Easy Homemade Pastrami


Make smoked pastrami from corned beef with this easy recipe. 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 devise a reasonable substitute that could be done in less than a day at home, without a smoker or any other special equipment. Impossible? No!

Prep Time:
40 mins
Cook Time:
6 hrs 10 mins
Additional Time:
12 hrs
Total Time:
18 hrs 50 mins
1 4-pound pastrami


  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • ¼ cup coarsely ground fresh black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 4 pounds corned beef brisket


  1. Mix vegetable oil and garlic in a small bowl; set aside for 1 hour.

  2. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C).

  3. Combine black pepper, paprika, coriander, dry mustard, white pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl; set aside.

  4. Cover a baking sheet with a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil; coat with prepared garlic oil. Lay beef brisket on the oiled foil sheet and brush with remaining garlic oil. Cover brisket completely with pepper mixture, reserving 1 to 2 tablespoons.

  5. Wrap brisket, fat-side up, in the sheet of foil. Place wrapped corned beef on another sheet of aluminum foil with the seam- and fat-sides down. Place double-wrapped brisket, seam-side down, on a third sheet of aluminum foil; wrap again.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 6 hours.

  7. Remove pastrami from the oven and let cool to room temperature, about 3 hours. Do not remove the foil.

  8. Place foil-wrapped pastrami in a freezer bag or other plastic bag; refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours.

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

  10. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

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

  12. Place pastrami under the broiler and cook until surface browns, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pastrami from the oven and cut into thin slices, about 1/8-inch thick.

  13. Heat a large skillet over low heat.

  14. Warm pastrami slices in the skillet with a few drops of water until fat turns translucent, about 5 minutes.

    close up view of sliced Homemade Pastrami on a white cutting board
    Nourish Apparel

Chef's Note:

Serve warm pastrami slices on rye bread with mustard and a pickle.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

4709 Calories
384g Fat
33g Carbs
273g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 4709
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 384g 492%
Saturated Fat 103g 517%
Cholesterol 980mg 327%
Sodium 22099mg 961%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 15g 52%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 273g
Vitamin C 507mg 2,537%
Calcium 312mg 24%
Iron 42mg 233%
Potassium 6063mg 129%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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