02 Jan Pastramification and how to build the perfect Reuben
1st January 2018
There is no doubt making your own pastrami is more work that buying it from the shops, but as with everything in life, work in equals reward. And we’re talking next level stuff here!! British leaner brisket flat muscles are ideal for pastrami being less fatty and thinner than their US counterparts. Acquire a brisket flat from your butcher or we have Irish briskets stocked in The Meat Locker section of the web site.
Trim the brisket, if you have a full packer cut brisket, remove the point muscle by separating the sinew. The flat is the larger, wider and longer section. Remove as much fat as you can by trimming the silver skin. The leaner the better.
Once the brisket is trimmed, source a non-metalic basin or a large sealer bag to use as a vessel to hold both meat and brine. You can make a pastrami cure from a commercial cure and then add the usual pastrami spices such as coriander, all spice, cloves, ginger, juniper, garlic and bay. Or you can find our pastrami kit on the website in the Cured Section.
Add our cure pack to 2.5 litres of warm water and dissolved the dry mix into the fluid. This should give enough liquid to cover meat in the cure. Alternatively use a large freezer sealing bag to immerse the meat. Massage the brine into the meat and turn daily for at least 6 days to allow the cure to work. Brisket Flat is ideally suited but you can work the pastrami magic on beef ribs or other cuts too.
After min 6 days remove the meat from the brine & pat dry with paper towels to remove the majority of the fluid. Add A&O Pastrami rub to the meat surface and set for min 1 hr before smoking. You can make your own too with black pepper, coriander, all spice etc.
Ideally you would smoke the pastrami until 200-210F internal temperature and the meat probes softly. You could do this in the oven. Smoke the meat uncovered for 5 hrs with cherry wood and until the ther rub has formed a nice even bark, then wrap meat for 4 hrs or so until tender in own juices or add a little water for more steam. You can set the brisket flat on a wire rack if you like to allow better steam circulation but keep it sealed. We always use a Thermapen to check temperatures and we pulled our pastrami at 210F when it probed like butter.
Building a Reuben is the conclusion of this excursion in patient ‘pastramification’.
Make up Reuben sauce, here’s our version below:
4 tblsp Rampant Angus Ketchup
Juice half a lemon
8 tblsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Red Dawg Apache hot sauce
2 tblsp cream
Good dash of Worcester sauce
Salt and pepper
Using rye bread where possible, toast one side of the bread and then slather the Reuben Sauce over the other half. On one slice, mound handfuls of thinly sliced warm pastrami onto the sauce and then sauerkraut on top of that. Add two slices of Emmental or Gruyere cheese on top of the sauerkraut and put this in a hot oven or under the grill until the cheese melts through the pickled cabbage. Top th sandwich off with the second slice of toasted rye already slathered in sauce and squeeze down gently. Slice in half diagonally and serve with onion rings and a cold beer.