Great pastrami is not the easiest thing to find west of the Catskills, so a few years ago I embarked on a mission to find a way to turn the common corned beef into something similar. My goal was to come up with a reasonable substitute that could be done in less than a day at home, without a smoker, or any other special equipment. Impossible? No!
As you'll see in this video, I came up with a fairly easy method, which really worked well. While this homemade pastrami may not be exactly what you get at those famous New York delis, it's tender, very tasty, and piled between a couple slices of rye, makes a great sandwich.
The spice blend is fairly traditional, except for the smoked paprika addition. This gives the beef a nice, very subtle smokiness without having to worry about the considerable time/temperature management required by an actual smoker.
By the way, this is a pretty fiery rub. If you’re scared, you may want to reduce the amount of pepper(s), and/or leave out the cayenne. However, if you want the punch of a spicy, intensely aromatic pastrami, then this recipe will have you smiling, from the first mustard-shmeared bite to the last. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!
Editorial Note: No, you are not going crazy. We did do this video post before, but it was filmed for About.com, and played only on their website. That old post is no longer up, and being replaced with this one. Thanks!
(Note: the dry rub should make more than you need)
3 to 5 pound corned beef brisket (should be the ready-to-cook variety)
1/4 cup fresh, coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp garlic oil (mix 2 crushed garlic cloves with vegetable oil, and let sit for one hour)
heavy-duty aluminum foil