Monday, May 13, 2013

Pastrami and Mother's Day Weekend - Both Were Smoking!

I LOVE Mother's Day! It's the one day of the year I (officially) get to celebrate the three things in my life I treasure most, my kids. Three daughters. Whew! 

It doesn't hurt that there are gifts involved either...AND a day free of cooking. Actually, it was an entire cooking-free weekend since Mark and I hit up the PGH Taco Truck for dinner on Friday night.

Kimber came home bright and early Saturday morning, while Mieke and Julie celebrated with the kids - those precious grandkids - in MI and WV. Regardless, phone calls and sweet thoughts connected us all. So Kimber and I did the usual mom/daughter activities. We shopped and we dined!

We kicked off the Saturday no-cooking weekend with brunch at Meat & Potatoes, followed by stops at the Strip District and opening day of the Firehouse Farmers Market, a quick (but productive) tour of Ross Park, dinner with Mark at Franktuary in Lawrenceville and later made the rounds of a few hot spots in town - including Kimber's first time at Tender. How did we cap off the night? SHOE shopping! What a perfect mom/daughter day!

Sunday brought more good food, only this time at home. Kimber flipped a few fresh blueberry, gluten-free pancakes for breakfast and a little later Mark fired up the smoker. A quick mix up of a simple pastrami-ish rub for corned beef brisket was the ONLY cooking I did all weekend. (Really, can you even call mixing spices cooking?) As much as I love to cook - and you know I do(!) - sometimes a break feels really good.

The pastrami? Incredibly delicious. Just a simple spice and brown sugar rub and HOURS over applewood chips produced a tender and moist, smoky and succulent piece of heaven. The perfect ending to a perfectly wonderful and wonderfully fun Mother's Day weekend. 

Pastrami Spiced Smoked Corned Beef

  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • reserved packet of spices from the corned beef brisket package

  • a 3-4 pound corned beef brisket, reserve packet of spices to use in the spice rub above
  • 4 cups applewood chips, soaked in water for about an hour  

Remove the corned beef from the package and rinse well under water. Dry with paper towels and set aside.

In a small coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds, cardamom seeds and peppercorns to a medium grind. Transfer the spices to a small bowl, add the salt, reserved packet of spices and brown sugar and mix well.

Pat the spice rub over all sides of the corned beef. Let sit to almost room temperature before putting onto the smoker.

Prepare the smoker as you normally would, place the meat fat side UP and smoke the corned beef until tender. 5-5 1/2 hours more or less. Let rest at least 15 minutes and slice thinly. Pastrami Reubens with the leftovers anyone?

(The smoking technique is very general since I don't know if you're using an electric or charcoal smoker. If you smoke, you KNOW how to use your smoker to obtain the best results!)

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