Homemade Pastrami Recipe [Video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
Updated:
Published:
5 from 6 reviews

Beef Christmas recipes Holiday Food Main Dishes Recipes St. Patrick's Day

Cook time Cook time: 3 hours

Homemade Pastrami boasts a signature spice crust with the juiciest, most tender corned brisket underneath. This deli classic is astonishingly easy to make! 

This homemade deli meat is phenomenal in sandwiches! It’s easily one of my favorites, along with a hearty Roast Beef Sandwich, Homemade Corned Beef Sandwiches, and Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches.

Oven Baked Pastrami Recipe

Homemade Pastrami is glorious piled high on fresh-baked rye, with sauerkraut and a squirt of spicy mustard or Russian dressing. Add Swiss cheese and some dill pickle relish, and you’re in absolute deli heaven. 

Before, the only way I could enjoy an authentic pastrami sandwich was to trek all the way to the nearest Jewish deli. But once I learned how to make my own, I could finally have it anytime I want. On top of that, making it from scratch is relatively cheaper than buying them in slices, and you’ll have tons left to share!

My love for this Homemade Pastrami isn’t just because it’s so delicious. It’s also outrageously easy. You just have to try it and see for yourself!

What is pastrami?

It begins with brined meat, usually a corned brisket. Then, it’s rubbed all over with a dark-colored blend of crushed spices and smoked for hours or days. 

This popular deli meat is typically served sliced thin for use as a sandwich filling, added to pasta dishes, or shaved over salads.

Is pastrami healthy to eat?

Yes, it’s a low-calorie item similar to deli ham and turkey, both considered light and lean options. Because it’s beef, it’s also loaded with protein. 

What kind of meat is used to make pastrami?

Beef, and to be more precise – corned beef. In the US you can find pre-packaged in most supermarkets, but you can easily make your own corned beef using this recipe. Traditional cuts used for this dish are the navel (the part just below the ribs) or deckle (lean and wide-cut taken from the shoulder). But nowadays, brisket has also become a popular choice. 

What is corned beef and how do you make your own? 

Corned beef is basically the first step to mouthwatering pastrami— a brisket submerged in a pickling brine for at least 5 days. It’s even easier than this recipe!

First, you make the brine by boiling pickling spices and salt together, then chilling it down. You place the meat in there and refrigerate for about 5 days to a week.

After the brining period, wash it off, simmer with more pickling spices until tender and done. Your corned beef is now ready to be made into sandwiches, cooked with cabbage, hash, and more.

How do you make Homemade Pastrami from scratch?

  1. Make the spice crust. Coarsely grind the peppercorns together with the coriander. Mix this with the rest of the spices.
  2. Coat the corned beef in the spice mix. Dry it as well as you can, then roll firmly over the spice mixture. Make sure it gets into every nook and cranny.
  3. Bake. Cook in a 300F oven for 3 hrs. After that, pour ½ cup water, cover the brisket with foil, and continue cooking for another ½ hour.
  4. Cool. Take it from the oven and chill completely in the fridge.
  5. Enjoy. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe Variations:

  • Use other meat: Lamb or turkey is delicious subs for beef!
  • Make it New England-style: Add paprika to the pepper-coriander spice mix for flavor and color.
  • Smoke it: Our oven-baked pastrami is delicious, but if you have a smoker, DEFINITELY try it for this recipe instead of baking it. The smoky, woody flavors are magnificent with the spice crust and beef!

How to know when pastrami is done cooking?

This is a tricky one, as you want it a nice pink color in the center. Overcooked pastrami is not fun. The best way to tell if it’s ready is by measuring its internal temp, which should be 200 degrees. Visually, it will shrink from its original size by up to 20%, and the outside should be almost completely black.

What’s the best way to cook pastrami?

Grilling gives it such nice caramelization, similar to griddling the slices. You can also bake it, or pan fry it if you want a little crispiness in your meat. But for that trademark soft and luscious New York texture, steam it before serving. That’s my favorite way of doing it!

Can you make it on the grill?

Yes, and I can’t recommend it enough! It gives the meat an unbelievably smoky, salty, and spicy flavor.

How do you make Homemade Pastrami in the smoker?

Once your corned beef is coated with the spice rub, cook it in your smoker at 225F for around 6 hours. I love the flavor that cherry wood chips give, but feel free to use your preferred wood. Take it off the smoker after 6 hrs. once the internal temp reaches 220F. Cool completely for a few hours before slicing.

Can you cook it in the slow cooker?

Yes. Set the spiced corned brisket in a rack inside your crockpot. Cook it on low for 10 hrs.

After this, seal the crust by baking at 350F for about 30 mins. Cool, slice, and enjoy!

Keep in mind that it is really easy to overcook it, so from time to time, don’t forget to check its internal temperature.

How to store Homemade Pastrami:

Tightly wrap in foil or cling plastic, then keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. You can also freeze them for 6 months. I like portioning out into single servings for easier storage. This way, everyone can pull out a serving without getting into the rest. 

Thaw, then reheat by steaming, grilling, baking, or pan-frying.

More Holiday Main Dishes:

Recipe Tips:

  • Choose a well-marbled cut for juicy results.
  • Don’t grind your peppercorns too finely. You want a nice texture in the crust, so go for a coarse grind. 
  • Use a deli slicer for beautifully thin cuts.
homemade pastrami

Homemade Pastrami

Homemade Pastrami boasts a signature spice crust with the juiciest, most tender corned brisket underneath.
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 680kcal
Author: Catalina Castravet

Ingredients

  • 4.5 - 5 pounds raw corned beef
  • 1/2 cup water

Spice Rub:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup red peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Add the black and red peppercorns and coriander to a coffee grinder and grind until coarsely chopped, you should see the pieces of black and red pepper individually, don't make it into a powder.
  • Mix with the other spices in a large shallow dish.
  • Pat dry the meat with paper towels and roll it in the spice mixture so it is covered well and uniformly on all sides.
  • Place it onto a rack (if you don't have one it's ok) into a shallow baking sheet or dish.
  • Cook it for 2-3 hours, after that pour in a half cup of water, and cover the meat with foil, and cook an additional 30 minutes, or until the beef reaches 165 degrees F in the center. I check the internal temperature pretty often, to make sure I don't overcook it.
  • Cool the meat to room temperature wrap it in plastic wrap and cool overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Thinly slice and serve.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 680kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 153mg | Sodium: 3461mg | Potassium: 1067mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 902IU | Vitamin C: 79mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 7mg
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Comments

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Dorothy Reinhold

As much as I love pastrami I can't believe I have never tried to grill it! I am so hungry! :)

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Sara Welch

Looking forward to enjoying some of this on a sandwich! Can practically smell all those yummy aromas!

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Beth

Looks so delicious! Can't wait to make this recipe! My family is going to love this!

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Sandra

Oh I loved it!! Everyone at my house enjoyed it too!! Thanks for the recipe!

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Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

This Homemade Pastrami is seriously making me hungry!

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Toni

I love it!! Homemade is really the best! Thanks for the recipe!

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Kevin

This is such a great idea! I have to get the ingredients to make this!

Reply

DeFe

Hi Catalina, I want to make homemade pastrami. So first I would follow your corned beef recipe for brisket and then follow the pastrami recipe, correct? Thank you very much. I can't wait to try this. Our youngest son absolutely loves pastrami sandwiches from Langers Deli in Los Angeles. It's way to expensive to ship to Arizona!

Reply

Hi, yesss! That is correct, if you don't have corned beef on hand.

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