Homemade Pastrami

May 25, 2024Thomas Lippolis
Homemade Pastrami


1x  5 pound brisket flat, 1.5 inches thick

Corned Beef Brine

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 quart apple juice
  • 1 ½ cups coarse kosher or sea salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3.2 teaspoons SPQR pink curing salt #1 Also known as Prague Powder #1
  • 3 Tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 quart ice

Pastrami Seasoning

  • 2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons SPQR smoked paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder


  • Make the corned beef brine. In a large stock pot, combine all of the ingredients for the brine except the ice. Bring to a boil and stir until all of the salt and sugar has dissolved in the brine. Remove from the heat and stir in the ice until the brine has cooled to room temperature.
    2 quarts water, 1 quart apple juice, 1 ½ cups coarse kosher or sea salt, ½ cup brown sugar, 3.2 teaspoons pink curing salt #1, 3 Tablespoons pickling spice, 1 quart ice
  • Cure the corned beef. Place the brisket in a large food-safe plastic container and pour over the cooled brine. Keep the brisket in the cure in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, turning and stirring the brine mixture at least once per day.
    1 5 pound brisket flat, 1.5 inches thick
  • Make the pastrami seasoning. In a small saute pan over medium heat, combine the coriander seed, mustard seed, and peppercorns. Toast the spices for 2-3 minutes or until just fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and pulse until well combined. Stir in the remaining rub ingredients.
    2 Tablespoons black peppercorns, 2 Tablespoons coriander seeds, 1 Tablespoon whole mustard seeds, 2 Tablespoons coarse kosher or sea salt, 2 Tablespoons SPQR smoked paprika, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • Season the pastrami. Coat the cured brisket in the pastrami rub and wrap tightly. For best results, let the roast sit in the pastrami rub in your refrigerator for 1-2 days (on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any moisture).
  • Smoke the pastrami. Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F. Unwrap the pastrami and place it directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature of the brisket reads 195 degrees F. This typically takes anywhere from 6-8 hours.
  • Slice and serve. If you want to enjoy your pastrami immediately, let the brisket rest for 1 hour before slicing against the grain and enjoying warm. Otherwise, wrap the smoked pastrami in plastic wrap and chill completely before slicing thin, against the grain. Your pastrami slices can then be steamed lightly to warm through before piling high on your favorite rye bread with sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.

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