A long time ago in our Facebook group a comment about making pastrami at home was popular. Yes, this DIY delicacy is possible! Eva, author of Bake-Street and passionate about culinary challenges, was delighted to bring us her best homemade pastrami recipe. Enjoy it!

Believe it or not, I had never tried Pastrami. Yes, I know it's going to sound crazy to you... With what you like gastronomy, how is it possible that you haven't tried this delicacy? I couldn't tell you. Perhaps it is the large amount of food available that is within our reach that makes me late to try some of them, which seems unattractive to me... The fact is that I have discovered a delicacy that I will never part with, ever . Today I show you how to make homemade Pastrami .

For those of you who do not have close knowledge of this product, I will tell you a little about it and its production process.

What is pastrami?

Pastrami , also called Pastrón , is a product made with red meat (usually beef) that is subjected to a brine process (water with a salt concentration greater than 5%).

Its name may come etymologically from the Romanian verb "pastra" which means to keep and/or conserve . It is believed that it may have originated from Jewish immigration from Bessarabia (Russian Empire) in the second half of the s. XIX to the United States. Today it is cooked with Pastrami in Moldova and can be said to be a clear hallmark of local Jewish cuisine.

To carry it out, a piece of meat is taken, usually breast by fin, washed with cold water to bleed (although this step can be omitted) and submerged in a spiced brine for about 6 days. In some cases the time is even extended to 15 days. It is then dried, covered with spices and smoked. Finally, it is steamed, always controlling the temperature to obtain a perfect cooking point of the meat with a juicy result.

how to make pastrami

What should we keep in mind when making homemade Pastrami?

The first thing we must keep in mind is that we are going to work with a piece of raw meat and, for that same reason, we must take extreme care in the process in terms of hygiene and steps to follow.

We must wash our hands meticulously every time we go to work and/or handle the piece of meat. I would also recommend that you use gloves at all times. Like the containers in which we will leave the meat in brine, they must be clean and made of glass or another element that supports and is prepared for this use. In my case I have used large glass containers.

When we subject meat to a curing process, whether wet or dry, we run the risk of developing botulism bacteria. Do not panic, because there are products that prevent this from happening . That is why it is important that you read the entire process well before preparing to prepare it.

What is botulism?

It is a toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium that is found in contaminated areas such as untreated soil or water.

It is an anaerobic bacterium (capable of surviving or developing in an environment without oxygen) whose spores are capable of living in contaminated food or subjected to inadequate manufacturing and/or storage processes. To develop, it needs low acid or alkaline media with PH values ​​greater than 4.5.

How to prevent this bacteria from developing in our Pastrami?

The use of common salt and spices act as powerful bactericides, but if the curing process is going to be longer than two days , we must use curing salt or Prague powder .

We can find it in the two formats mentioned above and we must differentiate them when using them because they are not the same.

Nitro salt and powder Prague

Curing salt, nitro salt or potassium nitrate is a chemical compound that prevents the development of this bacterium in the curing process of meat, sausages and fish . In addition to providing that pinkish hue to meats; Pastrami, serrano ham, chorizo... Gives a strong and spicy flavor by binding to the iron atoms of myoglobin, forming nitric oxide responsible for delaying the development of rancid flavors in fat.

It is found naturally in nature, but it has been carried out industrially to ensure the preservation of food. In fact, you can find it on the labels of many products under the name of E252.

The Praga powder has the same characteristics as the cure salt, but with the difference that this is a mixture of common salt with nitro salt that we will find it with a pink hue , so the amount of this last ingredient is reduced compared to pure nitrous salt. This pinkish color is given so as not to confuse it with common salt.

That is the reason why in some recipes you will find that they use a greater amount if they use Prague powder or if nitro salt is used.

You must be careful and know what element you are working with since pure nitro salts are nitrates and this compound, in a higher than recommended dose, is toxic and deadly for humans .

You should not be scared when reading all this , if we follow the steps well, there is no risk of intoxication. But I do want to emphasize each of the ingredients so that you do not run any risk to your health, since there are many recipes in which the amounts are wrong and, therefore, harmful to us.

How much nitro salt should I use?

In my case I have used nitro salt or pure potassium nitrate. That is, the chemical compound that is mixed with the dust of Prague. The reason for using this ingredient is that in Spain, I have not been able to buy the other ingredient. I imagine that it may be because it is not something widely used in our homes.

The amount that I have added is very little for that reason, only 0.4gr . This amount is not random, in my case the manufacturer of the product that I have used specified that I should use 0.15gr of nitro salt/kilo of meat . Nitro salt must be mixed with common salt by 1% and, depending on what we are going to do, never exceed 2%.

Of course, in your case, always follow the specifications of the product you use and determined by the manufacturer .

Bringing out our Pastrami

After all the stuff that I have told you before, but which I consider to be of the utmost importance, we will continue with the process of our Pastrami.

This meat, in addition to being subjected to brine to cure it, we must flavor it with spices. For this we will make good use of them, in addition to garlic cloves. It is very important to achieve a super aromatic environment that penetrates the meat that we will cook later.

After taking it out of the brine, we will desalt it under cold water, we will dry it very well and we will cover it with spices and a little mustard (the use of this is optional, but recommended).

To cook it, it is very important that you follow the steps that I specify in the process as well as the temperatures that I detail. If there is something complicated when cooking meat, it is to find the exact point of cooking . You will see that I have not smoked the meat, believe me that I would have loved it, but the homemade methods that I have seen to do at home did not convince me. If one day I can do it on a BBQ with good results, I will let you know.

First we will cook the meat on a rack , in this way a little liquid will be expelled and we will achieve that the spices are finished toasting to become more aromatic. Then we will wrap in aluminum foil to finish cooking .

Let stand and cool before consuming. At this point we can do two things, cut it like a sausage or steam it until it reaches 90ºC inside. Highly recommended if you want to achieve juicy and very tender meat.

I know that it is a somewhat long and laborious process, but it is certainly worth it considering the price it has in the store (€42/kg) and the price for which we will get 2 1/2 Kg of homemade Pastrami (the piece it cost me €19).

Luigi Bormioli beer glasses and wooden cutting boards

Step by step to make homemade pastrami or pastrami


  • 2 and 1/2 Kg of fin or veal breast without removing the external fat

For the brine:

  • 3.75L of water
  • 200g of salt
  • 0.4g of curing salt
  • 120g of sugar
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 chopped bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon yellow grain mustard
  • 3 Cobán chiles, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon allspice kernels
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1 chopped cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of ground maca (optional)

To cover the meat:

  • 4 tablespoons good quality mustard sauce
  • 3 tablespoons black peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • 3 tablespoons whole coriander, toasted and ground

*I have followed the recipe and preparation process, with some adaptation, from The sauce at BBQ

Step-by-step preparation of pastrami

1) Prepare the spices

  1. In a medium skillet , add the coriander grains along with the black pepper and mustard.
  2. Place over medium heat and cook until it starts to turn lightly golden and gives off a fragrant smell.
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to a mortar .
  4. We mash gently, we do not want to crush the spices but rather break them so that they add more aroma to the brine.
  5. Add the rest of the spices to the mortar and mix.
  6. We booked.
Marinade for pastrami

2) Prepare the brine

  1. Mix the salt together with the cure salt. We booked.
  2. In a very large pot, pour the water together with the salt mixture, the two types of sugar, the crushed garlic and all the spices.
  3. Leave on medium heat until it boils, we will remove from time to time.
  4. Once it starts to boil, leave it for 1 minute and remove it from the heat.
  5. Let the brine cool completely .

3) Add the meat to the brine

  1. We wash our hands very well with soap, dry ourselves and put on some gloves (in my case I used them made of vinyl) and wash the meat with very cold water.
  2. Place in a large container and pour the brine over it.
  3. To make sure that the meat does not float, we will place a flat plate on it. The base of the dish is the one that we will place on the meat to guarantee that no air bubbles form.
  4. We cover the container very well with film, I recommend you put 2-3 layers, and put it in the refrigerator.
  5. We leave the meat in brine for 6 days .

Stainless steel pot and Mediterranean glass tale

4) What should we do during these 6 days?

  1. Every day we must turn the meat and stir the brine so that all the ingredients do not sink to the bottom.
  2. Very important , every time we prepare to turn the meat and move the brine we must wash our hands meticulously . In addition to using new gloves every time we do this step.
  3. Turn the meat over, stir the brine well, replace the plate, cover with film and refrigerate until the next day.

5) After 6 days...

  1. Once the rest time has passed, we will remove the meat from the brine. Remember to always handle meat with gloves .
  2. Wash under a stream of cold water to remove excess salt. The meat will be dull in color due to salt curing , this is completely normal.
  3. We will place on a grate, to let it drain, and dry very well with kitchen paper .
  4. Spread two tablespoons of mustard (approximately) over the entire surface of one side and cover with ground pepper and coriander.
  5. We repeat the process with the other side of the meat. Don't forget to cover the sides as well.
  6. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours .

6) We bake

  1. Preheat in oven to 110ºC with heat up and down .
  2. Line a tray lined with aluminum foil and place below the rack. This should be halfway up.
  3. Place in the oven, place on the grid that is at medium height and cook for 1 hour .
  4. After this time, we take it out of the oven and wrap it very well in aluminum foil . We will use 3 sheets to wrap it and we will try to make it very tight.
  5. We put it back in the oven, this time placed on a tray, and bake for another 2 and ½ - 3 hours at the same temperature. Our meat must reach an internal temperature of 70ºC inside , piercing the central part of the piece.
  6. Remove from the oven, prick the bottom of the aluminum foil, place on a rack with a weight on top and let cool completely.
  7. Once it has cooled, we refrigerate with aluminum foil until the next day.

baked pastrami

7) Ready to enjoy our wonderful homemade pastrami:

  1. We can eat the pastrami directly cut, thin or thick at our choice, directly from the piece or give it a shot of steam to make it juicy.
  2. Preheat the oven to 110ºC with heat up and down .
  3. We place in the oven a tray with a bottom and on this a rack with a sheet of aluminum foil. Pour 4 cups of boiling water and place the pastrami on the wire rack.
  4. We cover the entire tray with the pastrami with aluminum foil, so that we seal all the holes and cook until it acquires the internal temperature of 90ºC . The tray can never run out of boiling water, if necessary, we will add more.
  5. Remove, let rest for 30 minutes and enjoy.

Wooden cutting boards and Rösle meat knife and fork set


  • The best meat to carry out the Pastrami is the brisket or brisket . It can also be done with a skirt from the top, but it looks better with the piece that I recommend.
  • When you buy the meat, ask your butcher not to remove the fat from the piece .
  • If you buy the same quantity as me, you will have to divide the piece into two equal parts to carry out the brine process . Mainly because I didn't have a container big enough to store it in the fridge. I have used two very large glass bowls and I have divided the brine, cooled and shaken so that nothing settles on the bottom, in the two containers.
  • You can easily divide the recipe in half. In my case, I decided to make this amount for the work involved and thus enjoy more!
  • The meat must always be covered by brine , no piece of meat can be left in the air or floating.
  • Remember to turn the meat every day, as well as stir the brine.
  • Wear gloves whenever you handle meat and wash your hands very well.
  • If you are too afraid to do the brining process , you can always buy Corned Beef which is brined beef, which will allow you to skip the first part of the process.
  • You can also do a brine process of 24-48 hours max and skip the use of nitro salt. The taste will not be the same, but with good results too.
  • Respect the cooking temperatures and control them with a digital thermometer.
  • Once the Pastrami is ready, it can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months.

I hope you are encouraged to prepare homemade Pastrami at home. As I was telling you, for me it has become an essential! It is absolutely delicious sliced ​​very thin or slightly thicker, just the way my partner likes them.

You can make countless incredible sandwiches or eat it just like that. Its aromatic, spicy flavor... along with that tenderness and juiciness has captivated us forever.

We are looking forward to seeing yours!



Lucia said:

Tengo la misma dida que Luis en cuanto a la cantidad de sal de nitro ya que 0,4 gr es difícil de medir con cualquier báscula normal de cocina al ser muy poca cantidad. Por confirmar que no son 4 gr de sal de nitro para esas cantidades. Muchas gracias

Luis said:

Muchas gracias por tu excelente explicación. Me queda una duda sin embargo, donde pones 0,4grs de sal de cura, ¿son 0,4grs o 4grs? Teniendo en cuenta la peligrosidad del asunto quisiera tenerlo claro.


Fred said:

Si en mi país (México) no hay chile de coban, cuál pudiera utilizar ??? Gracias

Juan said said:

Muchas gracias por compartir es una receta excelente muy detallada mi pregunta es podría usar sal ahumada para evitarme el proceso de ahumado y también puedo usar pimiento ahumado dulce y en qué parte de la preparación incorporarlo?

Ariel said:

de decenas de recetas que he visto, esta es la mejor. muchxs cocinerxs subestiman la preparación del pastron porque necesitan hablar hasta de lo que no saben. incluso buenxs cocinerxs. Pero en este caso salta a la vista que no es una improvisacion y se agradecen los detalles. Por fin encontre la receta que buscaba!!

Juan Manuel said:

Sin duda una receta más precisa y mejor explicada que la que publiqué en su día en el grupo de Facebook. Echo de menos las bayas de enebro, pero por lo demás tomo nota, porque aún estoy lejos de obtener mi mejor pastrami.
Saludos y gracias por la publicación.

Didac said:

Otra cosica, la receta original lleva paprika, yo le pongo pimentón de la vera en la parte final, junto a la pimienta y el cilantro molido. También le da el toque ahumado.

Didac said:

Un truco muy interesante, yo ahumo la carne en la barbacoa con astillas de roble, pongo la carne en un lateral, las brasas en el otro y tapo la carne con una bandeja de aluminio, las astillas ahuman la carne y después la termino siguiendo tu recta en el horno. Para mi el ahumado es fundamental!!! Muchas gracias.

Cristina said:

Hola me gustaría saber dónde comprar el corner beef porque he encontrado uno en lata y creo que no es.gracias



Claudia said:

Hola Mayte, me temo que no sé ayudarte en eso, pero sí que en internet hay varias tiendas de alimentación donde la encontrarás si haces una búsqueda de “sal nitro” ;) Saludos!

Mayte said:

Me ha encantado, pero donde se puede comprar la sal nitro en Madrid. Gracias

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