BBQ27/17: Hang Fire BBQ Pastrami:
Before I had my Weber gear I made Salt Beef a few times and always really enjoyed it but for a while I have also wanted to make Pastrami. I was finally spurred into life when I saw Dan from UnitedQ cure and smoke some brilliant looking pastrami and also when I read the Hang Fire BBQ cook book as there is a great looking slab of pastrami next to a recipe!
I ordered 2kg of Longhorn Brisket from Farmison (£25.45) and once it was delivered I made the cure (fine sea salt, light brown sugar, Prague Powder #1, bay leaves, garlic powder, ground allspice and ground black pepper). The cure ingredients go into a pan with 1.5 litres of water and are gently warmed until the salt and sugar have dissolved at which point you leave it to cool to room temperature.
The recipe says to trim any hard fat off the brisket, there wasn’t much on mine so it didn’t take long and then I put it into a FoodSaver vac pack bag with the cure and sealed it. This went in the fridge for 5 days and I flipped the bag over each day. After 5 days I removed the brisket and ran it under the tap then put it into a roasting dish to soak for 1.5 hours changing the water every 30 minutes. I then patted the brisket dry with kitchen towel and used my rub shaker to apply the rub I made earlier (paprika, soft light brown sugar, garlic granules, coarsely ground black pepper, coriander seeds and ground allspice) before putting the brisket in the fridge for 2 days!
After 2 days was up I lit the smoker and once it was around 225F I put the brisket in along with some chunks of Hickory from Smokewood Shack. I topped up the Hickory chunks each hour for the first 3 hours. The Hickory smelt amazing!
The recipe says to smoke it for 6 to 8 hours until you hit an internal temperature of 74c. I was using my BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2 and the Pit Viper appeared to be broken so I had a bit of trouble keeping the temperature steady but it wouldn’t have been far off 225F average. After 6 hours it hit 74C but had stalled at 72C/73C for quite a while.
I took the brisket off and steamed it in the oven for 3 hours on a wire rack over water in a roasting tin with a foil tent on top. At 94C internal I took the foil off for 10 minutes so the bark could reform and then left it to rest for 15 minutes:
The brisket had the colour I was looking for when I sliced it but looked a little dry. I must have put too much rub on as well as it had clumped a bit and was flaking as I sliced the meat. (Update: Hang Fire have since contacted me and said the clumping is quite normal and the pastrami looked spot on – result!)
It was a little drier than I was hoping for but it did taste really nice!
I also made the Pretzel Buns out the Hang Fire book, I haven’t made a lot of bread to date so wasn’t overly confident I would pull these off but the recipe was really easy to follow and I was so happy when I pulled the buns out the oven! The bases did stick to the grease proof paper and was hard to get off so I would probably oil the paper next time but the buns were fantastic, I will make these more often for pulled pork and burgers. The recipe calls for malt extract when you poach the buns before baking, I didn’t have any so used brown sugar but you can use Horlicks if you have any (we didn’t). Amazon sell malt extract so I will get hold of some before I make these again.
The recipe for the Pretzel Buns is from Cocorico Patisserie, I had a look on their twitter/instagram feeds and the cakes look incredible. If I ever make it down to Cardiff I will stop by for a feast for sure!
I got some great feedback on my buns from Laurian Veaudour the Chef/Owner of Cocorico:
I used a recipe for Russian Dressing from here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/russian-dressing-51182860 – This was also really tasty and I eat a fair amount on it’s own! I loaded the buns up with Russian Dressing, The Pastrami, Sauerkraut, Pickled Gherkins and more Russian Dressing:
The next day I got my meat slicer out and sliced all the remaining Pastrami on the lowest full setting (1):
Thinly sliced the Pastrami was amazing, I was picking at it non-stop for 2 days!
Things for next time:
- The Pastrami was a bit drier than I hoped for, I must have overcooked it to start with? I have had no luck with brisket and I keep thinking I need to try brisket from a grain fed cow so maybe I could try that next time?
- I saw a post on Meathead’s site which shows the pastrami going in the Sous Vide after it’s smoked which might help retain the moisture, could be a different thing to try?
- Put less rub on the brisket to avoid it clumping
- On these 3 points, Hang Fire have been in touch and said the clumping is normal and the pastrami looked spot on so I was probably being a bit hard on myself!
- I think I will try the meat slicer with slightly thicker slices next time, maybe 1.5 or 2.
- Oil the paper for the buns to see if they come off easier!