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Jun 12, 2011 11:35 AM

Home Made pastrami

I am going to make my own Pastrami. Have read a lot all over the internet and several brine recipes called for Morton's Tender Quick. I am in New York City (Manhattan); does anyone know where I might find this in a store? Need to start brine on Tuesday for my timing to work so ordering on line will be very expensive with overnight trying to avoid if possible.

Any other Pastrami making tips would be appreciated as well.


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  1. Have you tried asking on the NYC board?

    2 Replies
    1. re: rasputina

      Funny you should ask...
      I posted there and someone suggested I try here
      So I have both bases covered


      1. re: Gold D

        ok, I just figured they would be more likely to know what stores would carry it. Good luck.

    2. Tender Quick is just a 2: salt:sugar mixture with sodium nitrate/nitrite.

      1. I can never find it here in Fla. I've been told that the ingredients can be use to make explosives so it's one reason why you don't see it sold everywhere. On line is my only easy source.

        2 Replies
        1. re: scubadoo97

          Sodium nitrate (saltpeter) is also used in gunpowder manufacture, but there are many more efficient ways to get it other than in Tender Quick (which really wouldn't work anyhow given the huge proportion of salt/sugar),

        2. I've made a dozen or so, though I use pink salt rather than tender quick. As noted, Tender Qujck just has a few extra ingredients. I buy online via Allied-Kenco. Very tough to find locally. Try some local "A&S Pork Store" type places. They make their own sausages, so might have it.

          I buy a whole packer brisket, usually between 12-18 lbs, but I separate the point and flat when trimming. Otherwise, you have about 1-2 inches or more of fat in between. This fat actually inhibits smoke penetration. I try to leave 1/8 to 1/4 inch of fat all around.

          I buy those jumbo size ziploc bags (2-3 gallons) and brine mine in them. Much easier as far as space saving than having to deal with a bucket. If your recipe calls for 7 days of brining, you may find it too salty. There is definitely an art to knowing when to pull it, and it's tricky. Too litlle brining, it will be grey in the middle, not red. Too much, and it can be very salty. What I do is go the full distance, but then soak it for an extra 12 hours in fresh water, changing the water a few times. This way, you can be sure it's cured, but it won't be overly salty.

          I smoke till it reaches 180 degrees internal. Most recipes tell you to take it off at a lower temp, but it never seems tender enough that way (you don't want it fall apart tender, but not chewy either).

          Finally, after smoking, wrap tightly in foil till it cools down. When ready to serve, steam it for 2 hours or so.