You can create your own corned beef or Pastrami right at home with pretty much any cut of beef. Personally I am a fan of the traditional Brisket for my home cure but for something really special I urge you to try curing Beef Short Ribs. Get yourself a whole plate of ribs 3-4 bones will do. Now in order to get that corned beef taste and color you'll need to pick up some pink curing salt also known as Prague powder. This can be obtained online or even in the salt section of your grocery store. The other product I picked up while in the spice isle was pickling spice. Now you can make your own using allspice berries, black pepper corns, bay leaf, coriander, and mustard seeds but I opted for the quick fix instead. Now the difference between corned beef and pastrami is the final cooking process. Pastrami is literally corned beef that has an exterior rub coating of coriander, black pepper, and mustard seeds. The coated beef is then smoked in a smoker rather then boiled. So if you dont have a smoker you may opt to boil your beef after using the traditional boiled dinner method. However if you do have a grill well the Pastrami transformation is really something special and something I urge you to try.
Making the brine: Alright you've got your curing salt, your pickling spice and a nice plate of short ribs so what you do next is to give those ribs a nice trim. Take off that hard fat on the top of the ribs.
Now that you have them pretty well trimmed you'll need either a large ziplock bag or a large vacuum seal bag. Place your ribs in a bag and start working your brine. In a large stock pot add you brine ingredients together and heat till all of the salts and sugar dissolved. Once dissolved allow brine to cool and add to your beef rib bag. Seal and place in a dish in case your brine leaks because you will be flipping these ribs daily to ensure an even cure.
Brine recipe: 1-1/2 cups kosher salt*
½ cup sugar (I used Maple Sugar)
4 teaspoons pink salt (sodium nitrite)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons pickling spice
1 Gallon of Water
Now that your ribs are in the brine bag with your brine you'll need to cure these for at least four days and up to 10 days max in your refrigerator. I opted for 5 days on this batch. Also remember to flip your bag daily or your cure maybe uneven. Once your satisfied with the cure time go ahead and drain your brine and remove the ribs from the bag and give them a really good long rinse in cold water. This part is crucial or your final product will be too salty. Once rinsed pat dry with paper towel and then make your pastrami rub and generously apply to the outside of your ribs on all sides.
2 Tablespoons of Black Peppercorns
2 Tablespoons of Coriander
1 Tablespoon of Mustard Seeds
1/2 Tablespoon of Celery seed
Crush with Mortar and Pestle
The final step is to smoke your beef ribs in yor smoker at 275° until your internal temp reaches 165° at this point wrap your ribs in butcher paper and return to the smoker until 195-203° or until meat probes easily. Remove from smoker and rest wrapped for one hour before slicing.