Learn how to make this Pastrami recipe with the voice-activated cookbook iPhone app, Myka.

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Cook In:

8 hours

Prep In:

216 hours





By: Sous Chef Myka

When it comes to sandwich meats, none might be more iconic than pastrami. But you don’t have to shell out the big bucks to get an authentic pastrami at home. You just need a simple brine on a brisket, plenty of spices, and a smoker.

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  • 12 cups water

  • 1 quart apple juice

  • 1 ½ cups coarse kosher salt

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 3.2 tsp pink curing salt #1

  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds

  • 3 tsp mustard seeds

  • 1 ½ tsp allspice berries

  • 2 tbsp whole coriander seeds

  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds

  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes

  • ½ tsp ground ginger

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 3 whole cloves

  • 5 pound brisket flat

  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns

  • 1 tbsp onion powder

  • 2 tbsp paprika

  • 2 tbsp garlic powder


Hi Chefs, Myka here 👋

Even just the thought of a sandwich piled high with sliced pastrami is enough to get our mouths watering. And trust us: this recipe is going to knock your socks off. Just be prepared – you need to store it for for up to 14 days before eating, so make sure you prep this pastrami well in advance from when you want to chow down.

To start, you’ll prepare a brine with water, apple juice, salt, brown sugar, curing salt, and spices such as mustard seeds, whole coriander and red pepper flakes. Then, you’ll bring the pot to a boil, dissolving the salt and sugar, before removing from the heat.

After the brine has cooled to room temperature, you’ll pour it over the brisket, into a large food safe container. Keep in mind the brisket needs to be below the brine (you can place a plate as a weight on top, if need be). Store it in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, turning the brisket once per day.

After curing, you’ll discard the brine, and desalinate the brisket in clean water. Then, prepare a pastrami rub, by toasting some spices in a skillet (such as whole mustard seeds and black peppercorn). You’ll grind them, and add kosher salt, onion powder, and a few other ingredients. When that rub is done, lay out plastic wrap, with your brisket on top. Coat the pastrami in the rub, wrap it tightly, and let it rest in the fridge for another day or two.

Lastly, preheat your smoker, unwrap the pastrami, and place it right on the grates. Close the lid and smoke for about 6-8 hours. When it’s finished, let it rest for an hour before slicing against the gain. Don’t forget, you can heat up the slices by steaming them lightly before serving.

Happy cooking!

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

To make the brine, in a large stockpot, add 12 cups of water and 1 quart of apple juice.

Step 2

To the stock pot, add 1 ½ cups of coarse kosher salt, ½ cup of brown sugar and 3.2 teaspoons of pink curing salt #1.

Step 3

Continue adding 3 teaspoons of mustard seeds, 1 ½ teaspoons of allspice berries and 1 teaspoon of whole coriander seed.

Step 4

Continue adding ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon of ground ginger.

Step 5

Finish by adding 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick and 3 whole cloves.

Step 6

Bring to a boil and stir until all of the salt and sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat until the brine has cooled to room temperature.

Step 7

Place a 5 pound brisket flat into a large food safe container or cooler.

Step 8

When the brine has cooled, pour it over top of the brisket and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, turning the brisket once per day.

Note: Be sure the brisket is completely submerged. If needed, you can place a plate as a weight on top of the brisket to keep it below the brine.

Step 9

After curing, discard the brine and replace with clean water.

Step 10

Allow the brisket to desalinate in the clean water placed in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Step 11

To prepare the pastrami rub, in a small skillet set over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns, 2 tablespoons of whole coriander seeds and 1 tablespoon of whole mustard seeds.

Step 12

Toast the spices for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, then transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and pulse until well combined. Place in a small mixing bowl.

Step 13

To the mixing bowl, continue adding 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of onion powder.

Step 14

Continue adding 2 tablespoons of paprika, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of garlic powder. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Step 15

Lay out multiple layers of plastic wrap and place the brisket on top. Coat the brisket with the pastrami rub and wrap tightly.

Step 16

Place the brisket back in the refrigerator on a rimmed baking sheet for an additional 1-2 days.

Step 17

Preheat your smoker to 250℉. Unwrap the pastrami and place it directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and smoke until the internal temperature of the brisket reads 203℉. This will take approximately 6-8 hours.

Note: This step is optional, but to help you get through the stall, you can wrap your pastrami in pink butcher paper once the internal temperature reaches 165℉.

Step 18

When the pastrami is finished cooking, remove from the smoker and let rest for an hour before slicing against the grain. Alternatively, you can wrap the pastrami in plastic wrap and chill completely before slicing.

Note: Your pastrami slices can then be steamed lightly to warm before serving.

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