Pastrami

Sausage making and curing meats.

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Hex
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Brine engineering

Postby Hex » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:03 am

Back to pastrami.

What is the fault with starting with corned beef? I always thought Pastrami was just smoked & peppered corned beef.

I have never been convinced that injecting beef actually helps the fluid permeate the meat. Of course the fluid will pool in the area where it is injected. whereas..Injecting fowl between the skin and the meat of course gives you a built in marinate bag.

A chemical engineer friend once told me that the brine process is a chemical occurance where the less salty water in the meat is drawn out by the higher saline solution surrounding it (the brine) and then the "empty" meat is re-filled with the saltier brine.

Corned beef already having high saline concentration inside would not trasfer much in another brine process would it?

Does anyone know if say a clod or brisket weighing ten pounds would gain any weight if soaked in water? If so then I would think that would be a good idea before brining it(assuming the chem engineer was correct). I'm just not sure whether a chunk of meat has any "sponge" characteristics.
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DATsBBQ
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Postby DATsBBQ » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:27 am

The corned beef you get at the supermarket is packaged in a super high concentration of stuff that doesn't bode well for the taste buds if taken directly out of the bag and smoked. Been there, done that. Maybe that's why the directions say to boil it.

Pastrami flavoring is very different that the "corn beef" chemical flavoring that is used in the afore mentioned hunk of beef.

But I have had "ok" luck with soaking those buggers for 3 days, changing the water in the bucket twice a day. Then "re-seasoning" and eventually finding it's way to the smoker.

I went to that effort when I found an in store sale on corn beef flats after St Patties Day. Think I got several for .59#.

All in all, it's hard if not impossible to get the "enhanced" meat back to a natural state.
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Papa Tom
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Re: Brine engineering

Postby Papa Tom » Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:34 am

Hex wrote:Back to pastrami.

What is the fault with starting with corned beef? I always thought Pastrami was just smoked & peppered corned beef.

I have never been convinced that injecting beef actually helps the fluid permeate the meat. Of course the fluid will pool in the area where it is injected. whereas..Injecting fowl between the skin and the meat of course gives you a built in marinate bag.

A chemical engineer friend once told me that the brine process is a chemical occurance where the less salty water in the meat is drawn out by the higher saline solution surrounding it (the brine) and then the "empty" meat is re-filled with the saltier brine.

Corned beef already having high saline concentration inside would not trasfer much in another brine process would it?

Does anyone know if say a clod or brisket weighing ten pounds would gain any weight if soaked in water? If so then I would think that would be a good idea before brining it(assuming the chem engineer was correct). I'm just not sure whether a chunk of meat has any "sponge" characteristics.


First let me differentiate between brining and curing.
With brining we are moving a solution into a piece of meat to increase the moisture content and enhance the flavor with the salt and what ever spices we add.
When curing we are using the brine solution to move nitrate salts into the meat to help preserve and prevent salmonella. Curing also imparts that characteristic pink color you see in ham and bacon and corned beef.
What we are working with here is osmosis basically the movement from a higher concentration to a lesser. The important thing here is that we move the curing salts (nitrates, nitrites) throughout the piece of meat. Injection places those pockets of higher concentration throughout the chunk of meat and speeds the time required to leach through the entire piece so the nitrates can cure.
The commercial corned beef are super loaded for longevity purposes and not desirable as is, The cuts though can be improved by soaked in water to let osmosis work the other direction and move the salts from the higher concentration in the meat to the surrounding water.

One doesn't necessarily need a water bath for curing to occur meat may be "dry "cured. Dry means we aren't using a brine but is a bit of a misnomer because what happens is the same. The meat is rubbed with curing salts and the natural moisture in the meat is drawn out to that high concentration of salt. When it gets to the surface it dissolves more salt and creates a high concentration and is subsequently then drawn back into the meat via osmosis to the lesser concentration inside. Dry curing takes a lot longer but does not dilute the natural flavors of the meat.
Sorry about being long winded but I hope this helps people understand about brining and curing and helps encourage them to try these methods.
tarde venientibus ossa....
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JamesB
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Postby JamesB » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:59 pm

Sorry that we almost hijacked the thread...

But I wanted to say Yeah! What Papa Tom said just above! yeah, what he said... right on the button...

James.
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