2020 Pet of the Year Contest

Brandon Jalnos' Smoked Beef Pastrami


ON THE GRILL Brandon Jalnos makes homemade pastrami on a pellet grill. Over time, he’s adapted a recipe with delicious results. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Jalnos)



Oak wood (do not use hickory or mesquite)
6 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
¾ cup sugar
2⁄3 cup light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons pink salt or other curing salt
1 Tablespoon pickling spice
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1 7-pound flat-cut beef brisket, fat cap trimmed to 1⁄3 inch
Spicy brown mustard
¼ cup whole black peppercorns
2 Tablespoons coriander seeds
Equipment: 1 box Ziploc 4 X-Large Big Bags; zip ties


Recipe directions: 

In a large pot, combine the water with the kosher salt, sugar, brown sugar, pink salt, pickling spice, mustard seeds and garlic. Simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the salts and sugars have dissolved. Pour the brine into a large bowl and let it cool. Refrigerate until chilled.

Using a metal skewer, poke holes all over the brisket. Pour the brine into the Ziploc Big Bag, then add the brisket. Squeeze all the air out of the bag, and twist the top of the bag. Use a zip tie to keep the top of the Ziploc twisted. The goal is to have the brisket fully submerged in brine. Then put the bag, with all the contents, into a large roasting pan. Put the roasting pan with the bagged brisket in the refrigerator. Let the brisket cure for 5 days, turning it once a day.

Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse the surface of the brisket to remove the excess salt. Pat dry with paper towels. Place the brisket fat side-up on a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours.

Remove the brisket from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. When you are ready to cook it, preheat a smoker to 225 degrees. Rub the entire brisket with spicy brown mustard. In a spice grinder, coarsely grind the peppercorns with the coriander seeds. Cover the fat side of the brisket with the peppercorn-coriander mixture.

Place the brisket directly on the grill grate, spiced side-up, in the center of the grill. Close the lid and smoke the meat at 225 degrees until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the brisket registers 160 degrees. This will take 3 to 4 hours.

Remove the brisket from the smoker and wrap it in foil, making sure to seal it very well. Place the wrapped brisket back on the smoker and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 204 degrees.

Remove the brisket from the smoker and let it rest, wrapped in foil, for at least 30 minutes before slicing. If you want cold pastrami, allow it to cool completely, then refrigerate it. Slice and enjoy!

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