Procrastination gets a bad rap sometimes. You see in this case I promised a review of my pastrami method some weeks ago. As it turns out, had I been prompt I would of missed the valuable comparison point that landed on my doorstep Christmas eve - namely a pound of sliced pastrami shipped from the NYC pastrami mecca - Katz Deli (Thanks Andy).
The Katz meat was supremely tender, juicy, with wonderful smoke and spice notes. Above all it tasted beefy.
I've eaten a few times previously at Katz, but more often at Schwartz' in Montreal where I found the smoked meat every bit as good as Katz maybe a bit bolder and peppery.
So, my at home version attempts to mimic these pastrami/smoked meat standards.
Here is my method.
1) Buy a commercial corned beef brisket point cut. Not the flat and definitely not top round. I stock up on these after St. Patricks day and freeze them.
2) Soak in cold water for 24 hours. Change out the water a couple of times. These cuts are built for being boiled where a lot of the salt is extracted into the boiled liquid. This is great when making New England boiled dinner but not for smoking. If you dont give the commercial corned beef a good soak you'll find the finished product to be too salty when smoking.
3. Rub with mustard, fresh course grind of mixed peppercorns and whole coriander seeds. I also apply a light dusting of mild chile powder for color.
4. Smoke at 250* with fruit wood until 180* internal temp.
The tenderness and flavor were great, in fact I thought world class... until I tasted the Katz sample. A couple things I think Katz does differently; first is they smoke at a low temp, almost a cold smoke possibly. You can see the crust on the Katz version is almost black. Don't be afraid to put a good smoke on your pastrami. Second, the meat is steamed to finish which really delivers the tenderness and moistness you are looking for.
So it looks like eliminating procrastination is not in consideration for the New Year resolution. Losing 30 pounds on the other hand...
Oh and the Anchor Christmas 2008 vs 2009? Both were great, as expected the 2008 was smoother and less spicy. The 2008 produced a wonderful dense aromatic head for an Ale that spent a year in my fridge.