October 27, 2013


Hi, everyone!  I hope all of you are doing well!  Sorry that I had an impromptu blogging hiatus.  The last month turned a little crazier than expected with some home renovation projects, but I am enjoying my home even more now that everything is done.  :)

When I visited my best friend in New York, we had lunch at Katz's Delicatessen, home of the infamous lunch scene from When Harry Met Sally.  Each week, they serve 10,000 pounds of pastrami.  It just melts in your mouth, and you don't even need bread to go with it.  Needless to say, Katz's sets the bar high for pastrami.

After getting a smoker from my friends (Thanks, Jenn and Ben!!), pastrami was first on my list to try.  I spent some time reading about other food bloggers' experiences with pastrami.  While many people often use a larger cut of meat to make pastrami, since this was my first go, I opted to use a smaller cut.

Because this required some spices that were not in my spice cabinet, I paid a visit to Savory Spice Shop.  Savory Spice Shop is a Denver owned spice business, and they have locations all over the US now.  They have every spice imaginable, and they will sell you the spices in whatever amount you need.  It's nice not having to buy an entire jar when you only need a few teaspoons.  Originally, I planned to just buy spices to make my own picking spice, but when I saw their pickling spice blend, I decided to just get that instead.  It smelled so flavorful, so I knew it would be great for this.

The first step?  Make the brine!  I used my large French oven to make the brine because was the perfect size to hold the brisket.   After you make the brine, you refrigerate it, and once cold, you then add the brisket into the brine.  I used a dinner plate to weigh down the brisket so that it remained submerged.  You can let the brisket sit in the fridge for a few days, but time helps make the flavor better, so I let the brisket sit for a week.

I used a stovetop smoker, and it only took about an hour to smoke the brisket.  It was a perfect Sunday dinner, and all of my friends enjoyed it.  If you have any recipe ideas for a smoker, I'm all ears. :)


6 oz. Kosher salt
3 oz. granulated sugar
2 tsp. pink salt (sodium nitrate)
1 tbsp. honey
5 gloves garlic, smashed
2 tbsp. pickling spice
1 5-pound beef brisket

For the rub:
1 tbsp. peppercorn
1 tbsp. pickling spice or toasted coriander seed

In a pot large enough to hold the brisket, combine 1 gallon of water with the Kosher salt, sugar, honey, sodium nitrate, garlic, and pickling spice.  Bring it to a simmer, and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.  Remove from heat, and allow it to cool to room temperature.  Then, refrigerate until chilled.

After the brine is cold, place the brisket in the brine, and place a plate on top to weight it down so that the brisket remains submerged.  Cover the pot.  Refrigerate for seven days.

Remove from the brisket from the brine, and pat it dry with paper towels.  Coat the brisket with the rub spices.  Smoke and cook the brisket until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF.  Slice and serve.

Source: Adapted from Michael Ruhlman and From Belly to Bacon


  1. I can't contemplate what it's like to sell 10,000 pounds of any meat. It's gotta be good!

    Yours looks melt-in-your-mouth good!

  2. I participated in a year long event making items from Ruhlman's book including corned beef and pastrami. Next up I suggest bacon. It's amazing and not any more trouble than pastrami; I don't even smoke mine. I do add some bourbon though. :)

  3. Holy Cow! You sure are brave- I would have never ventured to try making something like this on my own. Looks great!

  4. I'm glad you posted a new recipe- I kept checking your blog to see if something new was up- looks like you were busy! Maybe I should buy a smoker- when I smoked some duck breasts recently, I used a large wok with a lid to smoke the duck in tea leaves. Thanks for the tip on the Savory Spice Shop- the last time I bought a bottle of cardamom spice, it cost me $18 at the supermarket!

  5. This is impressive that you've made your own Pastrami. I've always wanted to try it. And yes, don't we just love Savory Spice? And such far superior quality from other options.


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