Great pastrami is not the easiest thing to find west of the Catskills, so a few years ago I embarked on a mission to find a way to turn the common corned beef into something similar. My goal was to come up with a reasonable substitute that could be done in less than a day at home, without a smoker, or any other special equipment. Impossible? No!

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Ingredients

1
Original recipe yields 1 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Mix garlic and vegetable oil in a small bowl. Set aside for 1 hour.

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  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C).

  • Combine black pepper, paprika, coriander, dry mustard, white pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.

  • Cover a baking sheet with a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Coat aluminum foil with prepared garlic oil. Lay corned beef brisket on foil and brush with remaining garlic oil.

  • Cover all sides of corned beef brisket completely with pepper mixture, reserving 1 to 2 tablespoons.

  • With fat side of corned beef brisket up, wrap in the sheet of aluminum foil. Place wrapped corned beef on another sheet of aluminum foil with the seam and fat side down. Place double-wrapped corned beef on a third sheet of aluminum foil (seam down), and wrap again.

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 6 hours.

  • Remove pastrami from the oven and let cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.

  • With pastrami still wrapped in aluminum foil, place in a freezer bag or other plastic bag and refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours.

  • Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.

  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

  • Remove pastrami from refrigerator, unwrap, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of remaining pepper mixture.

  • Place pastrami in the oven, 6 to 8 inches below broiler heat. Broil briefly to brown surface, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pastrami from the oven and slice thinly, about 1/8-inch slices.

  • Heat a large skillet over low heat.

  • Heat pastrami slices in the skillet with a few drops of water until fat begins to turn from white to translucent, about 5 minutes.

Cook's Note:

Serve warmed pastrami slices on rye bread with mustard and a pickle

Nutrition Facts

4709.2 calories; protein 273.2g 546% DV; carbohydrates 32.6g 11% DV; fat 383.9g 591% DV; cholesterol 979.8mg 327% DV; sodium 22099.4mg 884% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (53)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
08/05/2012
This was really, REALLY good. It was not hard at all, even though there were a lot of steps. Once I applied the rub, it was just a matter of triple-sealing the meat. The number of steps just looks intimidating. Mine came out a nice dark pink. I bought a rectangular shaped corned beef for even slices, which I recommend. My meat was also leaner than the meat in the video. I was able to trim most of the visisble fat. Read More
(36)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 2 stars
02/06/2014
After spending 45 for a brisket and 10 for spices all I ended up with was a spicey beef roast. The roast didn't taste bad but it certainly wasn't pastrami nothing even close. Read More
(6)
59 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 47
  • 4 star values: 6
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 5 stars
08/05/2012
This was really, REALLY good. It was not hard at all, even though there were a lot of steps. Once I applied the rub, it was just a matter of triple-sealing the meat. The number of steps just looks intimidating. Mine came out a nice dark pink. I bought a rectangular shaped corned beef for even slices, which I recommend. My meat was also leaner than the meat in the video. I was able to trim most of the visisble fat. Read More
(36)
Rating: 5 stars
05/31/2012
I love reviewing recipes that I have tried. This one is difficult for me. Even though it came out delicious and everyone including the little grandchildren loved it and asked for more and more it did not really come out like the one in Chef John's video. The instructions were easy to follow. There was just one thing I did differently. I could not bring myself to use 1/4 cup of pepper for the rub and therefore I adjusted the measurements of the other rub ingredients accordingly. The pastrami roast came out delicious and so tender. It was brown like a brisket not red like a pastrami! That was not a problem for my family but it made it a little difficult to review since it is supposed to be pastrami! Read More
(23)
Rating: 5 stars
07/07/2012
I have never like the store bought pastrami I've tried in the past, but as it is a favorite of my husband's decided to try this recipe. Followed recipe to the letter. Delicious and a big hit at my house - I even liked it. Read More
(19)
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Rating: 5 stars
06/23/2017
I made this pastrami for my husband for Father's Day because that's his favorite type of sandwich and it came out PERFECT!!!! At first, I was a little intimidated by this recipe. Not because of the recipe or the ingredients because I had everything on hand and the recipe was super simple to follow, as is all of Chef John's brilliant recipes. But just the thought of making pastrami on my own scared the *bleep* out of me! I don't know why I ever doubted my skills or Chef John's instruction because the end result was nothing short of perfection! Thank you Chef John for sharing yet another amazing recipe! Read More
(13)
Rating: 5 stars
03/18/2013
I have made this recipe for a few years. When ever I can find corned beef on sale I buy two. My only advise to others is to make at least two of these at a time because the finished product goes away much to fast and its just as easy to make two or three at a time as it is to only make one. The finished pastrami freezes well. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
04/04/2013
I just cooked this recipe for the third time and I will cook it again soon! Changes: 3 cloves of garlic and shorter cooking time. I prefer strong a strong garlic taste and I found that cooking it for about 5-5.5 hours - instead of 6 - resulted in a more tender rare pastrami. 5 stars! Read More
(8)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/26/2014
Not only was this good but probably the best pastrami sandwich I've had since moving to California! I had a 2.5 pound corned beef that I cooked for about 4 1/2 hours. I also didn't have smoked paprika or white pepper. I didn't miss it and if you don't have it I wouldn't go out to buy it just for this recipe. I just increased the coriander and black pepper a bit. I made some homemade Russian dressing and made the typical pastrami sandwich on rye with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Delicious! I can't wait for the leftovers tomorrow. Read More
(7)
Rating: 2 stars
02/06/2014
After spending 45 for a brisket and 10 for spices all I ended up with was a spicey beef roast. The roast didn't taste bad but it certainly wasn't pastrami nothing even close. Read More
(6)
Rating: 4 stars
04/22/2014
We followed the recipe to the letter. This is a very admirable attempt to create one of my favorite deli meats. And that's just what "Chef John" said that it was a substitute not exactly. I find that to be true. The spice blend is good yet a tad overly peppery. With that said the meat (inside) lacked some flavor that Pastrami usually has. I'm sure that would have to do with brining. So my conclusion would be... I will probably brine a brisket for a few days and then use this spice blend minus a bit of the pepper (not much though.) I might try smoking the meat as well. I know hard work was put into this. Thank-You Read More
(5)