Is Pastrami Pork? See A Homemade Recipe

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. Some people say pastrami is pork, while some people say it is beef.

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

Find more details about pastrami, its history, and how you can make it at home.

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 a cut of meat taken from the round and short ribs of a cow can also be 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.

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, and vitamins B6 & D.

How to make homemade pastrami

Since finding tasty pastrami outside New York is hard, you can choose to make yours at home. See 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 the dry iron skillet over low heat. 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.

Step 2: Crush the toasted spice

Take the toasted spice from the iron skillet and place it 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.

Step 4: Fill a large bucket with ice

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

Step 10: Smoke the brisket

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

Step 11: Wrap the brisket with foil

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

Step 12: Increase the heat of the smoker

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

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. The best way to store pastrami is to refrigerate or freeze it. 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 on high heat.

What is the difference between pastrami and corned beef?

As earlier mentioned, the pastrami is made from beef, not pork. And like corned beef, it is made with brisket. However, it follows a different preparation process.

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


Are all pastrami made with beef?

No. Pastrami can also be made with turkey, although turkey pastrami is not common.

Can you eat pastrami when pregnant?

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

Is there any difference between pastrami and salami?

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

Conclusion: Is pastrami pork?

Traditional pastrami is made out of beef and not pork. Although some places make and serve turkey pastrami, they are quite rare.

If you find it hard to get delicious pastrami outside New York, make yours at home with the guide in this article.

When you learn to make your pastrami, remember to make some pastrami sandwiches too. Here are some excellent cheese choices for your pastrami sandwich.

Finally, remember that your health is a priority. So, before you begin to eat pastrami every day, learn about its nutritional information and health benefits.

Thank you for reading this article.