The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Meat Week

dabrownman's picture

Meat Week

Holiday weeks usually mean festive cooking in the kitchen or outside on the grill and in the smoker.  This week all three were up front and well used.   It started off last Sunday with grilled salmon and corn on the grill.


Labor Day on Monday, we had our usual smoked ribs. We only smoke them for an hour and half before wrapping them in foil and finishing them in oven at a low and slow 225 F where we collect the juice to make the glaze….. ala Alton Brown.  The girls don’t like heavily smoked ribs and 5 hours of smoke can be too much for them.


Then on Tuesday, we grilled up some tasty smoked brats with homemade buns, chicken breasts and grilled eggplant.  Wednesday was Rosh Hashanah so Aunt Beve’s Hot & Sweet Brisket Flat came out of the oven and challah for the bread.  With a whole brisket, the flat comes with a the point too.. 


I had been out in the garage looking for stored old Architectural photos for Ian wan I came across my lost Pastrami cure recipe that I though was lost forever.  So the brisket point was destined to become pastrami for Meat Week.


Aunt Beve's Hot & Sweet Brisket.

We started the cure on Labor Day and deemed it finished yesterday morning- a full 4 day dry cure.  I get better results using a dry rub cure than brine when curing a brisket point.  Flats and whole briskets do better with a brine to cure that thicker meat well.


First pastrami dry cure on Monday .......and the 2nd non salt dry rub below right before going in the smoker on Friday.

The point has more fat than the flat and it is better suited for curing and smoking too.   You can dry cure flats but it will take 5 days instead of 4 to cure properly.


After washing off the cure and soaking the cured brisket it cold water for an hour and half changing the water every half an hour to reduce the salt used in the cure,  we heavily applied the non salt, dry rub  and let the cured beef air dry uncovered in the fridge for 6 hours.


Then it was ready for the smoker, a full 8 hours at 225 - 250 F where the smoke was applied for the first 4 hours only.  It took all day, but, by midnight, the pastrami registered 160 F on the inside and was finally done.   After refrigerating overnight the pastrami sliced as thinly as anyone would want, both tender and delicious.


Home made pastrami is a rare treat since we usually smoke brisket without curing it for pastrami.  This capped off a perfect Meat Week and now you know why my apprentice made that fine Tzitzel on Friday …Pastrami without a decent deli rye just isn’t allowed around here.   Guess I will have to have a pastrami sandwich for lunch just to make sure both Tzitzel and Pastrami are as good as they taste separately.  But, then there is breakfast that is even better......

Some folks will say Brownman has gone nuts wasting good pastrami this way but my favorite way to eat pastrami by far, even better than in the middle of rye bread, is to make a Breakfast Pastrami Hash.  This one had, besides pastrami, sauteed yellow,green onions and mushrooms,  grilled corn, Mexican grey squash, red pepper and eggplant, steamed fresh; green beans and broccoli, roasted; carrot, red, white and sweet potato with a fried egg.  If you haven't made home made breakfast pastrami hash you need too - as soon as possible:-)


pmccool's picture

dab, you have pushed all of the buttons this past week with those mouth-watering meals but this, this, is over the top!  That pastrami is the perfect capper for all that came before.  Wow!


dabrownman's picture

being from KCMO, I was raised to cure, smoke and grill meats - nearly everyone does and enjoys eating their creations.  The KC BBQ Society competition is the king of all smoke offs - so fitting.  You being from KC too, also know how this kind of cooking can dominate your meat preparation.  With all the different cures, smokes, kinds and styles of meats, different smoking and grilling methods, it is as complicated, varied and interesting a baking bread.  They really go hand in had and compliment each other as well as any two kinds of food preparation can manage.

I think everyone should have a meat week at least one week a year and bake some special breads to go along with it :-)

I knew you would like it Paul and living in the smoked meat capital of the world.  You are so lucky!

Happy meat making and bread baking Paul

golgi70's picture

Dab you got it all down.  I wish I had a smoker but since I will overuse and overeat on BBQ I avoid buying one.  That pastrami looks pretty epic though.  The real deal, sliced thin and piled high with some slaw on one of your tzitzel sp??? loaves would be a fine day in itself.  Ribs look stellar too.  What type of wood do you use for smoking?  I used to work at a BBQ restaurant and we used all hickory and smoked our spares for 7 hours and baby backs for 4 1/2 hours.  Well now I want to buy a smoker again and make some pastrami. 

Thanks for getting me hungry


dabrownman's picture

For beef I like a good half of it to be hickory, some pecan and cheery and this time a pinch of pistachio.  For pork - I like  cherry and apple with a minor bit of hickory.  The hash was fantastic this morning,  When yu don't have it for a while Pastrami just that much better than you remember!  There are so many other smoked meats my favorite are smoked sausages by far, but i am a sucker for any smoked meat,

You have to get a smoker.  So many bread makers also smoke meats, make beer, liquors, jams, pickles, mustard, kraut...  It really is all very addictive and they all go together so well. 

Glad you liked the post Josh 

SylviaH's picture

What a fantastic spread! You are the BBQ man.  Your pastrami looks so delicious as does everything else. 

Thanks for sharing your grill of meats!


dabrownman's picture

Nothing like a big week of meat to get you heading for some fruit and veg!  Glad you liked the spread.

Happy baking

Wingnut's picture

Stunning looking spread dab! Well Done!



dabrownman's picture

spread of grilled, smoked or braised meats to set one off looking for sides to accompany them :-)  Glad you liked it Ski. Can't wait to see your next post!

happy baking

isand66's picture

You are killing me DA!  I'm laying in bed at 6 AM in my hotel in China wanting to eat a pastrami on rye in the worst way!  I think I have a better chance of winning the lotto than finding deli meat in China...good bread is hard enough.

All of your smoked meats look amazing and that pastrami is like the cherry on top of the sunday!

Thanks for the torture :)


dabrownman's picture

lost in a big bowl of noodles and needed some kind of meat to balance out the carbs.  Nothing like waking up to some pastrami and no way to get  any or bread to put it on.  Well ,at least they have hot Chinese mustard!

Nothing like home made pastrarmi when you haven't had it for a while.

GLad you liked the post - Enjoy your trip Ian.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Oh man...getting the meat sweats just looking at this post!  I still have yet to try real good pastrami.

Would love to have some with my ryes.


dabrownman's picture

cured and smoked meats like pastrami, just like bread, is that there are only about 1,000 different kinds and of them and most are great! eating  Smoking meat and baking bread go together  well.  Eventually the smoke bug will grab you like the sourdough one did:-)

Glad you liked the post and happy baking John.

foodslut's picture

.... be it cured or tubular!

Seriously, very nice spread - thanks for sharing.


dabrownman's picture

cured, smoked and grilled ones have to be right up there.  Glad you liked the post FS and happy baking!

Maluz's picture

Hi Dab, do you think you could share your Pastrami recipe? What do you use in the brine? What are the spices in the rub? I bought a piece of brisket and would like to try it.

Thank you


dabrownman's picture

I don't use a brine.  For 1or 2 briskets, a brine isn't needed and I get much better results with a dry cure.  If I and a Jewish Deli and doing 100# of brisket a day , then I would use a brine for those mass quantities. 

Here you go - Enjoy!

Dry Pastrami Cure - For a trimmed 5 pound flat

5 T pink curing salt

2 ½ T dark brown sugar, packed

2 1/2 T freshly ground black pepper per pound

5 tsp each garlic powder and ground coriander

1 T crushed juniper berries


Trim surface fat to 1/8″ this is important so that the cure fully penetrates the meat but the enough fat remains to keep the flat moist during smoking.

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients well, making sure to break up any lumps of sugar.

Rub mixture into all sides of brisket, and work it in well- do not rub off excess.  This will be enough cure to have zero left over or a 1/4 left over for a trimmed4# point. portion

Wrap brisket in two layers of plastic wrap so that no air can get in and place it in a container so the liquid that comes out doesn’t get all over the fridge.  Turn the brisket over twice a day for 5 days.

After 5 days of curing, remove the brisket from the wrapper and rinse well under cold water from the tap rubbing off the cure as you rinse.

Place the meat in a container and cover with cold water by 2 inches, with some ice to keep the water cold.   Let the meat soak for 40 minutes, change the water and ice, and let soak for another 40 minutes.

Pat dry with paper towels and apply smoking rub.

Dry Smoking Rub - for a 5 pound flat

3 T coriander seeds

2 T black peppercorns

2 T yellow mustard seeds

1 T white peppercorns

1 T dried rosemary & thyme

1 T of juniper berries

5 garlic cloves

For a smaller point portion,  4 days of curing is enough.

Dry Rub Directions

Combine ingredients and coarsely grind in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Pour ground mixture into a bowl.

Apply the dry rub to the brisket generously and message the rub into the meat and place onto a rack in a pan to lift it off the bottom and allow the air to circulate..

Air dry the uncovered brisket point in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours before placing it in the smoker.

Remove brisket from the refrigerator and place it fat side down, in a pre-heated smoker, at 225 – 250 F.

Apply 4  hours of smoke for the larger flat adn 3 hours for the point.  I used a mix of hickory 50%, apple 25% and 25% pistachio shells in the electric 30* smoker - some pecan and cherry wprk well too.  The pastrami was done when the internal temperature in the middle reached 160 F in my case - 8 hours total - for a point.  I can control the heat perfectly in the electric smoker but a bullet water smoker works well too.... but takes more tending by far.

Wrap the brisket in two layers of plastic wrap and place it fat-side up in the fridge when cool.   Leave it in the fridge for 24 hours.  Slice very thin across the grain so the meat is as tender as possible.  Pastrami sliced thin on good rye bread with some fine smoked Gouda cheese, kosher dill pickles and Dijon mustard..... warmed in the micro wave till che cheese melts or a panini press – Yummy!