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 Smoking Meats

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Don Cuevas
Don Cuevas

Posts : 281
Join date : 2011-02-21
Location : Michoacán, Mexico
Job/hobbies : Retired
Humor : incomprehensible

Smoking Meats Empty
PostSmoking Meats

When we lived in Arkansas during the '80s and '90s, I learned hw to make corned beef, and pastrami. The corned beef process is pretty easy, but the pastrami is a little more challenging, as you need a smoker.

Last summer, I happened across a very big "pecho de res", otherwise known as beef brisket, at Mercado Soriana in Pátzcuaro. I studied various smoker and barbecue websites, until I came up with a successful bbq brisket. You can read about that here

Making pastrami isn't all that different.

First, you need a whole or a cut of brisket, preferably well seamed with fat. That latter requirement might be the challenging part here in Mexico, where beef tends to be very lean.

Second, you need a large, food-safe, heavy, closable plastic bag and some heavy duty aluminum foil.

Third, a space in the refrigerator sufficiently large enough to hold the curing pastrami for some time.

Fourth, a cool smoke smoker.

Fifth, patience.

Optional, a loaf of Jewish style sour rye bread, preferably with caraway seeds. (This is more challenging to make than the pastrami, but it's happening as I write.) Also, some half sour Kosher style dill cucumber pickles. These are not too hard to make, other than getting the proper cucumbers to pickle. Some dark and spicy mustard would be nice, and that's not too hard to find in places like Trico or Superama in Morelia. Or you can make your own.

My Source for these foods is the out of print book, "Better Than Store Bought", by Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider Colchie.

Here's the recipe for pastrami, from Page 28 of that book.

About 4 pounds flanken or brisket. I'm betting you could also use boneless short ribs. (costillas de res deshuesadas)
Dry Rub
1/2 cup kosher or coarse salt. (Look for sal gruesa or sal marina gresa at your favorite mercado or tienda de abarrotes.)
2 Tbsps dark brown sugar (Azúcar mascabado)
1 Tbsp ground ginger (gengibre en polvo)
1 Tbsp coarsely cracked black peppercorns. (Pimienta negra)
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsps coriander seeds (¡semillas de cilantro!)
Crushed red pepper, optional, to taste. (This is not in the original recipe.)
(It's better to have a little too much of the dry rub than not quite enough.)

1. With a trussing or darning needle threaded with twine, take a stitch through the narrow end of the meat.
Bring out both ends of the string and make a lop about 3 inches long for hanging.
2. Mix the salt, brown sugar, ginger, pepper, garlic and coriander and optional red pepper (chile) flakes. Massage the mixture well into every surface of the meat, coating it evenly. Wrap the coated meat well in heavy duty aluminum foil. and then enclose it in a plastic bag.
Refrigerate the meat for 8 to 12 days, turning it daily.
3. Remove the seasoned meat from the package, patting on any seasonings that may have fallen off.
Hang it by its neck loop in a breezy spot (70º F. or less) or in front of an electric fan.. Let it dry for 24 hours.
4. Remove the shelves from your smoker (depending on your smoker's confgiguration. I would be smoking the meat horizontally, on a grid, as ours is a barrel grill, that is horizontal.)
Preheat smoker for 45 minutes. Follow smoker manufacturer's instructions for cool smoking with soaked wood chips. I used apple wood. Avoid evergreens!
When smoke begins to emerge, hang or lay the seasoned brisket inside and close the door.

Smoke the brisket steadily for 2 to 4 hours. This will not cook the meat, but will impregnate the outer layer with smoke. I'd favor the longer time.

Cool the pastrami and wrap in clean wrappings. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 3-3 days before cooking.

Cover the pastrami with a generous amount of cold water and simmer very gently until tender, at least 2 hours, exact time will depend on a variety of factors. Cool partially in the cooking water, then either serve at once, or drain, cool and refrigerate.

Serving suggestions:
Slice thin, on the bias.
Rye bread, not white.
Mustard, not mayo.
Pickles: garlic, half of full sour.
Beer; cream soda or Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda.
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Smoking Meats :: Comments

Re: Smoking Meats
Post Mon 25 Jul 2011, 08:27 by Peter
Still hoping to find some commercial establishment here that does this. I'd even settle for corned beef and get around the cold smoker requirement but would still lack the patience. I was told Superama comes up with the occasional corned beef but have been watching for it for the last two years and haven't seen one yet.

One heck of a process and sounds like something better taken-on for mass production or at least produce a batch or two pastrami's. With all I've done to deck-out my new kitchen this remains beyond my scope, I would just love to be on the receiving end.

I probably have the refrigerator space and could produce a few corned beef briskets or rounds. That's maybe the route I would have to go if I have earnest desires to taste these sandwiches again. Been kind of the story of my life, in other regards up to now, if I want something I'll probably have to make it myself.

If I start making corned beef I guess I should also make a batch of pickles also. With that much energy invested I would probably look to turn it into an industry. I wish I could just skip past the whole production process and become an end consumer.
Don Cuevas
Re: Smoking Meats
Post Mon 25 Jul 2011, 08:30 by Don Cuevas
¡Tenga paciencia!
Re: Smoking Meats
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