(My subconscious eagerness to share this may have caused me to accidentally publish it before saying anything… By the way, WordPress, if you’re reading, a “confirm publish” pop-up may be quite useful you know) Uhem… so, where was I?

There are two types of carnivorous Earthlings in this cosmos. One who has been blessedly graced by the acknowledgement and transformative tevilah of a truly, truly great pastrami. And one who unknowingly misunderstands it as being overrated. Before stepping a foot in New York, I couldn’t care less what a chunk of weirdly pink, muscularly dry and cold Jewish staple would taste like in between two pieces of woodboard-rye, but then of course, Katz got my tongue at the age of 21. Before stepping a foot in Montreal where they can’t even get bagels right, I couldn’t care less what us Canadians have to say about a warm, spiced-up version of pastrami they call “smoked meat”. Then I again stood humbly corrected at the heel of Schwartz a few years later. Life since, has never been the same.

faux-smoked-meat04 faux-smoked-meat01faux-smoked-meat03

If you have ever been touched by the light of pastrami-gospel, you better make sure that you stay inside it because such enlightenment could backfire when you move to a place where there is none, which is to say, shit, everywhere else. Five years ago I left pastrami-land, and started to see the hidden side of reality stripping itself naked from my previously blissful ignorance. Without it blindfolding my appetite, I’m haunted by the pastrami-vacancy that I didn’t even know was there. I now realized that there’s New York. There’s Montreal. Then there’s the rest of the barren world without this smoky pink.

But I never took an action beyond bitter resentment and a trip down memory lane. Sure I have heard of false prophecies of adequate delis here and there, but the possibility to find a just-as-good pastrami or smoked meat elsewhere in the world, is instantly severed by good senses and a dose of snobbishness. Such complex didn’t drive me into the kitchen to forge my own either, because the idea of making smoked meat or pastrami without a smoker or a Jewish grandmother for that matter, felt preposterously moronic. Offensive even. I’ve tried to learn more about options I could use, such as electronic smokers (a friend of mine’s had some great luck with these lately) or even the oven smoking method, but I was too worried of filling my apartment with smoke from lack of understanding. Plus, being a genetically wired doubter, I’d like to think I have respect for artisans.

Until yesterday, I stood correctly again, by myself, 13 years after my first encounter with a true pastrami.

faux-smoked-meat06 faux-smoked-meat05 faux-smoked-meat07faux-smoked-meat29

A couple years ago, when I was herding my boredom aimlessly through the fields of a gourmet food store in Hong Kong, I heard a voice… OK, fine no. I simply spotted a plain box of hickory smoked sea salt sitting on its bright-lighted, commercial and non-mystical isle. The house-plants section just next to it wasn’t on fire either. See, a sign from the above should always be so comprehensive and straight-forward I always say. Anyhow, an idea came to me, in combination of a pastrami recipe I read on the Charcuterie -bible, that I could theoretically reduce the amount saltiness in the meat-brine with a combination of kosher salt and smoked salt, then boost with more smoked salt as part of the spiced-crust as a cheat-way to introduce smokiness to the meat without smoking. Just hypothetically, you know, an idea to sit on for the next 3 years to come because us doubters normally act carefully upon speculation.

Until last night, the cosmos decided the time was ripe. I put my task in action.



This, guys, this tasted, fucking unbelievable it was almost miraculous. A pile of sticky, melty, cured heaven far beyond the borders of pastrami-holy land. It was like the pastrami-God and I leaned forward and touched fingers. The smokiness wasn’t aggressively pronounced – as it shouldn’t really be anyways – but unmistakably there. If anything, a few final sprinkles of smoked sea salt on top of the slices took it right where it should be. Best yet, even thought it may not look so, it was possibly one of the least gruesome, fuss-free work I’ve done in the pursuit of an impressive spectacle to be admired over, only requiring kitchen-skills such as boiling water and dry-rubbing spices, and perhaps the entire season of House of Cards to get you through the waiting-time.

Seriously, I’ve cooked eggs that involve more work.

I won’t even blame you if you’re sitting cautiously doubtful in front of your computer right now, as you should towards anything too good to be true. In fact, sleep on it, like I did. Because such destined calling needs time to mature. Then, for whatever reason when you decide to take the dive, expect the world atlas to change forever as mine.

From now on, there’s New York. There’s Montreal. And then there’s my kitchen. Potentially yours, too.



This recipe is more “smoked meat” than “pastrami”, more spiced-up and served hot or at least warm. Because… oh shit… here it goes. MontrealsmokedmeatisbetterthanNewYorkpastrami. There, I said it.

I’ve talked a bit more about pink salt/DQ curing salt/DC curing salt in the duck prosciutto post, and there are extensive details about it in the book. I understand that unfamiliarity can sometimes be intimidating, but if you are even just semi-serious about charcuteries, that’s the one thing you should keep in your pantry. Without going into details, you should know that its main purpose is to “prevent botulism poisoning”, which sounds like something we’d like to avoid, doesn’t it? Nowadays getting it takes nothing but a few clicks online and you’ll see it resting on your doorstep a few days later, not to mention that it keeps forever just like salt. So chop chop.

In Asia, there is no specifically separated cut as a “brisket”, which is usually left attached to the rest of the riblet scraps and connective tissues and sold as rib/chest-meat or niu-nan. In the first picture you can see these strips of meat and connective tissues where the rib-bones used to be attached to. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s fucking fantastic! These meat-scraps and connective tissues cook down to wonderfully sticky and gelatinous bonuses that only aid the pursuit of a perfectly moist pastrami. If you are able to get this cut, I would highly recommend it. If not, good old brisket would do beautifully.

UPDATE 2015/10/22: I want to reduce the smoked salt in the “spice crust” from 1/4 cup (40 grams) to 1/8 cup (20 grams), then reserve the rest to sprinkle on the finished product to have a more pronounced “smokiness”.


  • Faux-smoked meat/pastrami: adapted from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn
    • 3 ~ 5 lbs (1.5 ~ 2.5 kg) of beef brisket/rib meat
    • Brine:
      • 4 litres of water
      • 6.6 oz (185 grams) of kosher salt (pls measure by weight because different brands differ in weight)
      • 1/4 cup (40 grams) of hickory smoked sea salt
      • 3/4 cup (172 grams) of sugar
      • 1/4 cup (44 grams) of dark brown sugar
      • 1/4 cup (85 grams) of honey
      • 2 1/2 tbsp (1.5 oz/42 grams) of pink salt/DQ curing salt/DC curing salt
      • 1 tbsp (8 grams) of pickling spice
      • 7 cloves of garlic, smashed
    • Spice crust:
      • 3/4 cup (90 grams) of black peppercorns
      • 1/3 cup (27 grams) of coriander seeds
      • 1/3 cup (27 grams) of mustard seeds
      • 1/8 cup (20 grams) of hickory smoked sea salt, plus more to sprinkle at serving
      • 1 tbsp (8 grams) of pickling spice (store-bought or recipe below)
  • 1 loaf of New York deli rye bread: recipe from Smitten Kitchen
  • Yellow mustard to serve
  • More hickory smoked sea salt to taste

To brine the meat (3 to 4 days ahead): If you are using store-bought pickling spice like I did and the seeds and berries came whole, just lightly crack the spices in a mortar/spice-grinder. Combine everything under the “Brine” in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Stir until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved, then leave to cool completely (in theory, if you have lots of ice-cubes to spare: you can probably start with 2.5 litres of water, then add 1 litre of ice-cubes later to speed up the cooling-time). After the water has completely cooled to room-temperature, submerge the brisket/rib meat (leave a good 1/2″ or 1 cm surface-fat attached) inside the brine, and put a plate on top to press it down if necessary. Cover the pot and let brine in the fridge for 3 days (some recipes say 2 days… so if you’re in a hurry).

To cook the meat (the night before):

6:00 ~ 6:10 PM – Make the spice crust: Toast the coriander seeds and mustard seed on a skillet over medium heat until they start to pop rapidly and smell fragrant. Coarsely grind them in a mortar or spice-grinder, then set aside. Coarsely grind the black peppercorns and add to the coriander/mustard seeds mixture, then finely grind the pickling spice and add it to the mix. Add the hickory smoked sea salt and mix evenly. You may have leftover of this mixture depending on the size of your meat.

6:10 ~ 6:20 PM: Rinse the brisket/rib meat under water (it’s ok if there are some spices sticking to it) and pad dry. Place it on top of 2 layers of heavy-duty foil, then apply a generous coating of the spice crust-mixture all over the meat. Press the mixture into the meat to help it stick if must. Wrap the meat tightly inside the foil and make a couple of slits on the bottom to drain excess liquid. Set over a baking rack, slits-side down, on top of a baking sheet. Leave over the counter for 2 hours for the meat to completely come back to room-temperature.

7:50 PM: Preheat the oven on 220ºF/105ºC.

8: 20 PM ~ 8:20 AM the next morning: The meat will stay 12-hours inside the oven overnight, so plan accordingly depending on your schedule – say if you normally wake up at 8 o’clock in the morning (or 12 at noon…), then you should start the cooking at 8 o’clock the night before (uhem, or 12 at midnight…). Place the baking sheet inside the oven then just forget it’s there for the next 12 hours. There’s nothing to be done! Go watch TV… go to sleep… It’s not there. The next morning after 12 hours, just turn the oven off and leave the meat to cool completely inside the oven. Carry on with your day like it isn’t there.

To serve the faux-smoked meat/pastrami:

1 hour before serving: Unwrap the meat from the foil, then place it over a steamer-basket. I simply place a small rack inside a large wok, but you can do this in a proper steamer-pot of course. Fill the pot with 2~3 cups of water then bring to a boil on hight heat. Place the steamer-basket with the meat on top into the pot (without the meat touching the water of course), then put the lid on. Turn the heat down to medium ~ medium-low, and steam/re-heat the smoked meat for at least 45 min ~ 1 hour. Carefully transfer the meat onto a cutting board (it’s quite fragile at this point) and let rest for 10 min before slicing.

Serve an unapologetic pile of sliced smoked meat/pastrami, sprinkled with more smoked sea salt on top as preferred, in between 2 slices of quality rye bread smeared with yellow mustard. And believe.

To make your own pickling spice: from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn

  • 2 tbsp (20 grams) of black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp (20 grams) of mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp (20 grams) of coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp (12 grams) of hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp ( 14 grams) of allspice berries
  • 2 tbsp (6 grams) whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp (8 grams) of ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp (8 grams) of ground mace
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 24 dried bay leaves, crumbled

Lightly toast black peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat until you hear them popping. Lightly crack them in a mortar/spice grinder and mix with the other ingredients. Keep in an air-tight container until needed.


  • Crystal | Apples & Sparkle

    March 25, 2014 at 2:05 PM Reply

    Stunning photos! Home made charcuterie just got added to my culinary bucket list.

  • Brianne

    March 25, 2014 at 8:35 PM Reply

    I have lusted for the Charcuterie book for years. YEARS, damnit! Why don’t I just buy the frickin thing? (Meager graduate student salary, that’s why). This looks awesome. Pink salt scares me, but I’m not sure why…I guess that’s why I haven’t bought Charcuterie, because then I’d have to tackle my meat-curing fear head on. You make it more approachable, though. Less work than frying an egg (or poaching, perhaps, which I suck at)? I’m in.

    • Michael S.

      March 26, 2014 at 12:15 AM Reply

      Trust me, if you want try curing meat Corned Beef and Pastrami the easiest place to start. No special equipment and no use of molds or bacteria. Just a brine,a container and refrigerator.

  • Melinda

    March 25, 2014 at 9:52 PM Reply

    uh oh. them’s fightin words. Having never been to Montreal, and having lived in NYC & been to Katz many times, um . . . there’s no way that whatever “smoked meat” is that it’s better than pastrami!!! Crazy Mandy.

  • Michael S.

    March 25, 2014 at 11:10 PM Reply

    I’ve been making Corned Beef for a number of years. Really popular for St Patrick’s day. I like to leave my brine for about 10 days but I have read that Katz Deli in New York brines for 30. I think I’m going to have to try this. I have been wanting to try pastrami for year but never had a reliable way of smoking it.

  • LunchDesk

    March 25, 2014 at 11:14 PM Reply

    Lots of love from Montreal !!!!
    I love your creativity!! You need to come to Montreal !!!

  • Kari

    March 26, 2014 at 1:03 AM Reply

    Could you just send me the sandwich in the photo…almost lunch time here. :)

  • Sophie

    March 26, 2014 at 3:15 AM Reply

    Woohoo! Congratulations on this method and on being able to enjoy this meat in your life again and THANK YOU for sharing with us!

  • Danguole

    March 26, 2014 at 5:03 AM Reply

    OMFG indeed! Wow. I’ve made homemade pastrami before (in a stovetop smoker) without pink salt, but now I’m convinced there’s no other way to go. These pictures are drop-dead gorgeous, and I’m really glad I found your blog–really digging your writing as well! Cheers!

  • stef de fla

    March 26, 2014 at 10:20 AM Reply

    This looks gorgeous. It makes me wanna forget about my smoker.

    • Walter

      June 27, 2017 at 6:03 AM Reply

      Don’t forget about your smoker! I left out the smoked salt, added Caraway seeds to the coating and smoked at 225 for 14 hrs. Wow!!!!!

  • Bob Beck @bobskitchenblog

    March 26, 2014 at 10:23 AM Reply

    Fuck yes!

  • opinionatedchef

    March 26, 2014 at 11:43 AM Reply

    I really can’t understand why NONE of the brine recipes I have ever seen- understands the principal that one does not need to boil 4 liters of water to dissolve a few cups of salt/sugar. You can much more quickly dissolve that sugar/salt in just 2 cups/16 ou. of boiling water, and then, once dissolved, add cold water to total 4 liters, then add the rest of spices etc.
    Thanks much for the rest of the piece; i learned alot!

    • mandy@ladyandpups.com

      March 26, 2014 at 12:55 PM Reply

      OPINIONATED CHEF: yes!!! I only realized that AFTER I finished boiling those stupid 4 litres… I mentioned in the recipe that one could use less water then dump a bunch of ice cubes in to dilute/cool it down, as an after thought… I’m with you.

  • Belinda@themoonblushbaker

    March 27, 2014 at 11:38 PM Reply

    You have no idea how much this recipe excites me. Yep meat ( especially smoked ones get me going in the kitchen). In Australia we hardly get good meats; so trying this recipe might fulfill my meaty sandwich dreams.

    I have only brine meat in enough water to cover it… So i had no idea people used up to 4 litters…oh learning everyday

  • Annette Venditti

    March 29, 2014 at 3:33 AM Reply

    This looks beautiful! Loves all cured and smoked meats and fish and this recipe is a must try for me soon.

    I am a true carnivore who also eats tons of vegetables and salads, they just always taste better alongside a steak or smoked pork ribs!

  • Bill@thewoksoflife

    March 30, 2014 at 6:56 PM Reply

    I haven’t had a fresh pastrami sandwich in a while and it’s been longer than that since having smoked meats in Montreal. Awesome creation although it looks like a lot of work and love went into that!

  • barry

    April 1, 2014 at 11:03 PM Reply

    This sounds fantastic and the photography is beautiful. Looking forward to trying it. Heads up though, I think you meant ‘barren’ for the headline.

    • mandy@ladyandpups.com

      April 2, 2014 at 2:59 AM Reply

      Barry, oh oops!! Haaaaa thanks for the heads up! There are a lot of those in this blog I bet… Will fix it :)

  • leawh

    April 1, 2014 at 11:07 PM Reply

    Born and raised in Montreal, I love me some smoked meat. When I saw the heading faux smoked meat, I thought a vegetarian version??? This is my lucky day. Malheuresment, it was not to be. ! I wonder if it would work……. Hmmmm

  • FoodNerd

    April 1, 2014 at 11:16 PM Reply

    God damn that looks epic!!! Want to put it in my face right now! Bet it tasted insane! Good work!

    FoodNerd x


  • Harley

    April 2, 2014 at 6:27 AM Reply

    Your horribly wrong opinions on bagels aside, that looks like a pretty fantastic “smoked” meat attempt.

    I’ll have to give this a try!

  • DC

    April 15, 2014 at 2:04 PM Reply

    The last 4 days I prepared this incredible looking and smelling, and i am sure tasting dish.

    But, yes now comes the big but, and it is not you, it is me as they say, ore to be more specific my oven…

    So let me tell you, last evening at precisely 8 p.m. I had my Montreal faux smoked meat ready spiced up and wrapped in foil. It already had rested for 2 to 3 hours, the oven was preheated and everything was sweet and solid as ever. So i put my meat on the rack and even put a termometer in the oven to check how the tempreture is really doing.
    So wen i went to bed at 11:30 p.m. I had a very good feeling about this.

    Now, in the present I woke up and had to rush down to see what my meat is doing, just to get shocked by what i saw there…

    A automatic shut off and cold oven!

    My face was melting, my nerves where falling apart. So obviously, my German oven thinks that keeping it working for 12 hours is agains any labor agreement here. Damn you great social system!

  • DC

    April 15, 2014 at 2:07 PM Reply

    Second part of my comment:

    Well after my little meltdown, i started the oven again and checked by hand the temperature of the meat, wich was still slightly warmer than my palm. Now i will give it another two hours, and for the next peace of meat, which by the way is already in the brine, i know better.
    I will give my oven a guarantied pause after 6 hours, well not two long, 10 min max.

    P.S.: I love your blog

    • mandy@ladyandpups.com

      April 15, 2014 at 2:36 PM Reply

      DC: HAHAHHAHAA hilarious! Sorry sorry… I didn’t mean to laugh at such kitchen disasters as when they happen to me, it isn’t very funny. But still, I couldn’t help but LOL a little bit at your comment. I hope the meat turns out OK!! It’s too much patience to go in vain…..

      • DC

        April 15, 2014 at 6:05 PM Reply

        Dear Mandy,

        don’t get me wrong but this is a love-post-reply.
        Yes it is. Period.

        If you did not hook me directly with your blog when I first stumbled upon it, you hooked me now, for good, for ever.
        Besides my faux-pas with the oven, who from now on will be treated like a rebel, the smoked meat turned out incredible. And for me, as I am a Romanian, where the whole Pastrami/Smoked meat hype originated from (Schwartz was a former Romanian citizen), I am very thankful that you brought me this back.
        I am for a long time now into charcuterie, with my own “line” of salami, mici and other stuff, but I never did the “pastrama” how we call it in Romania.

        So thanks again, and you may laugh all day long, it was my intention to turn my oven-madness into a funny story. :-)
        Too bad i can’t respond with a picture…

  • Maggie

    May 18, 2014 at 3:03 AM Reply

    Everytime I go to Canada I bring home frozen packages of Montreal Smoked Meat. Today I ran out and bought everything I will need to make this as soon as my internet ordered salts arrive, hopefully by Tuesday. Glad I read the comments first, though, cuz my oven also has an automatic shutoff which I had forgotten about! Cannot wait to make this awesome looking meat!

  • Barry

    May 18, 2014 at 9:20 AM Reply

    My 2nd comment in one night. You are going to make me want to start cooking again. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Gaby

    December 20, 2014 at 9:13 AM Reply

    All of the food and photos are enjoyable.

  • danilo

    January 26, 2015 at 8:41 PM Reply

    This looks amazing!! I always wanted to try to cook pastrami at home somehow. I was wondering: what do you think of cooking it in a dutch oven, it might help to keep the humidity better. And also: would liquid smoke do? Anyway, great recipe, thank you very much!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      January 26, 2015 at 9:41 PM Reply

      Danilo: I would still wrap it up in foil then put in a dutch oven just in case. I’ve never used liquid smoke, but have always been curious! Let me know how it turns out if you do :)

  • Jason

    February 14, 2015 at 10:20 AM Reply

    Made this recipe. Really good. Couple of concerns: 1. The meat was a bit dry—would steaming longer help? 2. I think I may have overspiced the meat…I put on a pretty thick layer of the spice crust. Is too much spice possible?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      February 14, 2015 at 12:05 PM Reply

      Jason: about the meat being dry, it could either be because the cut itself doesn’t have enough fat content. Or did you cut the foil (that’s wrapping the meat in the oven) too much that too much steam has escaped during roasting. I’m not sure if longer steaming the meat afterward would make a difference, because the meat should have gotten tender in the oven already. But if your meat wasn’t very tender after roasting, you can try steaming it longer.

      I’m gonna bet on the cut of the beef doesn’t have enough fat content first.

      The spice is a subjective taste, so if you don’t like too much of it, you can tone it down a little. Not a big deal :)

      • Jason

        February 23, 2015 at 6:23 AM Reply

        Thanks a lot. One other thing I noticed is that there is a brown streak that runs down the center of the brisket (the brown appears more roast beef like than the deep purple of smoked meat). Is this due to overlooking or just a poor cut of brisket?

        • mandy@ladyandpups

          February 23, 2015 at 1:01 PM Reply

          hm.. that i’m not sure of. When roasting under such low heat, it is almost impossible to overcook the meat. I would suggest NOT using a brisket that is terribly lean to begin with.

  • Janet

    June 7, 2015 at 10:10 PM Reply

    I did it! It kinda feels like I just ran a marathon, but when I look back, it was actually pretty easy. The hardest part was getting the pink salt. Since I needed to get it in the brine in time for a weekend dinner party, I didn’t have time to order online. But my fabulous local butcher sold me some of his. It was the best dish to serve for a dinner party BC I literally just let it sit in my oven until it was time to serve. I also made the bread (warning – it takes 8 hours) which worked out great, but you have to follow the directions exactly. Anyway, thanks Lady and Pups! It was a fun experience that I look forward to replicating.

    • Bob Longo

      November 6, 2015 at 4:45 AM Reply

      We found the pink salt at Williams and Sonoma.

  • Zvi

    October 22, 2015 at 1:18 AM Reply

    This looks great. I have access to a nice, grass fed lamb brisket. Will this recipe work well with that?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      October 22, 2015 at 12:49 PM Reply

      Zvi, it would probably have a bit of the lamby gaminess that us lamb-lovers adore, and I’m very curious at how it would turn out! Let me know!

  • Bob Longo

    November 6, 2015 at 4:44 AM Reply

    What an experience! The anticipation was so fun as was the process of making it. Last night we had sandwiches and added homemade coleslaw! Today we woke up early to make the pastrami and eggs. This should be called OMG pastrami (OMGP?) This is a must recipe for anyone that appreciates top quality pastrami. These former yankees now living in Little Rock Arkansas thank you for taking us back home.

  • Glen

    November 9, 2015 at 9:47 AM Reply

    All turned out perfect. Yum… It’s a keeper!!! Bread and pastrami,match made in heaven…. Wait, made at home?


  • Mia

    November 16, 2015 at 3:08 AM Reply

    I <3 you
    Born in Montreal & living in Nicaragua, need I say more?
    My 2nd batch is in the fridge.
    Waiting on smoked salt, my Mom is bring it in 2 weeks!
    Haven't found pink cure yet, though I read that celery is a natural nitrate. I blend a cup or more up and add it to the fray.
    I have 3 pound slabs per baggie. 1 liter of brine is perfect per bag.So, less waste? I turn the bags twice a day.
    Thanx so much!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      November 16, 2015 at 1:31 PM Reply

      Mia, did you like the first batch? Pink salt can be found very easily online, but I’m not sure if that is still true in Nicaragua. Let me know if the celery trick works!

      • Mia

        November 20, 2015 at 9:43 PM Reply

        Mandy, the first batch was super. I messed up the steaming or cooking on this last batch. I found it dry. Still tasty though. Last piece will be steamed today. I’ll do a ‘tighter’ steam. Pink salt will be here in 9 days! I think then I’ll be able to tell the difference compared to celery juice. Mine is not pink enough inside. Also, it loses all pink when reheated.
        Oh, found out how to smoke salt for when I run out.
        Thanx again for what is becoming a tasty hobby :)

  • Robin

    November 16, 2015 at 4:22 AM Reply

    Thank you Mandy! I finally made the time to make this.

    I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York…..and grew up eating the best Pastrami. This was so easy, fun and delicious. I can’t wait to use the leftovers for Mission Cinese’s Kung Pao Pastrami!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      November 16, 2015 at 1:30 PM Reply

      Robin, OH my, I hope my “faux” version will suffice under your standard!! Hope you enjoyed it :)

  • Jeremy J. Rowlett

    November 22, 2015 at 3:57 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy,
    I discover your “tasty” blog. It seems to be an interesting experience. I’m sure now, after reading the receipts to try it next weekend. I’ll try to find and to get the pink salt because I want to use the right ingredients to obtain the best “pastrami” . Reading your blog(thank’s for it) , seems to be my next “adventure”.
    To me it seems quite difficult to prepare but I’ll try it!
    I’ll come back!
    J R

  • Guy

    December 1, 2015 at 10:29 PM Reply

    I’m so excited to finally make this for my Hanukkah party here in Prague! One quick question: if I want to get a bigger brisket (maybe 3–4 kg), what do I need to scale up? The amount of brine/spices? How about the cooking time? Thanks!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 1, 2015 at 10:54 PM Reply

      Guy, I think the brine should be enough because it more than covered my smaller cut. But for the cooking time, I can’t be completely sure. I would still check after 12 hours and see if a pairing knife can be easily inserted. If not, do another 3 hours or so.

      • Guy

        December 7, 2015 at 3:40 AM Reply

        Sounds good, thank you! One more question—if I cook it the day before instead of the night before, should I worry about the meat being in the oven at room temperature for a few hours? Is there a chance of it spoiling? Should I put it in the fridge instead? This is my first attempt doing anything of this sort, so I’m really not sure what’s okay and what’s not…

        • mandy@ladyandpups

          December 7, 2015 at 2:19 PM Reply

          I roasted the meat in the oven overnight, then the next day, it was left in the oven for several hours until it was steamed before serving. But if you are planning to leave it for more than 10 hours, I would transfer it into the fridge, then steam it before serving.

  • Brian

    December 2, 2015 at 10:44 PM Reply

    Born and raised in Montreal. I’ve eaten Schwartz’s a lot. I moved to Seattle (a smoked meat waste land) when I was 37. For a decade and half, my only smoked meat fix was when I would go back to visit my family. Until now.
    I ran with your recipe this past week and skeptically stood over the pungent slab Saturday morning with my daughter. She, one tough critic, was blown away as was I.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so grateful to you for this recipe.
    The only thing I would add to the instructions is too remove most of the crust before serving, otherwise it’s too peppery in my opinion. Other than that, it is spot on!!
    Well done you!!!!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 2, 2015 at 10:54 PM Reply

      Brian, utterly flattered that a Montreal native would accept this recipe, let alone enjoyed it!!! Thank you, you’ve made my day :)

  • Randi

    January 1, 2016 at 3:41 AM Reply

    Would an oven cooking bag work in place of foil?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      January 1, 2016 at 11:25 AM Reply

      Randi, sorry but I’ve never heard of an oven cooking bag so I can’t say. If you tried, let us know if it works!

  • Richard

    June 13, 2016 at 8:12 AM Reply

    I made this and had it today. Absolutely amazing, it tasted exactly like Montreal Smoked Meat! Thank you so much!

    For those wanting to make this, don’t substitute pink salt for anything; not himalayan pink salt nor celery salt.

  • Marc of Melbourne

    July 23, 2016 at 1:25 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy,

    I recently stumbled upon your pastrami/smoked meat recipe and am very excited to try it. You photos look incredible and you have a lovely way with words :o)

    I live in Australia and here there are no proper NY/Montreal delis that have cracked the pastrami code. In the past I have had 2 attempts at making Pastrami using a smoker and similar ingredients. I have a couple of questions I was hoping you could clarify before I start.

    1. When you rinse the brisket after putting in the brine for 3-4 days, how long should you rinse it for? Previously I have left it for a few hours to soak in fresh water to remove all the excess salt as per other instructions. Was hoping to get your thoughts.

    2. In stage 2 after you have wrapped the brisket in foil and allowed to come back to room temperature you mention putting some slits in the foil to allow excess liquid to drain. When you then put it into the oven, do you re-wrap the brisket and cover up the slits or leave them there exposed faced down? I noticed some comments in your article where someone has dry pastrami and wondered if maybe this was because of the slits in the foil and it causing steam to escape during the roasting period.

    3. When steaming the meat, have you ever used a slow cooker with some water at the base instead of the pot with a steaming water? I noticed in Katz deli and others like it talk about slow cooking the pastrami after the smoking process.

    Sorry for the long winded questions, but I am trying to perfect this recipe :o)

    Look forward to hearing from you and thanks again for sharing this little gem.

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      July 23, 2016 at 1:41 PM Reply

      Hi Marc,

      I’d be happy to answer your question!

      1. I simply just give it a couple min under running water and rub off the brine with my hands.
      2. After putting some slits on the bottom of the foil (just small slits!), no more re-wrapping, I just put the whole thing (slit-side down) on a rack with a tray on the bottom. If you’re worried about steam escaping, I would give it 2~3 layers of foil, then make the slits.
      3. I don’t have a slow-cooker so i’ve never used it, but you can certainly try!

      Let me know how it turns out!

  • Mike

    September 23, 2016 at 9:57 PM Reply

    When my wife showed me this recipe I was skeptical since I love smoked meat so much. I have made brisket at home quite a bit.

    After almost a week of following instructions and cooking the results were unbelievable and wow. Thanks for the recipe it worked like a charm.

    The only difference is we left out the smoked salt and used regular salt and put the brisket in the BQ with oak wood chips for 30 minutes before the oven cooking.

  • Kayko

    September 27, 2016 at 10:40 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy, I’m really anxious to try this and have a quick question as far as ratios. First off, I’ve been told that it’s important to keep the curing salt ratio to the beef weight consistent. Because your recipe has a range of 3-5 lbs of meat while a constant 2.5 tbsp of curing salt, do you think you have a recommended ratio of how much pink salt (and water, spices, etc) if scaling up or down? Look forward to getting started!

  • Amy

    October 10, 2016 at 7:32 AM Reply

    My husband grew up in Montreal and we started our married life off there. We used to hit Schwartz’s before going to the Expos and how we miss that smoked meat! The closest thing we have found here in Oregon is pastrami from Thurmans that a few places serve. I am definitely going to try this recipe out as a surprise for my husband!

  • Rob

    June 27, 2017 at 1:00 AM Reply

    i once read that there’s a different type of “brisket” cut that is ideally used for Montreal Style Smoke meat… something about a “jewish brisket”, this was years ago when i first looked into making my own smoke meat. I’ve got it stuck in my head that apparently it was like 3 layers or something compared to the 2 layers that is traditionally done in the states…. like i said.. a few years ago.. so i might ahve it totally wrong, but i’m hoping someone might be able to clear this up?


    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 27, 2017 at 11:27 AM Reply

      Rob, I’m not sure which cut that is, but I think the best result comes from end tip area of the ribs section, boneless of course.

  • Alex

    June 27, 2017 at 9:55 PM Reply

    Hi there,

    I’m just a couple days away from cooking the brisket.
    I had some questions.
    What temperature should the brisket reach when it is inside the oven?
    Since every brisket is different, I wanted to make sure that I could just pull it out based on temperature and not on time.
    Also, when it is done cooking in the oven, is it ready to eat once you pull it out?
    Is the steaming portion just for reheating?


    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 27, 2017 at 10:25 PM Reply

      Alex, oh my I have no idea what internal temperature it was. Sorry I did not measure. But a low-and-slow method like this should work with many cuts of meats. The steaming further softens the meat in my opinion. I mean I guess you don’t have to have to, but somehow the brisket after steaming really started to smell like smoked meat from Montreal deli, compared to before steaming.

  • Leon Wang

    September 12, 2017 at 11:41 AM Reply

    Hi Mandy, I’m in Montreal and I love smoked meat so much. I’ve tried two time according to your recipe but the meat was way too dry both these two time. Lot of juice came out during 12 hours of baking and the meat ended up very dry, which was chewed like paper. Do you have any idea why it happened and how to solve it?
    Many thanks!


    • mandy@ladyandpups

      September 12, 2017 at 12:02 PM Reply

      Leon, oh no! That’s very weird. The only thing I can think of, judging from the fact that a lot of juice coming out, is that the temperature is too high. The temperature should be 105 celsius which is super low. Do you have an oven thermometer? Or perhaps try a different cut of meat with more fat content?

  • Reni

    November 10, 2017 at 9:00 PM Reply

    Let me just say, I am not sitting cautiously in front of my computer, I am sitting here panting. Wanting that really really bad. I’ve got it bad for that beautiful piece of smoked meat. I’m gonna make it!

  • Nick

    May 23, 2018 at 6:52 PM Reply


    This is probably THE best smoked meat I’ve ever had, and I am from Montreal. When it is out of the oven and you start steaming it, the smell is just insane! Impossible to resist. I was wondering how long we can keep it in the fridge once it is out of the oven and steamed? I guess the curing salts make it last for quite a while, but not sur if it lasts 5, 7, 10 days? Or way longer? Thanks again for this awesome recipe!

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      May 25, 2018 at 11:54 AM Reply

      Nick, this makes me so happy, especially coming from a Montrealer (is that a word?). I would definitely keep the leftover in the fridge, and try to finish within 10~12 days ;)

  • Guillaume

    June 3, 2018 at 3:24 AM Reply

    Hi there, great recipe, looking forward to trying it!
    A couple of questions:
    – could we do the cooking sous vide? This technique is made more available to the masses with circulators such as anova or Joule (I own the later). If so, what temperature and how long? Should we keep the same?
    – what about using an instant pot to pressure cook instead of steaming? Any thoughts on that?


    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 3, 2018 at 3:43 PM Reply

      Guillaume, I guess technically you could sous vide, but I have no idea about the specidfics though because I don’t have a sous vide machine. I have steamed things in my pressure cooker before so I think it should work. 20-25 minutes of pressure-steaming (not submerged in the water) should do.

  • Guillaume

    June 8, 2018 at 9:42 PM Reply

    Thanks! About the Brine part, you mention to “Cover the pot”, does that mean airtight?

  • Guillaume

    June 10, 2018 at 8:29 AM Reply

    OK, I’m good to go. I have all ingredients and will do this starting tomorrow.
    Last question though: you mention a 3 day brine (or 2 if we’re in a hurry), is there any incentive to leave it more? Like 4 days?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 12, 2018 at 12:45 PM Reply

      Guillaume, you can actually brine the meat up to 7 days! But I cut it down in the middle to 3~4 days (in this recipe I believe I did 4 days). But I wouldn’t go less than 3 days :)

  • Guillaume

    June 16, 2018 at 9:45 AM Reply

    OK, the meat is ready. I will eat it tomorrow. That being said, there’s no way I can have 5 pounds of smoked meat by myself (not in one sitting, at least).
    What’s the recommendation for storing? Can I freeze some?
    I assume I only steam the quantity I want to eat, right?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      June 16, 2018 at 12:40 PM Reply

      Guillaume, the pastrami can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can certainly freeze them. My experience is that it’s the best on the first day, but still great even after microwaving :)

  • Mirenda

    July 13, 2018 at 7:03 PM Reply

    Waow. Hi there, Great Delicious looking recipe.
    I am going to try this for sure. I wanted to try pastrami but didn’t know how to & at what temperature to cook it.
    Really glad you did this.

  • Donald Jane

    August 2, 2018 at 8:07 AM Reply

    can i make a suitable Smopked Meat if I
    use Eye of Round – I’ve seen it in delis , but never bought any

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      August 2, 2018 at 12:41 PM Reply

      Donald jane, I’ve never worked with eye of round before. Is it very lean? I would not use any cut that is too lean for this dish :)

  • Aleks

    January 2, 2019 at 3:42 PM Reply

    After years of reading your blog, I just realized I had never met this one ! (and never left a comment)
    This meat is definitely the definition of “sexy”. Can’t wait to try it. Just have to overcome the anxious “what if… ?” of leaving the oven on all night long :D

    Thank you for all of your awesome recipes. And happy New Year, btw :D

  • Andy P

    May 1, 2020 at 10:17 PM Reply

    Can’t wait to to get stuck into this fantastic version of pastrami. Love it.

  • net worth

    March 9, 2022 at 6:58 PM Reply

    Thank you so much! I look forward to seeing more updates from you!

  • Walter G

    March 23, 2022 at 3:31 AM Reply

    I’ve made this recipe about 10 time now. Adapted it for a full packer brisket on my smoker. I can honestly say finished product is better thatn most of the smoke meat I have had in Montreal. Thanks for the recipe.

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