Home Cured Pastrami Rachel Sandwich




The classic Rachel Sandwich is one of my passions and the process is one that requires time and attention to detail. Here is my process following Michael Ruhlman’s methods.

Polcyn, Brian; Ruhlman, Michael (2005-11-17). Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing (p. 76). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.


1 gallon/4 liters water

11⁄2 cups/350 grams kosher salt

1 cup/225 grams sugar

11⁄2 ounces/42 grams pink salt (8 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon/8 grams Pickling Spice

1⁄2 packed cup/90 grams dark brown sugar

1⁄4 cup/60 milliliters honey

5 garlic cloves, minced

1. Combine all the brine ingredients in a pot large enough to hold the beef and bring to a simmer, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until the brine is chilled.

2. Place the beef in the brine and put a plate on top of it to keep it completely submerged. Refrigerate for 3 days. 3. Remove the beef from the brine, rinse it, and dry it. Discard the brine.

3. Remove the beef from the brine, rinse it, and dry it. Discard the brine.

4. Combine the coriander and pepper in a spice mill or coffee grinder and pulse until coarsely ground. Coat the beef evenly with the mixture.

5. Hot-smoke the beef (see page 77) to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F./65 degrees C. (Traditionally, pastrami is first cold-smoked, then hot-smoked to achieve a heavy smoke. So try to get as much smoke on it as possible by keeping it below its final temperature for as long as possible.)

6. To prepare the pastrami for serving, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F./140 degrees C.

7. Place the beef in an inch of water in a stockpot or on a rack above the same amount of water in a roasting pan. Bring the water to a simmer, then cover the pot, place it in the oven, and slow-roast or steam for 2 to 3 hours, until it’s fork-tender.

After 5 days in the brine mine looked like this.



Now it’s time to place the corned beef on a wire rack and let it air dry for 2 days in the fridge to develop a nice pellicle for the smoke to adhere to.

Once you are ready to smoke your corned beef remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. I then like to slather mine with a good Dijon mustard so the spice rub sticks and it helps to develop a nice bark. Now she’s ready for the smoker.




I used a chuck roast that I butchered late spring last year, note the fat ridge running lengthwise across the roast. I needed to skewer the 2 sides together so that they wouldn’t separate during the slow oak bath they were headed for.





After about 3 hours smoking at 275° it was ready to foil wrap and rest. The internal temperature was 155° and off she came.




I then sliced a little bit off and prepped my ingredients. I had already finished dinner but couldn’t resist a lttle sandwich for dessert.




I just love the smokey, pickled flavor of the end product. My Rachel Sandwich. Now go make your own!


Thanks for lookin! I’ll keep cookin.





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