This is a work in progress, and a log of my experiments. With time it should get more mature, with hints and notes.


For each 3Kg of beef brisket, dry brine with a coating of:

This should be enough brine mix to coat the meat about 2-3mm thick. Seal in a bag with the air purged. Brine for 3-5 days, turning and mixing the meat in the brine 2x a day.


24-36 hours before smoking, remove the meat from the brine bags, rinse, and submerge in cool/cold water. Let the meat sit for at least 30 minutes, then rinse again.
Do this at least twice to remove excess salt.


Drain and dry the meat.
Coat with dry rub.
Place on a rack or hang to cure for 24-36 hours before smoking. Since we are not using nitrates, it might be best to keep the temperature below 38F. Traditionally, when working with nitrates, the cure could be longer, and at higer temperatures.


Smoke around 3-4 hours until internal temperature reaches 165F.
I am finding it hard to get a conscensus on temperature. I plan to start pretty low, perhaps 180F, and see how the temperature rises. We might want to raise the temperature to 225F toward the end to finish. Many home recipes recommend wrapping in foil and baking at 225F to finish.

I have seen recommendations for nitrate-free bacon to have a 5-6 day brine, with 1-day cure, smoke at 200F to internal temp 150F. I think that doing some bacon at the same time is not out of the question. We could pull the bacon early, then turn up the temp (or wait) for the Pastrami to reach 165F.
One person suggested smoking bacon to internal temp of 125 if using a nitrate cure.

Pickling Spice

Dry roast the pepper, mustard, and corriander in a pan.
Coarsely crush seeds and mace before use.

Dry Rub

Pan-roast, then coarsely crush the seeds.
Add some Paprika (not sure how much, probobally around 1 part).
Dry-brined in bag for 5 days.
First water soak 3 hours
second water soak 12 hours.
cure 30 hours.

Started 9:30AM at about 220F.
Allow to cool to 180F, hold for about 2 hrs.
raised t0 190

Aaron Birenboim
Last modified: 140309