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Quick Pastrami - Snake River Farms American Wagyu Corned Beef Round

Summary

  • Choose two Snake River Farms American Wagyu Corned Beef Rounds.
  • Soak the meat 8 hours or overnight to reduce saltiness, changing water several times.
  • Apply the pastrami rub.
  • Smoke at 250-275°F to 170-175°F internal temperature.
  • Let meat rest for 2 hours, then slice thin across the grain.
  • Alternatively, refrigerator overnight, then steam to 200-205°F and slice thin across the grain.
Snake River Farms American Wagyu Corned Beef Rounds after smoking
Snake River Farms American Wagyu Corned Beef Rounds after smoking
 
Pastrami sliced thin after a 2 hour rest
Pastrami sliced thin after a 2 hour rest
 
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Let me say this right up front—I am not a big fan of beef round. It usually doesn't have a lot of marbling and it can have a livery taste. There are so many other cuts of beef I would rather eat. And when it comes to pastrami, I'd rather make it using brisket flat than beef round.

Having said that, I heard good things about using Snake River Farms American Wagyu Corned Beef Round to make pastrami, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Here are some pictures I took on March 18, 2019 when I prepared quick pastrami using these two corned beef rounds on the Weber Bullet.

As always...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.


Video: Quick Pastrami - Snake River Farms American Wagyu Corned Beef Round

This video provides additional details on the recipe and method described in this article.

Select The Corned Beef Rounds

Two SRF Corned Beef Rounds in packaging
Photo 1
Close-up of corned beef round showing intramuscular fat marbling
Photo 2
     

Snake River Farms American Wagyu Corned Beef Round shows up at Costco before St. Patrick's Day. The ones shown here weighed 3.19 and 3.23 pounds and cost $7.79/pound. They're injected with up to a 20% solution of water, salt, sodium erythorbate, flavoring, and sodium nitrate. A packet of pickling spices is included, but it's not needed when making pastrami so I toss it.

Note the marbling in the close-up of one of these American Wagyu beef rounds. That's something you don't see in a typical beef round. Things are looking promising!

Soak The Corned Beef Rounds

Soaking corned beef in water to reduce saltiness
Photo 3
       

Remove each corned beef round from its packaging and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.

Place the meat in a non-reactive container and cover with cold water. Place container in the refrigerator and let the meat soak for 8 hours, changing the water every 2 hours, or as long as overnight. This helps reduce the saltiness of the meat.

After soaking, dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels.

Apply The Pastrami Rub

Pastrami rub in plastic container
Photo 4
Two corned beef rounds with pastrami rub generously applied
Photo 5
     

This salt-free rub provides the bold, peppery taste that is associated with pastrami. Use a coarse grind of black peppercorns and coriander seeds to create the crusty exterior typically found on pastrami. A mortar and pestle make quick work of the coriander seeds.

Pastrami Rub
1/3 cup coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarse ground coriander seeds
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon granulated garlic powder
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Apply a generous amount of rub to all surfaces of the meat. Adjust the amount of rub used according to your taste. If you like peppery flavor, pack on the rub!

Once rubbed, the meat is ready to go into the WSM.

Select The Smoke Wood


Photo 6
       

Use 2 fist-sized chunks of apple smoke wood. A little bit of smoke goes a long way—you don't want to overpower the meat. Another mild fruit wood can be used if apple is not available.

There is no need to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.

Fire-Up The WSM

Fire-up the cooker using the Minion Method. Fill the charcoal chamber 1/2 full with unlit Kingsford Charcoal Briquets. Light 20-40 briquettes using a Weber chimney starter and spread them over the unlit briquettes.

Foil the water pan before use for easy cleanup and fill it with cool water. There's no need to refill the pan during the cook.

Smoke The Corned Beef Brisket

Meat goes into the WSM
Photo 7
Running the WSM at 250-275F
Photo 8
Meat at 170F internal temp
Photo 9
Close-up of smoked meat
Photo 10
 

Is Pastrami The Same As Smoked Corned Beef?Assemble the cooker and place the meat on the top cooking grate.

Set the 3 bottom vents to 100% open. Open the top vent fully and leave it that way throughout the entire cook.

When the cooker reaches about 250°F, set the 3 bottom vents to 25% open so the cooker settles in at 275°F measured at the lid. Adjust the 3 bottom vents as necessary to maintain this temperature range throughout the cooking session.

Cook the meat until it reaches an internal temperature of 170-175°F. Use an instant-read thermometer to take the meat's temperature in several spots and average the results. It will read higher or lower in different spots depending on the thickness of the meat.

The corned beef rounds do not need to be turned or basted during cooking.

Here's how the temperature and vent settings went for the cooking session:

Time Lid Temp Meat Temp Vent 1 % Vent 2 % Vent 3 %
2:15pm - - 100 100 100
2:45pm 220 - 100 100 100
3:00pm 250 - 100 100 100
3:30pm 270 - 100 100 100
3:45pm 282 - 100 100 100
4:00pm 277 - 100 100 100
4:30pm 273 - 100 100 100
4:45pm 273 150 100 100 100
5:15pm 263 - 100 100 100
5:30pm 253 155 100 100 100
5:45pm 255 - 100 100 100
6:00pm 262 - 100 100 100
6:15pm 264 - 100 100 100
6:55pm 255 162 100 100 100
7:00pm (a) 312 - 100 100 100
7:15pm 295 170 100 100 100
(a) Added 30 lit briquets to the cooker

Note that the vent percentages represent the way I set the vents at the time indicated.

You'll notice that all the vents were 100% open throughout my cook as the WSM temp wandered around between 250-275°F. It was only at the very end that I felt it was necessary to add a few more lit coals to the cooker to push these corned beef rounds across the finish line.

Let The Meat Rest

Pastrami rests briefly before slicing
Photo 11
       

Once the meat reaches 170-175°F, remove it from the cooker, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil, and place it in an empty cooler. Let the meat rest for two hours. Carryover heat will continue to cook the pastrami, and juices collecting in the foil will reabsorb and redistribute within the meat.

Slice & Serve

Pile of thin sliced pastrami
Photo 12
Side view of thin sliced pastrami
Photo 13
Pastrami on rustic white bread with swiss cheese and brown mustard
Photo 14
My new toy: Beswood 250 electric meat slicer
Photo 15
Meat slicer made quick work of slicing leftover pastrami
Photo 16
Profile view of 1mm thick pastrami slices
Photo 17
Four ounce portion of sliced pastrami frozen in vacuum bag
Photo 18
     

After a two hour rest, while the pastrami is still warm, use a sharp knife to slice the meat as thin as possible across the grain. In the first two photos, I'm using the Dexter 13463 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer Knife, the knife used by Aaron Franklin to slice brisket at his famous BBQ joint in Austin, TX. It's super-sharp, and with practice and patience you can slice pastrami about as thin as you'd like it.

Photo 14 shows thin slices of pastrami on rustic white bread with brown mustard and Swiss cheese, about to become a delicious sandwich.

Alternatively, refrigerate the meat overnight and slice it cold the next day using a mandoline, as shown in this video.

Another approach is to steam the pastrami the next day. This is the practice of many old-school delicatessens...smoke the pastrami as described above to an internal temperature of 150-170°F, refrigerate overnight, then place pastrami on a steam basket in a Dutch oven and steam for a couple of hours until it reaches an internal temp of 200-205°F. Let cool briefly before slicing across the grain.

I've wanted an electric meat slicer for a long time, so shortly after making this pastrami I broke down and bought a Beswood 250 10" electric meat slicer. It made quick work of slicing all the leftover pastrami paper thin. I portioned the slices into 4 ounce servings, froze them in a vacuum container, then moved the frozen portions into vacuum freezer bags. This method avoids squeezing juices out of the meat when sealing the bags.

Handle your quick pastrami the same way they do at the deli—slice off what you need and wrap the remainder tightly in plastic wrap (or vacuum pack using a FoodSaver) and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

To reheat, place sliced meat on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave gently at 20% power for just a minute or two, taking care not to overheat. If you've vacuum-packed sliced pastrami, as shown in Photo 18, just drop the sealed package of frozen or thawed meat into boiling water, turn off the heat, and let it steep for 10-15 minutes or until the meat is heated through.

More Pastrami Links On TVWB

Updated: 06/10/2019

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