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Smoked Pastrami

Once you’ve tasted this moist, smoky home made pastrami you’ll never want to buy it from the store again.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Brining time 5 days 8 hours
Total Time 5 days 16 hours 15 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 688kcal
Author Joe Clements


  • 8 lb beef brisket flat
  • pastrami rub recipe below
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard

Pickling spice

  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp whole allspice berries
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 1 stick cinnamon crushed
  • 2 bay leaves broken into pieces


  • 1 gallon water
  • cup Kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp pink curing salt look for curing salt #1 which might be labelled Prague powder #1
  • 6 cloves garlic crushed
  • ¼ cup pickling spice
  • lb Ice You can replace the ice with 1 gallon of water, but you'll need to wait a few hours for the brine to cool before using it.

Pastrami Rub

  • 2 tbsp black pepper coarsely ground
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns whole
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds whole
  • ½ Tsp mustard seeds whole


To Make the Pickling Spice

  • Toast the coriander, peppercorns and mustard seeds in a dry fry pan over medium heat until they are fragrant. Keep the seeds moving and be careful they do not burn.
  • Fold the toasted spices in a cloth napkin and then use a heavy pan or rolling pin to smash the spices, making sure that they start to crack open.
  • Combine the toasted spices with the rest of the pickling spice ingredients and store in an airtight container.

To Make the Brisket

  • Combine all brine ingredients except for the ice in a large pot. Bring to the boil and stir until the salt and sugar has dissolved.
  • If using, add the ice to your brine bucket then pour the brine mix over the ice and stir. If you're not using ice add another gallon of cold water to the brine mixture and cool in the fridge for a few hours until cold.
  • Trim the brisket flat so that there is a 1/8" layer of fat on one side only.
  • Add the brisket to the cold brine solution. Place a bowl filled with brine on top of the meat to make sure it doesn't float.
  • Refrigerate and let the brisket sit in the brine for 5 - 7 days. The thicker the meat the longer you will need to leave it. Make sure you flip the meat every day to help stir up the cure and make sure the brisket is always covered in brine.

To Make the Rub

  • Combine all of the powder ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Fold the peppercorns, coriander and mustard seeds in a clean cloth and use a heavy pan or rolling pin to smash them until they are cracked but not powdered.
  • Mix all ingredients together

To Make the Pastrami

  • Remove the brisket from the brine and cover it in a pot with cold water. Place it back in the fridge for at least 8 hours. If you are in a rush you can just wash the brisket under cold water for a few minutes but it may still be quite salty.
  • Spread a thin layer of yellow mustard over the brisket and sprinkle the rub all over it. Use your hand to press the rub in. For a whole brisket flat I used the entire batch of rub.
  • Fire up your smoker to 250°F and add 2-3 fist size chunks of smoke wood. Apple or cherry work well.
  • Place the brisket on the smoker, fat side up, and smoke until the internal temperature hits 155 - 160°F. This should take around 5 hours.
  • Once the brisket has developed a nice mahogany red bark, wrap it tightly in foil and increase the smoker temperature to 300°F.
  • Continue smoking until the Pastrami feels tender when probed and has an internal temperature between 203 - 207°F.
  • Take the Pastrami off the smoker and leave it to rest for at least half an hour. Slice thinly and serve.


Calories: 688kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 77g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 225mg | Sodium: 17355mg | Potassium: 1366mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 315IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 121mg | Iron: 8mg