How to Make Pastrami

Chef Tom smokes up one of our most requested recipes, pastrami! He cures it for six days and then smokes it on the Yoder Smokers Loaded Wichita. Enjoy.

Homemade Pastrami Recipe


  • 1 beef brisket flat

    For the brine:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp pink salt (sodium nitrite)
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup pickling spice (recipe below)
  • 8 1/2 lb ice

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.


Combine all brine ingredients, except the ice, in a large pot. Bring to a boil and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.

Add the ice to a large Briner Bucket. Pour the briner mixture over the ice. Stir to melt the ice.

Place brisket in the brining liquid. Lock the plate in place to make sure it is fully submerged. Refrigerate for 6 days.

Before removing the brisket from the brine, preheat your Yoder Smokers Loaded Wichita offset smoker to 250ºF.

Remove brisket from brine, and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Apply a thin layer of House of Q Slow Smoke Gold Mustard Sauce the surface of the meat to help the rub adhere. Coat the brisket with the rub.

Smoke at 250ºF until you achieve a nice mahogany red color on the outside, roughly 5 hours (about 155ºF internal temperature). Double wrap the brisket in foil, increase the temperature of the smoker to 300ºF, and continue smoking until pastrami is tender when probed with a thermometer (195ºF-210ºF). Allow meat to rest half an hour. Slice thinly and serve.

Pickling Spice Recipe


  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp red chile flakes
  • 1 tbsp allspice berries
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 1 small cinnamon stick, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves, broken into pieces


In a dry hot 12” Lodge cast iron skillet, toast the coriander, peppercorns and mustard seeds just until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Place the spices in a cloth napkin. Fold the napkin over the spices, and crack the spices by smashing them with a heavy skillet, or rolling pin.

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


  1. Justin coffman
    October 24, 2017

    That looks awesome chef tom I think I will be doing that soon. How about some more wild game videos like some deer ribs or or some water fowl recipes.

    1. Josh Cary
      October 26, 2017

      We have more wild game on our list, but the rest of this year will really be dominated by holiday recipes.

  2. Suzanne Severino
    October 28, 2017

    Is this pickling spice recipe different from from pickling spice that you can buy in the store? Is it specific for pastrami?

    1. Josh Cary
      November 1, 2017

      You can use a store bought pickling spice. They may be slightly different, but you’ll still end up with a great product. Thanks!

  3. Terry M Tobel
    October 29, 2017

    Thanks for doing the pastrami, I have been wanting to start from brisket instead of corned beef (not bad though).

    1. Josh Cary
      November 1, 2017

      You’re welcome, thanks for watching!

  4. Terry Clark
    November 4, 2017

    Just got the Pastrami on the smoker, cant wait to tear into this thing. Thanks for the video

    1. Tom Jackson
      November 8, 2017

      Man. My mouth is watering just THINKING about putting a pastrami on the smoker. Enjoy!

  5. Enrico
    November 24, 2017

    Hi guys,

    I read an old recipe posted in this site, the brining time was 3 days with the same quantity of salt and curing salt. It is better to cure meat for 6 days instead of 3?
    Thanks for your video! Hello from Italy!

    1. Josh Cary
      November 25, 2017

      You’ll want to do the full 6 days. This recipe is an update and improvement from the old recipe. Thanks!

  6. Paul Fleming
    November 25, 2017

    Hi Chef! Followed your AMAZING pastrami video/recipe Friday! Unfortunately, I was off to a very late start. So…in the fridge – instead of our bellies.
    Question: How do I warm it up again?
    Glad I ran across your video/site. Thanks so much for sharing your passion!

    1. Josh Cary
      December 5, 2017

      Sorry we took so long to get back to your question, if you still have some left you can just warm it up on “reheat” in your microwave. Just make sure to spread it out evenly on the plat and cover with a damp paper towel. You can also steam it on your stove top, but we’re never patient enough to do that. 🙂

  7. Ray
    December 2, 2017

    How long at 300 on average?

  8. Tim Ferguson
    February 5, 2018

    Phenomenal recipe! I recently made my 1st pastrami using your recipe and had excellent results using a 10lb brisket flat. I’m hooked on pastrami now! There was plenty of liquid to cover the brisket in the brining bucket. My question is, if I wanted to brine (2) 14lb briskets at once, do I need to double the pickling spice and the brining ingredients or can I simply just add the 2nd brisket to the brining bucket?

  9. Andy
    March 21, 2018

    I’m actually about to start this recipe today! My only regret is not starting 6 days earlier!

    Had a question, most recipes I’ve come across recommends desalinating the flat after the brine, letting it sit in water for about 6 hours. Is it not necessary to desalinate with this particular recipe? It didn’t come out too salty?

    Looking forward to trying this pastrami!

  10. Frédérick
    April 6, 2018

    Hi, after have put the pastrami in the foil i can finish to cook them in a traditional oven? Thank you for your great job!!

  11. Matt Lindenberg
    April 15, 2018

    What type of wood did you use for smoking?

    1. Josh Cary
      May 12, 2018

      A 50/50 mix of pecan and cherry most of the time.

  12. Suzanne
    August 31, 2018

    Thanks for the recipe! Can I ask what brand of kosher salt you use — I’ve heard there is a pretty big difference in volume/weight in the two major brands.

    1. Admin
      September 11, 2018

      In this case you are making a brine, so it won’t effect the recipe much. Mortons is what most people use so it is what almost all recipes are based on. Diamond salt has larger flakes so you want to up it about 5-10%.

  13. Derrick
    September 17, 2018

    Hey Chef, I just did this recipe and followed everything you did, but for some reason my turned out a bit different. For one, I cured for a full six days and noticed that in the middle of my finished meat there was a section that the cure didn’t get to. Also mine didn’t stay together as well when cut and kind of fell apart. Is that because it was wrapped too long? The taste was still on point and made a great sandwich, just a bit messier. Let me know what you think. I look forward to trying this one again soon.

  14. Eric Haft
    October 21, 2018

    Chef Tom – thank you for the video. Just finished my pastrami after following your recipe. It was delicious, unfortunately, we found it to be very salty. I did wash it thoroughly after the brine – any suggestions? Thank you! Eric

  15. Dave Wygonowski
    November 9, 2018

    Wondering why you are not using butcher paper.


    1. Admin
      November 15, 2018

      While we may prefer it, most people don’t keep it in their kitchens.

  16. Cory Stout
    November 20, 2018

    How do you reheat the pastrami if you cook it the day before to take it to an event the next day?

  17. Cory Stout
    November 20, 2018

    I have followed this recipe and smoking it this evening, I will let you know how it turns out! Quick question, how do I reheat the next day? I am not slicing until tomorrow evening or Thursday, so I am interested in reheating the whole thing.

  18. Anthony
    December 10, 2018

    Are there any substitutes I can use instead of the pink curing salt?

  19. Vaughan Denny
    January 26, 2019

    So tasty, thank you for the recipe!

  20. Geoff
    February 6, 2019

    Thanks Tom and anxious to try our first pastrami and have a few questions:

    Can you use the point as well as the flat?

    Does it matter if you brine for longer than 6 days?

    Do you add liquid when wrapping in foil?


  21. Robbert
    March 12, 2019

    Hey guys, I am trying to make pastrami using your recipe right now, with the exception of using colorozo salt instead of pink salt (I can get colorozo salt here in Holland, no pink salt). I am reading alot about desaltinating in water for about an hour to 8 hours. Is this neccesary?

    Hope to hear from you guys!

    Regards Robbert

  22. Derrin Chango
    May 28, 2019

    Prime , select , or choice. Which cut would be better?
    Thank you

  23. Ed McHale
    June 20, 2019

    Chef Tom, your confidence is soothing. I want to try this recipe, but with a pork shoulder butterflied to make porkstrami. Any hints I.e. internal temp would be appreciated.

  24. John Nelson
    June 29, 2019

    I tried this recipe out, and it worked wonderfully. I let my Brisket cure for 30 days and it was better than Katz’ in New York. I’m now doing it again for my family from out of state for this Fourth of July. They are in for a treat.

  25. John Menzies
    January 11, 2020

    Hi. Where can you get that brine bucket? I’m in Australia. Thanks.

  26. Joshua Hofheimer
    July 20, 2020

    Chef Tom (or anyone) — My Brisket came out not nearly as tender as you show? I followed your instuctions closely on the brining and prep. When smoking, I used my Yoder 640s, at 250, brisket on the top shelf. It took 4.5 hours to hit 150 degrees, and hit the stall there. It stayed at that temp about another 20 minutes and then I took it off and wrapped it in a double foil. After 2.25 more hours at 300 on the smoker it was at 205 degrees throughout, some closer to 207 or 209. Tastes great but nearly as tender as yours and not a consistent pink color throughout when I sliced it, and not as tender? Any observations on what I might have done wrong? Please help?! Thanks!


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