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Pastrami Brown..... Why?!


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Hello everybody,

I want to introduce a topic to all of you with some pastrami experience.

I'm keeping on trying to get the perfect seasoning, cooking recipe since a couple of months. But some of my experience were a total failure because after 3 weeks of wet seasoning smoking and some stem to get it warm and tender, some of them result to be with the inner part brown and not the red/rosa which we usually see in good pastrami. I'm asking myself why....

I was first thinking that the reason was overcooking, but then i start to observe them and i noticed they they were slightly red-colored just underneath the surface, it's like that the brine didn't get trough it properly.

What is it about? My idea now is that i kept to much fat on the brisket and the wet brine affected the fat first and then was not able anymore to work on the meat itself. I used always the same recipe because the first time, and actually the only, i made the best pastrami ever tried, just perfect. I have 3 different brine now in the fridge, 1 the usual wet one, 1 dry with petersalt and 1 dry without petersalt (i'm curious about the effect of petersalt on brisket...). Please let me know is a kind of frustrating keep on working on a piece of meat for three weeks and wind up with some kind of piece of wood....

Thanks.....

G.

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Hi gekichan, and welcome to eGullet! Pastrami isn't something I've attempted to make, but there was the the The Great Pastrami & Smoked Meat Experiment (click!), which covers quite a lot of territory, and is likely to go into your question. With any luck, some of the experimenters will weigh in now, with their expertise.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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You definitely need to use insta cure #1 (which is a mixture of salt and sodium nitrite) to get the pink colour. Make sure that you are accurate in your measurements for adding this as too much sodium nitrite is poisonous.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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You can purchase one of the various cures or purchase a small quantity of Saltpeter

(Potassium nitrate (KNO3) (Food Grade) as I did many years ago and just add a small amount to your salt brine each time you cure.

I'm picking up a whole brisket today and will put in my brine and seasoning mixture with about a 1/4 teaspoon of Saltpeter for St Patrick's Day. Works great every year, for over 30 years of curing.-Dick

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Sounds like the outer part is pink and the inner part brown. If that's the case then either the meat was too thick for the nitrate to diffuse in (doubtful since you have a brisket), there wasn't enough time in the brine or there wasn't enough petersalt (which I take to be saltpeter).

Can you give more details?

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Yes Petersalt first of all and sorry for my english then.

In the failed tests, i was not using Petersalt at all it was just a wet brine from this recipe - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/beef-pastrami-recipe/index.html - a thing i noticed is that those times in comparison with the good one the brine was getting kind of thick jelly, my thought is that the brine got satured with fat and was not enough `agressive´for the meat. Thank you for the help...

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Hi gekichan, and welcome to eGullet! Pastrami isn't something I've attempted to make, but there was the the The Great Pastrami & Smoked Meat Experiment (click!), which covers quite a lot of territory, and is likely to go into your question. With any luck, some of the experimenters will weigh in now, with their expertise.

This is where i got in touch with Gullet... :))

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Yes Petersalt first of all and sorry for my english then.

In the failed tests, i was not using Petersalt at all it was just a wet brine from this recipe - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/beef-pastrami-recipe/index.html - a thing i noticed is that those times in comparison with the good one the brine was getting kind of thick jelly, my thought is that the brine got satured with fat and was not enough `agressive´for the meat. Thank you for the help...

I don't know why they don't have nitrate in the brine. How odd. Who want's brown pastrami?

A nice touch with brisket is to cook it sous vide for a couple days. It becomes super tender.

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thanks for the feedback gfweb, i was also thinking to use sous vide to cook the brisket, but here i found mostly two different thought, smoke until is cocked or smoke and finish the cooking with steam or in water... will see, it just need very long time to compare all the possible variance.

for the Saltpeter, well the first time i tried the recipe i didn't use saltpeter and the result was perfect, inside red/rosa perfect texture and taste... i made almost exactly the same for other two times and it came out some piece of brown rubber gum. I still don't understand but ii guess that the issue about the fat getting the brine saturated makes somehow sense..

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