What is it that people love so much about deli meats like pastrami? It's all about the spice.
The difference between pastrami and many other deli meats, other than the fact that pastrami is made from a specific brisket cut, is that it's literally caked with peppercorns, garlic, and other spices. Rather than being finely ground, many of the spices are cracked or quick crushed, to enhance the texture of the meat's bark. It has an intensely peppery flavor, and a tangy flavor from being brined often for days at a time. Here is the Sizzle Grove delicatessen-style dry rub for anyone who can't get enough of that NY-deli style flavor. The recipe was inspired by Sizzle Grove friend/correspondent Rob, who cooks his ribs with a distinctly pastrami-like, thick dry rub.
Brine a navel cut brisket for 2 days in a water/vinegar/mustard/brown sugar/salt mixture, rub it with this dry rub, smoke it, and guess what... you've got homemade pastrami.
3 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
2 tbsp cracked mustard seeds (yellow or black or both)
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp garlic powder (or add minced fresh garlic to the meat)
1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp crushed caraway seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp crushed or ground dried thyme leaves
As always, our recipe yields enough for leftover rub to store in the pantry for next time you barbecue. This one yields a bit more than our usual dry rub recipes, for those of you who attempt big old briskets.