Smoked Pastrami

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

Saint Patrick’s Day is a good excuse to fire up your smoker for Smoked Pastrami this weekend. For this recipe I’m taking a Corned Beef brisket flat and turning it into fresh Pastrami.

I picked up a 4.5lb flat from my local grocery store this week to start the process. First you want to get most of the salt out of the corned beef for Pastrami.

Smoked Pastrami

Place the flat in a large plastic container and cover it with cool water. It’ll need to hang out in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, and the water needs to be changed every 4 hours to remove the salt.

Once we’ve removed most of the salt, the flat is ready for a good rub.

Smoked Pastrami

Pastrami Rub Recipe:

  • ½ cup Restaurant Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ cup Sugar in the Raw
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder

Combine these ingredients in a bowl and place in a dredge shaker. Pastrami needs a good bit of rub, so don’t hold back when applying it. You want a heavy coat on all sides of the flat. Let it hang out at room temperature while the smoker comes up to temperature.

Smoked Pastrami

Today I’m firing up The Big Green Egg for this smoke but you can use any smoker set up for indirect cooking. Run the pit at 275 degrees and add a few chunks of Pecan and Cherry to the hot coals for smoke.

Smoked Pastrami

When the grill stabilizes at 275⁰, place the flat on the cooking grate and close the lid for 3 hours. At this point it will have absorbed plenty of smoke flavor and the bark should be just right. The internal will be somewhere around 160-165⁰.

Now it’s time to tenderize the Pastrami, and we do this by creating steam. You’ll need a ½ size aluminum pan and a cooling rack. Sit the rack in the bottom of the pan and pour in 2 cups of beef broth. The liquid should cover the bottom but not come over the rack.

Place the pastrami flat on the rack and insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and continue cooking. The target internal temp is 202⁰ and it’ll take about 2 more hours to get there.

Smoked Pastrami

When the alarm goes off remove the Pastrami from the pan and place it directly on the cooking grate. It’ll be really hot, so you’ll want to wear some nitrile gloves with cotton liners. The steam softens the bark, so it needs about 15 minutes back on the grate to dry out.

Now the Pastrami is fully cooked but it needs to rest a little while before slicing. Just let it hang out on the cutting board for 20-30 minutes. You can cover it loosely with foil but don’t wrap it tight.

Smoked Pastrami

Slice the Pastrami across the grain with a sharp roast carving knife and cut it into whatever size slices you prefer. I like it very thin, so I can pile it high on a sandwich.

Smoked Pastrami

A Smoked Pastrami Ruben paired with a pint of Guinness is sure to bring you the “Luck of the Irish” on this Saint Paddy’s Day!

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Smoked Pastrami Recipe


  • 4lb Corned Beef Brisket Flat
  • ½ cup Restaurant Ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ cup Sugar in the Raw
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 2 cups Beef Broth


  1. Place corned beef brisket flat in large container and cover with cool water. Keep container in refrigerator for 12 hours changing the water every 4 hours.
  2. Preheat Big Green Egg or other smoker/grill set up for indirect cooking. Bring temperature to 275⁰ and add chunks of pecan and cherry wood to hot coals for smoke.
  3. Remove brisket from water and pat dry with paper towel.
  4. Combine Black Pepper, Sugar, Garlic, Coriander, Mustard, & Onion Powder. Apply rub mixture over entire surface of brisket.
  5. Place Brisket Flat on smoker and cook for 3 hours.
  6. Pour beef broth into half size aluminum food service pan. Place brisket flat on wire cooling rack in pan, insert probe thermometer and cover pan with foil.
  7. Cook until internal temperature reaches 202⁰.
  8. Remove brisket from pan and place directly on cooking grate for 15 min.
  9. Rest brisket for 20-30 minutes loosely covered with aluminum foil.
  10. Slice pastrami across grain into desired thickness.
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37 responses to “Smoked Pastrami Recipe”

  1. zach says:

    Thanks so much for creating this website it’s a ton of help! 1 question. Would you use the same time and temp on the grill for deer pastrami as you did for beef? I have 4 or 5 smaller loins and roasts as opposed to 1 big 5 pd roast.

  2. Lance Gustafson says:

    Worst corned beef pastram I ever made. Dryer than a popcorn fart & I followed directions to the t?

    • Malcom Reed says:

      Not a lot of info to find out what went wrong. One idea is the smoker temp. If you have a lot of heat fluctuations during cooking you can expect it to be dryer at the end. You have to hold the temps steady.

      • Chef Paul Kirk says:

        First of all all ovens-Smokers etc cook differently. I was always taught that a recipe is a guideline, not an absolute. You pay attention to what your cooking , if it is cooking too fast or drying out you make adjustments.

    • steve says:

      Try smoking to 175. Cured meats can go to a lower temp. An uncured brisket would go to 195-2015

  3. Jerry roessler says:

    You are awesome you never surprise me that’s some of the stuff you cook and smoke thanks a lot for all the lessons is highly appreciated

  4. Billyb says:

    I followed this recipe and got pretty good results. I had to extend time a bit but that’s just difference in cooking masterbilt vs green egg. I will definitely make it again. Thanks for posting.

  5. Scott Tulloss says:

    I have used this recipe several times and my friends & family love it. I am making another one today to help finish off some rye bread from this past weekend. All Malcom’s recipes I have followed are winners. That Football Explosion though, hot damn that was good. Keep it up Malcom!

  6. Pete says:

    What size BGE do you use? I have a Large and the lump ran out while the flat was only at 184 degrees. Had to finish in oven, never had that happen. I was using the BGE lump and a pit probe and stayed within 275 (+/- 5 degrees) throughout. Any suggestions?

    • Malcom Reed says:

      This was an BGE XL – and I’ve had my BGE run for hours without checking up. But using the Pit Probe does seem to stoke it more and use more fuel. Jut try loading it up with lump and letting it burn slowly down…

  7. John Minkin says:

    Made this over the Easter weekend, totally awesome! I followed your directions to a T. Son and son-in-law thought it was outstanding, called it meat candy! Thanks for the recipe and guidance. I made your smoked turkey last Thanksgiving and it was a total hit. Thanks Malcolm!

  8. Shawn Gallagan says:

    I have smoked several corned beefs now and found this very helpful! I have one in the fridge soaking right now for smoking tomorrow! Thanks for all your tips and recipes Malcolm!

  9. richard leamons says:

    Malcom I’m gona try this, this sunday hope it turns out ok ,its only a 2.5 pound corned beef. love the videos ,I’m learning a lot watching them thanks…

  10. rich says:

    the recipe looks great but the majority of other pastrami recipes ive read use pickling spice with the brine, is it not needed with a corned beef cut ?

  11. Justin says:

    Awesome recipe. I wanted it for sandwiches, so I cooled it to room temperature (or close) in a foil tent and then plastic wrapped it and put it in the fridge for a couple days. It stayed super moist and the flavor was great. As a side note, the rub may be a little spicy if you have a palate like my kids due to all the pepper, but I loved it. Great job Malcom.

  12. Ken says:

    So this looked great and I decided to give it a try. I pretty much followed the directions till it came time to wrap. I went with pink paper like in your regular brisket recipe. It turned out freakin’ awesome. Super moist and tender just like the beef brisket I did a few weeks ago. You make it so easy to BBQ right. Thanks brother!

  13. Martin Howe says:

    Just made it on my BGE, used directions to a tee, moist and flavorful. Perhaps the tenth recipe of yours I have used, there all great.I recommend your site to everyone. The Mojo Pork Chops are as good as chops get so if anyone out there has not tried those yet, I suggest you do soon.

  14. John Sherry says:

    Does anyone make a pre packaged pastrami rub?

  15. Rick says:

    I noticed you changed the rub from a previous version. Why the addition of sugar? I’m contemplating between the old rub and the new version.

  16. Josh Hall says:

    I just made this and loved it. The only thing I will do different next time it to trim the heavy fat off. But other than that, the two 4.5 pounders was awesome. I appreciate the recipe and great video and cant wait to try more of you recipes.

  17. Bill Madden says:

    Love this recipe, have one on the egg as I type this message. I don’t think the wife will ever buy deli pastrami or corned beef again.

  18. Mike says:

    You are saying a corned beef brisket flat. Are you buying this, pre pickled/corned, or how do you get it with the pickling spices.? I enjoy using pickling spices and doing my own. Would it be reasonable in your opinion to pickle my own brisket and then soak to remove some salt? I would then smoke it. Just wondering about the brisket mainly. Thanks.

  19. Kirk says:

    Hi Malcom… Did you rinse the salt from cured brisket because the beef was initially meant to be slow cooked in water? Your recipe for “corning” your own brisket, you do not do this.

    Love the site and guidance! You rock!

  20. Mark St. Amour says:

    I’ve made this a few times and loved it every time. It’s the best pastrami I’ve eaten without a trip to New York City. I’m making it again next weekend. One word to the wise – use care when transferring the flat from the steamer back to the grate. It’s awfully slippery. One got away from me once! Thanks Malcom for sharing your secrets. Learning to barbecue by trial and error is far too costly and time consuming!

  21. Casey T. says:

    We’ve made this 3 times in the last month for Sunday family dinner, we’re obsessed! Thanks for sharing! It’s become a favorite.

  22. Otto says:

    There is no way any of these comments marveling at this beef ever attempted to make this.

    Remember Frank where he spiced the beef in Korea and killed some men with ulcers? That’s what we have here. Why. Why Otto do you say that?

    because 1 half cup of Pepper! I even cut that in half to 1/4 cup and my stomach has been upset with me from bite one.

    I have almost to a T hated all internet recipes and this is just another junk one. He shakes the spice over his meet ala Frank, but then someone must have said, “Hey FRANK! how much should I write down?”

    oh tell them 1/2 cup black pepper.
    1/2 cup? Isn’t that a lot?
    well, they can cut it in half.
    isn’t that still a lot?

    YES! Yes it is!

  23. Sean Hoxworth says:

    Just made this today, used half the amount of black pepper, still VERY peppery!! But tastes amazing, again plenty of bite from half the pepper. Great pastrami

  24. Andy Piecuch says:

    Second year in a row I used this recipe for the extra corned beef I bought for St. Patrick’s Day. I cut the rub recipe in half, but kept the same ratios and used as much as the meat could hold. Accidentally cooked it to 212 degrees in the foil, because I wasn’t paying attention and it still came out fantastic. I find it hard to believe anyone could mess this recipe up, unless your grill thermometer is way off. Some of the best pastrami you’ll ever get if you follow the recipe. Thanks Malcom!

  25. Mark St Amour says:

    I have made this several times in my cabinet smoker, and the results are great! It’s a special recipe that comes out a couple of times a year. Fresh delicatessen style pastrami without the trip to New York City! Thank you Malcolm for eliminating much of the trial and error needed to learn to BBQ!

  26. Marco Antonio López says:

    Se ve deliciosa la receta pero podrías envíala en español para la gente de México
    Mi inglés es malo

  27. Tom says:

    Absolutely amazing. Only difference is that I smoked at 225 and the bumped to 250 in the tin and then at the end to set the bark. Came out great, took a little longer but worth it. Super juicy. Anyone saying it’s dry messed up the cook time or temps.

  28. John says:

    I’ve made this several times a year over the last 4 or 5 years. Sometimes exactly as the recipe states. Sometimes I cook and wrap it like a brisket. It’s always came out great.

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