What kind of madcap optimist attempts homemade pastrami? Well, uh — me.
I've seen lots of pastrami recipes over the years, but they’ve all had the same hitch: Long, temperature-controlled smoking. I don't have the equipment, skill or patience for that.
But Lee, a Taiwanese-Canadian living in Beijing had the fix, though she calls it "Faux Montreal Smoked Meat.”
Instead of smoking, Lee uses smoked salt in the brine and the spice crust. Authentic? Who cares? Ours both came out with the look, smell, taste, and mouth-feel of the real deal.
And it's not even a whole lot of work. True, the process takes 5 days or more; but actual hands-on time probably comes to less than an hour.
You can get all the details at the link above but here's the short version.
Step 1: Brine a Brisket
3-5 pounds for 3 or 4 days, rinse and pat dry. Ingredients for the brine: Kosher salt, hickory smoked salt, DQ pink curing salt, white sugar, brown sugar, honey, pickling spices, garlic.
Step 2: Bake In Foil
Keep it tightly wrapped for 12 hours at 220 degrees.
Step 3: Steam For One Hour
For this step, Nancy used her bamboo Chinese steamer in a wok. After all, the recipe did come from a lady in Beijing.
Step 4: Slice and Gorge
You want it – you KNOW you want it!
True, the stuff is not exactly health food, but it's the first I've had in years and it'll probably be at least another year before I try it again.
Want the meat without the motion? Get a jaw-stretching pastrami on rye at Roxy's Diner in Fremont and further north at Barney's Pastrami in Everett.
For pastrami in history read “Stuffed" by Patricia Volk, whose great-grandfather is said to be the guy who brought pastrami to the New World.
And just like Thanksgiving dinner, the leftovers can be better than the main event.
"Would you put a pastrami in your mouth if you didn't want to eat it?” – Jackie Mason
Originally aired October 28, 2015