the meat. In the absence of a dedicated smoker, a regular kettle grill can serve the purpose just as well.
In the following article, we unveil the mystery behind pastrami and provide a simple guide for producing this New York delicacy in your own home!
The Origins of Pastrami Tracing Its Journey
While pastrami has become synonymous with New York, its roots can be traced back to Romania. The term may also find its origins in Romanian language, conveying the idea of “preservation.” The preparation method aims to prolong the meat’s shelf life. In the 19th century, Jewish immigrants introduced this distinctive delicacy to the United States.
Choosing the Right Meat for Pastrami
Pastrami is crafted by meticulously tenderizing and preserving beef through a series of intricate processes. In the United States, the conventional choice is a marbled brisket cut. In Germany, where beef brisket tends to be leaner, an alternative option is boiled fillet.
A Guide to Preparing Pastrami at Home
This guide offers step-by-step instructions for preparing pastrami using either boiled beef fillet or beef brisket (minimum 2 kg) as your base ingredient. The required spice quantities are calculated per kilogram of meat.
- 10g freshly ground black Kampot pepper
- 7g colored pepper
- 30g pickling salt
- 1.5 tsp garlic granules
- 1.5 tsp ground coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp ginger powder
- 1 tsp freshly ground black Kampot pepper
- 1.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch of chili flakes
- 1 tsp coarsely ground coriander
- 1 pinch of ginger powder
- 1 pinch of garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp Aglio Olio spice mix
Begin by thoroughly cleaning the boiled fillet and eliminating any excess fat. Next, craft the curing mixture and generously apply it to cover the entire boiled fillet. Individually vacuum-seal each section of the boiled fillet.
- CURING AND RESTING
Now, patience is key. Place the vacuum-sealed meat in the refrigerator for 7 days to facilitate the curing process. Rotate the meat daily to ensure even distribution of the curing mixture. After the 7-day period, thoroughly wash off the curing mixture and soak the fillet in cold water for 1 hour.
- APPLICATION OF THE RUB
Prepare the rub using the specified ingredients. Thoroughly massage the meat pieces with the rub and then vacuum-seal them once again. Allow the meat to rest in the refrigerator for 2 days to let the flavors of the rub infuse.
Pastrami can be smoked through various techniques, but we’re focusing on hot smoking here. This can be accomplished using either a smoker or a conventional kettle grill. Preheat the grill or smoker to 100°C using indirect heat, and smoke the meat until its core temperature reaches 68°C. Once the desired core temperature is attained, take the pastrami out of the grill/smoker and let it cool.
- REST PERIOD
Give the pastrami a final vacuum-sealing in LAVA cryovac rolls. Then allow it to rest in the refrigerator for approximately 5 days. Then, the moment you’ve been waiting for arrives – it’s time to slice and savor your homemade pastrami!
Enjoy the process of recreating this delectable treat!
Tip: For optimal results, consider vacuum-sealing your homemade pastrami in individual portions on wooden boards, akin to how salmon is presented. This approach maintains the pastrami’s shape and allows for convenient storage in either the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to indulge.
To fully savor the rich flavours of pastrami, remember to slice it thinly. Additionally, prior to serving, take the pastrami out of the fridge and allow it to rest for a brief period to unlock its complete taste potential.