Updated: Sep 14
I love pastrami! It's a quick and easy go-to sandwich that does not need a lot of effort.
All my life I was raised on cold pastrami. From the cold winters of Belarus to the hot summers in Israel - it was always pastrami that was served cold. Frankly, I found it odd that there even is such a thing as hot pastrami, like being served in Kat'z deli.
In my recent visit at the butcher's shop, I stumbled into an affordable cut that is not so commonly used, called bottom sirloin (in Israel it's called Avazit or Egoz).
The bottom sirloin is a cut from the back of the animal and considered as lean and chewy - this is where sous vide comes in. 16 hours in sous vide cooking will make it tender enough for perfect pastrami!
Ingredients (calculated per 1 liter of water)
Bottom sirloin cut
40 grams kosher salt
40 grams brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp allspice
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp granulated onion
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp ground chili
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp dill seeds
Honey for glaze
Brine first - cook later
The brining process is used to preserve or season the food.
In lean meats, it's almost mandatory since it significantly enhances the moisture and the flavor.
Measure the exact amount of water you need to steep the entire meat cut and put in a deep pot.
Bring the water to a boil with all the spices mentioned in the ingredients section in order to dissolve salt and sugar and mix all the flavors together.
Turn the heat off and let it cool all the way.
Once the brine has cooled, add the meat and let it rest in the fridge between 4 to 5 days.
Take the meat out of the brine and wash it thoroughly with cold water.
Dry with a paper towel and season with salt and black pepper - this is optional step because the brine already infused the meat with enough amount of salt.
Put the meat into the vacuum bag and seal it.
Submerge the vacuum bag into the preheated water at 56°C/ 133°F and cook it for 16 hours.
Remove the bag from the water bath and shock in a large bowl of ice water.
Let it rest overnight in the fridge.
The pastrami is basically ready, but it can be either smoked up to the internal temperature of 56°C/ 133°F or it can be roasted for a few minutes in the oven on the highest heat.
I usually coating the meat with honey to get that beautiful honey glazed color and to get a little bit sweetness to the outer layer of the pastrami.