Smoked Brisket Pastrami | Homemade Pastrami Recipe

Smoked Brisket Pastrami | Homemade Pastrami Recipe

Homemade Brisket Pastrami Recipe on the Smoker

#brisketpastrami #pastrami #howtobbqright

Smoked Brisket Pastrami

Pastrami was first made as a way to preserve meat. A brine is used to first cure the brisket; then it’s smoked, and typically steamed until tender. In the past, I’ve used a short cut to create pastrami by starting with store bought, corned beef brisket; but I wanted to see if I could brine my own and turn it into mouth-watering Pastrami.

The basics of a pastrami brine include salt, sugar, and spices; but the most important part is the pink curing salt. It needs to be used in an exact ratio. 1 tsp per 5lbs of raw meat is required along with 1 gallon of water.

For the brisket, I trimmed most of the fat and sinew off to expose the meat. This allows the brine to penetrate and cure it from top to bottom. It weighed 10lbs after trimming (so I needed 2 teaspoons of pink salt).

To make the brine get a large stock pot going over medium heat. Add 1/2 gallon of water to the pot along with the salt, sugar, and pink salt. Bring it to a simmer to dissolve everything and add the pickling spices and crushed garlic. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes just to make sure everything is dissolved and then remove it from the heat. Add the remaining water and allow it to cool.

Place the brisket in a container large enough to hold it and the brine. I used a XL Ziplock bag (get it here: Pour the brine over the brisket. Set the whole container in the refrigerator for 5 nights.

On the 6th day remove the brisket from the brine solution and pat any excess seasoning off surface. Place the brisket on a cooling rack inside a full size pan to dry. The next morning take the brisket out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temp. Season the outside with Pastrami Seasoning (recipe below).

Fire up your smoker and bring the temp to 275 degrees. Place the brisket on the pit and add pecan wood to the fire for smoke (use your favorite wood if you prefer). Smoke the brisket for 4-5 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees.

At this point traditional Pastrami is steamed until it’s tender (that’s deli style Pastrami); I’m going for more BBQ style Pastrami. Wrap it in pink Butcher Paper (get it here: and place back on the pit.

Insert a meat probe into the thickest part of the flat and cook until the internal temperature reaches 204 degrees. For a meat probe, we are using a Thermoworks DOT (check them out here: At this point it needs a couple hours to rest and you’re ready to eat.

Homemade Pastrami is absolutely fantastic. It’s tender, juicy, and has all the flavors of the spices used in the brine and seasoning.

Smoked Brisket Pastrami Recipe

– 1 whole brisket – 10lbs

For the Brine:
– 1 gallon water
– 1 cup Kosher Salt
– 1/2 cup Sugar
– 1/4 cup Pickling Spice
– 5-6 cloves of Garlic smashed
– 2 teaspoons of Pink Curing Salt #1

Pastrami Seasoning:
– 1/2 cup Corse Ground Black Pepper
– 1/4 cup Raw Sugar
– 2 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic
– 2 Tablespoons Ground Coriander
– 1 Tablespoon Ground Mustard
– 1 Tablespoon Granulated Onion

Directions:
1. Combine 1/2 gallon of water, Kosher Salt, Sugar, and pink salt in a large stock pot over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a slight boil and add the pickling spice and garlic. Pour in the remaining 1/2 gallon of water and allow to cool.

2. Trim excess fat from the whole brisket and place in a XL Ziplock Bag. Pour the brine mixture over the brisket and squeeze all of the air out of the bag. Secure the top of the bag with a zip tie. Make sure the brisket is completely submerged.

3. Place the bag in a large plastic container and refrigerate for 5 nights. On the 6th day remove it and pat off any excess seasoning. Place the brisket on a raised rack in a large pan and allow it to air dry in fridge.

4. Prepare smoker for indirect cooking at 275 degrees with pecan wood.

5. Combine the seasonings in a jar. Season all sides of the brisket with the seasoning mixture.

6. Place the brisket on the pit and smoke for 4-5 hours until the internal temp hits 165 degrees.

7. Wrap the brisket in butcher paper and place it back on the pit. Insert a meat probe into the center of the flat to monitor internal temperature.

8. Continue to cook until it reaches 202-204 degrees or when a meat probe slides into the brisket with no resistance.

9. Rest it in a dry cooler lined with old towels for 1.5 – 2 hours before slicing.

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Smoked Brisket Pastrami