Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Mega-Pastrami Sandwich of DOOM!

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little. But it would just be a LITTLE bit, because dinner tonight was a whole new level of awesomeness. A ton of meat went onto the smoker at around 8AM, and we fed ourselves, the kids, and the neighbors, and still had plenty left. There was a plain brisket, some italian sausages, chicken leg quarters, but the crowning achievement was some amazing pastrami. The entire purpose of firing up the smoker was, in fact, to make pastrami. More specifically, to make my own twist on a pastrami reuben.

So, it isn't -technically- a reuben, but it's close enough.

This beauty was made with sourdough bread instead of rye because I simply adore sourdough. It's got a spread of deli mustard on either piece of bread and bunch of pastrami, which smoked for a full nine hours. Then a little sauerkraut, and some gouda cheese on one side and bread and butter pickles (homemade, of course) on the other. Slip it under a broiler and you will have amazingness.

Pastrami is a fancy way of saying 'smoked pepper-covered corned beef brisket', if you weren't in the know.

Sure, you can do it on rye bread. Sure, you can just use corned beef and not go to the trouble of coating it in black pepper and smoking it for nine hours. But if you have the access to do it, why wouldn't you? Even without access to a smoker, you could slow-cook a corned beef brisket in its juices, some water, and some liquid smoke for a while, then pat dry, roll it in pepper, and put it in the oven to finish off.

This is Alabama. The only way I was going to get a sammich this awesome was to smoke the pastrami myself.

Sometimes, you just can't help but dream of something awesome, and when you finally make it, it exceeds all expectations. This was one of those days.

A sampler of all the stuff we smoked today. The un-corned brisket has a serious smoke ring, and it got a foil wrap about two hours before the pastrami came off.

Pastrami Not-Quite-A-Reuben Sandwich
  • 1 4-lb corned beef brisket
  • 1/4 cup ground mustard
  • 1 cup black pepper
  • 1/2 oz liquid smoke (if you must cook it indoors)
  • Sourdough bread
  • Sauerkraut
  • Deli-style mustard
  • Sliced gouda cheese
  • Bread and butter pickles

To smoke:
Coat uncooked corned beef brisket with mustard and pepper, cover and allow to rest at least two hours for a crust to form. Smoke for about nine hours with hickory wood, or until probe thermometer reads 165 degrees. Rest at least 15 minutes before slicing thinly.
To cook indoors:
Place brisket in a crock pot, add liquid smoke and a small amount of water. Cover and cook on low for two hours, then remove from liquid and pat dry. Coat with mustard and pepper, then finish in a 250-300 degree oven (as low as it will go) until an internal probe thermometer reads 165 degrees. Rest at least 15 minutes before slicing thinly.
For the sandwiches:
Spread deli mustard across two slices of sourdough. Add about 1/8 lb of pastrami to either piece of bread, and top each with a thin layer of sauerkraut. Place a slice of cheese over one side of the sandwich, and bread and butter pickles on the other. Slip under a broiler for 3-4 minutes or until cheese melts, then fold into sandwich.
Makes about 16 huge, food-coma-inducing sandwiches.

Total cook/prep time: 9 hours (plus overnight rest with pepper coat)
Happiness rating: 9/10

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