Cooking with Fire Episode 17: Pastrami

Pitmaster Josh Cary and Chef Tom Jackson talk pastrami and how it came to be the defining deli meat in Jewish Delis. Also, they cover some simple tips for cleaning your grill and getting it ready to cook for the Spring.

Cooking with Fire Episode 17: Pastrami


  • 1 beef brisket flat
  • For the brine:
  • 1 gallon water
  • ¾ C kosher salt
  • ½ C sugar
  • 2 t pink salt (sodium nitrite)
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 T pickling spice (recipe below)
  • Note: Depending on the size of your brisket, and the container in which you are brining, you may need to multiply this recipe. You will need enough brine to cover the brisket in the brining container.
  • For the rub:
  • ¼ C black peppercorns, toasted, coarsely ground
  • ¼ C coriander seeds, toasted, coarsely ground


Combine all brine ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.

Place brisket in the brining liquid. Weigh it down with plates to make sure it is fully submerged. Refrigerate for 3 days.

Remove brisket from brine, and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Apply a thin layer of mustard or oil to the surface of the meat to help the rub adhere. Coat the brisket with the rub. Preheat Your cooker to 250ºF.

Smoke at 250ºF until internal temperature reaches 150ºF. Double wrap the brisket in foil, and continue smoking until pastrami is tender when probed with a thermometer (190ºF-205ºF). Allow meat to rest half an hour. Slice thinly and serve.

Pickling Spice


1 T coriander seeds

1 T black peppercorns

1 T mustard seeds

1 T red chile flakes

1 T allspice berries

1 T whole cloves

1 t ground ginger

1 t ground mace

1 small cinnamon stick, crushed

2 bay leaves, broken into pieces


In a dry hot skillet, toast the coriander, peppercorns and mustard seeds just until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Crack the spices on a cutting board, under a heavy pan.

Combine the toasted spices with the remaining spices. Store in a sealed container.

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