Home Ethnic American Pastrami



This is worth the work. We’ve found that it’s also noticeably better when using Wagyu brisket with good marbling. Perfect for Reuben sandwiches, or just for snacking on at 4am when it finally comes out of the smoker. If things are looking a bit tight time-wise, wrap in foil and finish in the oven – it’ll affect the smoke ring, but the flavour will be fine.

Combine with Russian dressing, kraut and pickles for a delicious open sandwich!

This recipe is plenty for one full brisket. We like to cut it into smaller pieces for easier handling, more surface for the rub and then we render down the fat offcuts for baked potatoes another time. Yum…

All up, 7-10 days plus 12+ hours of smoking time. This is a commitment. Use a calendar to keep track of what happens when. A good time to start smoking is 3-4pm the day before you want the tasty, tasty sandwiches for dinner. If the meat hasn’t hit 90° C after 24 hours, wrap in foil and bake at 150° C until finished. Thinner cuts are prone to drying out – consider doing this earlier for them.

1 beef brisket, preferably Wagyu (about 2.5 – 9 kg)

Ingredients: Brine
3.75 L water
225g Kosher salt
10ml Prague powder #1 (6.75%)
1 cup dark brown sugar
5-6 TB pickling spices (can be store-bought)
4 cloves garlic, smashed

Ingredients: Pickling Spices
2 TB black peppercorns
2 TB dill seeds
1 TB dried chillis
1 TB mustard seeds
1 TB coriander seeds
1 TB celery seeds
1 TB thyme
1 TB ground ginger
2 ts fennel seeds
2 ts whole allspice
2 ts whole cloves
1 ts cardamom pods
2 star anise
4-6 bay leaves

Ingredients: Rub
4 TB medium ground black peppercorns
2 TB coriander powder
1 TB brown sugar
1 TB paprika
2 ts garlic powder
2 ts onion powder
1 ts mustard powder

Large plastic tub(s) with lid(s)
Pizza savers for holding meat under liquid while brining

1 – Trim the brisket of as much fat as possible. Cut into the muscle pieces.

2 – Make the brine – stir until the salt and Prague powder are fully dissolved. Smash the pickling spices a little before tossing in. (Store leftover pickling mix for another time).

3 – Immerse brisket in enough brine to fully cover it. Use pizza savers to hold the meat down. Brine in refrigerator for 5-7 days (longer if the meat is more than 5cm thick), checking it halfway through and turning the meat.

4 – Wash all of the pickle mix off. Desalinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours/overnight. Do not skip this step!!

5 – Pat the meat dry, then press the rub onto all surfaces of the meat. Place back in the lidded container and rest in the refrigerator for 48 hours.

6 – Prepare smoker: 110° C with cherry/hickory mix. Smoke brisket pieces until an internal temperature of 95° C. There will be several stalls, but don’t be tempted to remove it earlier as you want the tough fibres to render properly. Some people remove it and steam it up to temperature (on foil, but unwrapped)

7 – To serve, slice thinly against the grain. Store in vacuum sealed bags in the freezer and warm up in the microwave.