Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Did you know that you could turn corned beef into pastrami? Both are just cuts of brisket that have been cured different ways. Corned beef is made with a brine and pastrami is smoked with a dry rub.
The thing is, pastrami is more expensive than corned beef, especially around St. Patrick’s Day. You can buy corned beef for around $2 a pound right now, but you would be hard pressed to find a good quality pastrami for under $6 a pound. We decided to try turning corned beef into pastrami, and it worked great. We picked up an extra corned beef from the store, rubbed with with some spices, and then smoked it in our smoker.
The result surprised me! It really was pastrami, without a trace of the corned beef flavor. We ended up with about 3.5 pounds of pastrami, enough for many sandwiches. This saved us about $14 on the meat, and it was also a great way to upgrade corned beef. We might go to the store while corned beef is on sale and get some more.
The one thing to note, however, is that you will need a smoker to do this recipe. If you have one, I am going to assume you know how to use it. Try to keep the temperature steady, around 225 degrees.
Here’s the recipe:
Turn Corned Beef Into Pastrami
3.5 lbs corned beef
~ 2 Tbs coriander
~ 2 Tbs black pepper
Take 3.5 lbs corned beef out of the package. Rinse it off and pat dry. Cut off any excess surface fat. Discard the flavor packet.
Prepare a rub of equal parts crushed black pepper and crushed coriander seed, enough to cover the corned beef. Evenly cover the surface of the corned beef with the rub.
Smoke the corned beef with a light-flavored wood at around 225 degrees. (We used pecan.) Cook until the center is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It took us 2.5 hours.
Wrap the meat in aluminum foil and let rest for an hour in something insulated like a cooler or a microwave. This redistributes the juices in the meat. Then let the meat sit in the refrigerator over night so it cools down completely.
To serve, slice the pastrami against the grain. Slice as thinly as possible for good results.