2.5 – 5 lb corned beef brisket (pre-packaged in the meat section)
3 tbsp of black pepper
2 tbsp of ground coriander
1 tbsp of paprika
1 tbsp of dark brown sugar
1/2 tbsp of garlic powder
1/2 tbsp of onion powder
1 tsp of rubbed sage
1/2 tsp of ground mustard powder
Russian Dressing (Optional)
1. After removing the corned beef brisket from the package, rinse it off under cold water for 1 minute (we want all of the brining agents removed as they’re super salty). If it came with a spice packet, discard or save it for something else. DO NOT cut any of the fat off the brisket. It is key to making a super tender, juicy and flavorful pastrami.
2. Preheat smoker to 225 degrees F. Place the brisket, fat side up, in the center with a water pan. Close lid and smoke at 225 degrees F until thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (about 3 to 4 hours).
Remove from smoker and wrap in foil making sure to seal very well. Place back on smoker or Oven and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 hours or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers an internal temperature of 204 degrees F.
3. While the corned beef brisket is cooking, mix together all 8 of the dry spices in a bowl until well-blended and then transfer onto a large plate and spread it out.
4. Remove the brisket and place on a plate and let cool for 10 minutes. Dab the brisket with a paper towel to sop up excess liquid and LEAVE THE FAT ON IT!
5. Transform the corned beef into a pastrami by rubbing it in all the spices on the plate so it’s completely covered and then securely wrap in foil and place in fridge for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days. This allows the corned beef to truly undergo a metamorphosis into a pastrami.
6. When ready to serve, remove from the pastrami from the fridge and, while still wrapped in foil, allow it to come to room temperature for 1 hour (this isn’t mandatory, but is strongly suggested as it will make for an even more tender pastrami)
7. Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees. Open the foil around the pastrami with the fatty side facing down (the top of the pastrami should be fully exposed and not covered with foil at this point), creating sort of a cradle/wall around the perimeter of it to keep any fat or seasonings from dripping while cooking.
8. Once the oven is heated, place the foil-bottom pastrami directly on the middle oven rack (not resting on a baking sheet) and place a baking sheet on the bottom oven rack to catch any fat drippings or spices that may fall off the pastrami will cooking. Cook for 60 minutes and then place the pastrami on a cutting board, discard the foil and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes