Dry Brined Pastrami
I went with a dry brine this time, using Morton’s Tender Quick and various other brining seasonings. Here is a decent overview of the process (he mixes his own curing salts), and here is another take on it. They both use beef briskets but Kroger had a sale on big (10lb.) shoulder roasts so I used one of those and adjusted the amount of cure to suit.It takes a good while for the curing agent to diffuse through the meat, one this big will take a couple of weeks. Be sure to flip the meat daily, I put the shoulder in a big plastic zip bag and placed that into this same tub in case the bag leaked. Here it is, after rinsing the salt off, coated with a rub prior to smoking. There are all kinds of recipes online for a proper rub but they all are heavy on ground coriander and black pepper. I like a few ground juniper berries in my mix, and also paprika, garlic, onion powder, ground mustard seed, and ground bay leaves. I left this one in the 200 degree smoker overnight and nearly all the next day. The internal temps made it to 185 when I took it out for steaming. It was so big I used a big pasta cooker, keeping the water level below the lift out strainer. I added more water a couple of times before the temp reached the target of just over 200 degrees. Save that water! You can reduce it for a nice au jus. Because my middle name is Lazy, I held back on slicing the boneless ham I bought a few weeks ago during a post-holiday sale until the pastrami was ready. The slicer isn’t that hard to clean up, but, still.