I’ve always had the desire to create all my own food. Working with a very good Italian chef in Stratford upon Avon, he encouraged me to develop my talent in producing cured Italian meats. One of these was Lozano which is pork loin treated in the same style as the classic Parma Ham. Another is Coppa, a shoulder muscle the pork equivalent of rib eye of beef. And of course a myriad of salamis! Here I present my take on the Italian American pastrami.
This recipe assumes you are fully conversant with hygiene control and the use of Prague Powder – see below for more information.
Buckingham’s cure mix for brine using 2500g water:
100g Sea salt
35g Brown sugar
30 g Prague Powder *
35g Garlic powder
200g Buckingham’s cure mix
2500 water for 2270g of meat
Weigh beef brisket and add brine mix to the right % e.g. 400g +4540g water for 4540kg beef brisket
2270g Beef brisket trimmed well of all fat, sinew, silver skin
Spice coating for 2270g brisket:
16g black pepper
10g coriander seed
5g garlic powder
Trim brisket and tie if required. Mix well sea salt, sugar, garlic Prague powder and water. Place brisket and brine in vacuum bag (just seal) – day and date for your information. Allow to cure for 9 days in fridge turning every day. Store at 4c in fridge. If you want to produce a large quantity place brine and brisket in large plastic container keep brisket covered with brine and allow 2 days for every 500g of brisket
Remove from bag and wipe dry. Mill the spice in a blender/liquidiser, coat all over brisket and pat in well.
In a cold smoker (I find that I get a great pastrami if I use my oven) place the brisket on rack and raise the temperature to 52c (no smoke) one hour, then raise the temperature to 107c apply light smoke (use smoking dust in an old tray or pan. You can get smoking dust online).
The pastrami will be ready when the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 74c – it can take up to 5 hours. Allow to cool and vacuum pack, store in fridge overnight.
Using an electric food slicer, slice very thin pieces
I like to serve this with warm salt baked parsnips and fresh Chantilly horseradish.
*Prague powder #1 or Cure #1
This curing salt is coloured pink to distinguish it from ordinary cooking salt. Sometimes called “Pink Salt” when used in the correct ratio with additional salt, this cure colouring will have absolutely no impact on the finished colour of your product and is purely there as a safety measure.
This is a slow acting cure that is used for Sausages Bacon and Hams that require cooking before consumption.
Not to be confuse with Prague powder #2 or Cure #2 which is used in Salami , Coppa, Lomo and Parma hams etc.
Please note that Sodium Nitrite is a toxic chemical. Used correctly this cure is very safe but great care must be taken to measure accurately before use. It is essential that you follow the recipes for Cure #1 or Prague Powder #1 exactly. This Cure is not a replacement for salt, extra salt must be added to this mixture as directed by your recipe. Use this cure in the ratio of 2.5g per Kg of meat.
Use digital scales capable of weighing in grams. Prague Powder is a concentrated cure and should be used in accordance with an approved and trusted recipe. Prague Powder #1 – Ingredients: Salt (Sodium Chloride NaCl) 93.75%, Sodium Nitrite (NaNO2) 6.25%, Anti-caking agent, Food colouring