After seven days in the brine the brisket is ready for cooking. Rinse the excess spices & salt of your brisket, and pat dry. Once your brisket is nice and dry it's now time to add a spice rub to the outside before cooking.
- 1/4 cup coriander seeds
- 2 tbs black peppercorns
- 2 tbs paprika
If you prefer to skip a step and not grind your own spices there is no difference. The downside to ground spices is they tend to lose their flavor and aroma over the course of several months, whole spices will last for years without losing flavor. There are stores across the country where you can buy spices a la cart and only purchase as much as you need.
Usually pastrami is smoked however we can mimic the flavors without having to buy a giant cast iron smoker and finding some place in your alley to leave it (assuming you live in a city). We are going to essentially steam the brisket with water and something called 'liquid smoke'. Liquid smoke is the condensation that results from burning wood and can be found in just about any major grocery chain. The ratio that I used was about 1 cup of water to 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke, which you can pour anywhere into the bottom of the pan.
Cover with a few layers of aluminum foil and place into a 300° oven for 3-4 hours until the internal temperature reaches 200°.
After a few hours your brisket should shrink, cooking out much of the fat we left on the brisket. In hindsight I left a lot of fat on which I wish I had trimmed down, the good news is you can always trim the fat off before slicing although you will lose some of that glorious rub.
To store wrap with plastic wrap and cover with aluminum foil to block out all the haters (light).
How to make a sandwich?
Well in case you didn't already know how to assemble a sandwich here are my thoughts on how to construct a sandwich we can all be proud of. It starts with good bread, without that we have just meat and cheese. Cover each side in a thin lay of condiments (in this case mayo and Dijon mustard), using a knife to spread it from edge to edge is a small but important detail. Each bite should include every ingredient.
There are many schools of thought as to what you should place on the outside of the bread, if anything. I have seen mayo, butter and all types of oils but in my mind light virgin olive oil is the only option. Brush each side with a small amount of olive oil immediately before cooking not to let any oil soak into the bread.
If you don't have a panini press a small frying pan works like a charm.
This pastrami should last 10 days in your fridge if stored properly. And if you're thinking there is no way I can go through 3-4 pounds of pastrami by making a dozen sandwiches, I am right there with you. Wait for the conclusion of the brisket saga next week for another non-sandwich way to cook pastrami...