The Easy Pastrami

Cooking a Pastrami in a few hours

Have you ever tasted the Pastrami? Is fantastic. It’s like a beef ham, soft, misty, tasty. Between two slices of rye bread with mustard and pickles is one of the traditional dishes of Jewish gastronomy. It made fortunes of places like Katz’s in New York, so that it is almost automatically associated with the famous venue where Meg Ryan simulated an orgasm in the famous scene from When Henry met Sally. Would you like to make it your home (Pastrami, not orgasm …)? You can do it, it’s Barbecue! Here is the recipe and …. this is where we all stop. Pastrami is cool but let’s admit it is a crazy drag. Maybe  the most dreadful try it once, but when they want more, they let desire go just as fast as it came, at the thought of what awaits them: the brisket that is struggling to find yet, a week of brine, then the desalinization of the flesh, the Smoking, the resting in the fridge and if you want to respect the tradition, the steam passage before slicing and presenting to your guests at the table… a sandwich, however good.

To say the truth in the States there is a shortcut. It consists on starting from Corned Beef, a brisket cut already processed in brine and vacuum sealed, which can be passed directly to the smoking stage. The problem is that at our longitudes Corned Beef is still a mystical object, such as the philosopher’s stone or the Holy Grail. However, in our gastronomy there is a product that in some way is similar for preparation and end result to Corned Beef: it is the Carne Salada from Trentino. It’s not made from Brisket but it’s from Rump, the spice used has nothing to do but we could make an attempt. It should work, in less than 24 hours we could have in hand if not the authentic Pastrami, one thing that goes close to him.

Ingredients (for 8 people):

1 Pack of Carne Salada
50 gr. Raising the Steaks Rub

Smoke: Red Oak Chips

Ingredienti Pastrami


  1. The ingredients we need are practically just 2: Carne Salada and a Rub. The rub used on pastrami is usually rich in peppers, crushed very coarse, to create a thick and rustic bark. Cause of this, I choose the Raising the Steaks by Dizzy Pig, a quite expensive rub but of high quality and that seems created just for that. The first step is to desalinate the Carne Salada, which otherwise would make us drink all night. American sites recommend for Corned Beef 4 hours of rest in water per each kg and the change of water every 2 hours. I closely stick to this approach: our package weighs 2,180 kg and once it is open, I cover it with water and let it rest for 8 hours.
    Carne Salada per Pastrami
    Rub per Pastrami
    Desalare Pastrami
  2. As soon as the desalination is completed, I pat the Carne Saladat with kitchen paper and apply directly a thick layer of rub. Then turn on the WSM at 120° C with water in the water pan so to favor a humid cooking environment. Insert a probe into the meat, some Red Oak Chip on the coals, and finally the Carne Salada into the Smoker. Same American sites recommend Cooking Corned Beef up to 75 ° C internal degrees and then to rest in foil.
    Rubbatura Pastrami
    Rubbatura Pastrami
    Rubbatura Pastrami
  3. After about 3 hours comes the fateful stall that makes me pretend to continue cooking in foil, without adding anything else. A further hour and we are at 75° C. I take to off from cooking and let to rest in foil, at room temperature for 1 hour. The perfume is divine but I resists.
Fette Pastrami
Fette Pastrami


Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to taste the most famous Pastrami, the one from Katz’s in New York but this can definitely compete with the less-favored ones I ate with great satisfaction in the States. The slices are incredibly juicy, soft and tasty, with a scent that captures you. Besides, I opened the pack of Carne Salada early in the morning and for dinner of the same day I had my Pastrami Sandwich in hand.

I know it’s not true Pastrami, call it if you want ‘Pastrange’ but when I ate it my expression was the same as Meg Ryan in that famous movie. All in a handful of hours. Would you ever believe it possible?


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