Is Pastrami Pork? [How To Make Home-made Pastrami]

Pastrami is a Romanian dish that was first served in New York City in the late 1800s by Sussman Volks. Since then, it has been a staple in many American homes, but is pastrami made of pork or what exactly?

Pastrami is not made of pork but beef, often the navel end of the beef brisket, which is known as the plate cut. It is also made from the round and short rib of a cow.

If you want to know more about pastrami, its history, how you can cook pastrami on your own, and how it differs from corned beef, then read on.

Overview of pastrami

Pastrami, also known as “the cold cut,” is smoked and cured beef. Brisket is mostly used for pastrami, however, research shows that cut of meat taken from the round and short rib of a cow is also used.

Pastrami often has a deep reddish hue, and this is because of the brining process it goes through. You can slice it into thin cuts for a sandwich or serve it thicker with vegetables and potatoes.

SEE: How To Tell Potatoes Are Done Boiling

Nutritional information on pastrami

According to the US Department of Agriculture, 4 ounce (100 grams) serving of pastrami contains;

  • Calories: 147
  • Protein: 22g
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated fat: 2.7g
  • Cholesterol: 68mg
  • Potassium: 210mg
  • Carbohydrate: 0.4g
  • Sugar: 0.1g

It also contains calcium, iron, cobalamin, magnesium, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin D.

How to make your own homemade pastrami

Since finding really good pastrami outside New York is hard, you can opt to make your own. The following are the ingredients and spices needed;

  • Brisket flat (weighing between 5 – 7 pounds)
  • One-quarter cup of coriander seed (coarsely ground)
  • One-quarter cup of whole black peppercorn (coarsely ground)
  • Yellow mustard
  • One tablespoon paprika
  • Foil
  • One gallon water
  • Ten cloves of raw garlic
  • Three spoons of pink curing salt
  • One cup of granulated sugar
  • One gallon water
  • One quarter cup pickling spice
  • Ice
  • One cup of kosher salt.

Step 1: Make the pickling spice

Firstly, heat up the dry iron skillet over low eat. Add the mustard seeds, peppercorns, and coriander, then toast until you get a fragrant smell. Ensure to check regularly, so you don’t burn them.

SEE: Is Burnt Toast Good For Your Stomach?

Step 2: Crush the toasted spice

Take the toasted spice from the iron skillet and place them on a clean napkin or towel. Fold the towel with the spices enclosed inside and crush with a rolling pin or a mallet.

Step 3: Combine all brining ingredients

Add water, kosher salt, sugar, pink curing salt, clove raw garlic, and half of the toasted pickling spike in a pot. Bring it to a boil; ensure you stir properly, so the sugar dissolves.

SEE: Is Starch A Sugar?

Step 4: Fill a large bucket with ice

Ensure the bucket is large enough to hold the brisket first before pouring the ice in it.

Step 5: Pour the brine liquid into the bucket

Pour the brine liquid inside the bucket with ice and stir until the ice melts.

Step 6: Submerge the meat in the bucket

Submerge the meat in the bucket and store it in the refrigerator for five days.

Step 7: Preheat your smoker

Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 8: Rinse the brisket

Take the brisket out of the refrigerator and out of the brine water. Then rinse under running water, and pat dry with a clean towel after rinsing.

Step 9: Season the brisket

Season the meat with the seasoning spice listed above, and ensure it coats the entire brisket. Splatter the mustard after seasoning; this ensures that the seasoning sticks to the taste.

SEE: What Part Of The Beef Is Brisket? Meaning, Cuts, Prep & More

Step 10: Smoke the brisket

Smoke the brisket till it reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use the meat read thermometer to get a more accurate reading, by simply inserting it into the thickest part of the brisket.

SEE: How Many Briskets Per Cow?

Step 11: Wrap the brisket with foil

Remove the brisket from the smoker and wrap it properly with aluminum foil.

SEE: Do You Cover Baked Chicken With Aluminum Foil?

Step 12: Increase the heat of the smoker

Increase the temperature of the smoker to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and place the wrapped brisket back on it. Continue cooking till the meat reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit, use a meat read thermometer to ensure it reaches this degree.

SEE: How to Use a Food Thermometer to Avoid Undone Meal

Step 13: Allow to rest

Allow the pastrami to rest for at least 20 – 30 minutes before cutting it into thin slices.

How do you store pastrami?

Do not leave pastrami at room temperature for more than two hours, and it is best to store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Pastrami can stay up to 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 2 months in the freezer.

How do you thaw frozen pastrami?

Simply take the pastrami out of the freezer a day before you need it and place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, microwave the pastrami for 1 minute at high heat.

SEE: Can You Refreeze Ham Even After Thawing It?

What is the difference between pastrami and corned beef?

As earlier mentioned, pastrami is made from beef, which includes brisket, and so is corned beef. One might be confused as to differentiate the two, but the major difference between these two is the cooking process.

Pastrami is rubbed with spice and then smoked. Corned beef, on the other hand, is cured and then cooked further.

SEE: Soya vs Soy: What Is The Difference?


Are all pastrami made with beef?

No, they are not. Pastrami can also be made with turkey, although they are not common.

Can you eat pastrami when pregnant?

Yes, you can. But you can also heat it up a little to make them safer.

Is there any difference between pastrami and salami?

Yes, there is. Pastrami is made by covering or submerging the meat with a spice mixture and smoking it. Salami, on the other hand, has the meat mixed with spices, packed in a casing, fermented, cured, and let to air dry.

Is corned beef pork?

No, it is not. Corned beef, just like pastrami, is made with beef brisket.

How to use thawed pastrami?

Pastrami is a delicious addition to a sandwiches; also, you can use them to make stew or hash.

Conclusion: Is pastrami pork?

No, it is not. Traditional pastrami is made out of beef and not pork, although some places enjoy ones made with turkey, but they are quite rare.

If you find it hard to get delicious pastrami outside New York, you can make yours. Simply follow the recipe listed in this article to make your own homemade pastrami.

I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should also see if hotdog is pork.

Thank you for reading this article.