Homemade Pastrami

I’ve been making homemade pastrami for years. I make what is commonly called ‘cheater’ pastrami, or ‘fauxstrami’. I don’t start with a brisket, brine (or ‘corn’) it for ages and then smoke it. Instead, I start with a corned beef brisket. The end result is absolutely fantastic.

I load up on corned beefs any time they are on sale. My relatives and neighbors absolutely love it when I make pastrami. It’s always a huge hit.
Homemade PastramiI took a slightly different approach than my traditional method and I’ve found this way to make homemade pastrami to be even better than the old. You still get that slight peppery bite, but the pastrami-like flavor seems more pronounced and further penetrates the meat than when I use a more coarse spice grind.

Homemade Pastrami

Note: I usually buy reduced sodium corned beef to make pastrami. If you have concerns over the amount of sodium, soak your brisket in cold water for 2 hours, replacing the water every 30 minutes.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 16 hours
Servings 1 corned beef
Author Mike


  • 1 corned beef brisket try to get a flat one that is consistent in thickness, such as a corned beef brisket flat
  • 2 tablespoons plus more, if needed yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3-4 tablespoons freshly ground pepper


  • Rinse and dry the corned beef.
  • Whisk together the mustard, brown sugar, coriander and allspice. You want the mixture to be slightly wet so that it adheres to the meat. If it does not, add a bit more mustard and mix.
  • Rub the mixture all over the brisket, then cover completely with the ground pepper. Place in a large resealable bag or wrap tightly in foil and keep in the fridge overnight.
  • The next day, fire up your smoker for 225-250 F. Place a chunk or two of light fruit wood in the smoker (I used cherry). Cook the brisket for at least 8 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 195 - 205 F.
  • Remove, wrap in foil, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Thinly slice the brisket against the grain using a meat slicer or sharp knife. Serve.

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