I thawed a piece of brisket I’ve had in a vacuum sealed bag for a long time. I dry brined it with Tender Quick and sealed it into another vacuum bag for 2 weeks to let the cure soak in, then rubbed it with a seasoning mix that had, among other ingredients, maple sugar and ground juniper berries. I let that marinate for a day then smoked it at 200° for about 20 hours.

I brought it in and saw that it still needed some more oven lovin’ so it was wrapped in foil and got another couple of hours until it reached nearly 200° internally. It then spent another day in the fridge to firm up for slicing. I divided the slices into 8oz portions and vac sealed those – ending with about three pounds of yummy sammich meat with a stub end to dice for hash. Good morning’s work.

Dry Brined Pastrami

20161212_090812-1600x1200I 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.20161205_171221-1600x1200It 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. 20161206_154133-1600x1200 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. 20161212_090834-1600x1200Because 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.

Gadget Corner

I mentioned in the last post that I had put those thin steaks aside for “processing”.  This is what I meant by that:

Strictly speaking, any tool you use to process food is a “food processor” but usage these days really means something like this:

That’s how I turned out that finely minced steak in the top photo.  Sure, I could have used a knife but even with set up and cleaning after wards I think I came out ahead both in time spent and final product.

Here’s another handy food processor, a slicer:

Not as capable as the big slicers in the deli, but it gets the job done.  Love the way it reduces a whole boneless ham. We have a ham sliced and frozen right now, and another whole ham in the freezer.  We use it a few times a year.  Glad to have it.