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smoked pastrami

Smoked Pastrami Recipe

  • Author: Ron Dimpflmaier


If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make pastrami on your smoker to simulate the New York deli experience, this recipe will set you up for success!



4 lbs store-bought corned beef

Pastrami rub

Makes approx. 1/2 cup — enough for a small packer corned beef.

  • 3 tbsp whole black peppercorns*
  • 3 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp whole coriander seeds*
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp whole mustard seeds*
  • 3/4 tsp mustard powder

* Place the seeds in a plastic bag and smash them with a kitchen mallet or the bottom of a pan. You want them well cracked, but not crushed into a powder.



  1. If you’re using a brisket, trim off the fat cap but leave 1/8- to 1/4-inch of fat on it.
  2. Desalinate: this step is extremely important! Packaged corned beef comes in a brine solution that is loaded with salt. Place the corned beef in a pot and cover it with water. Place this in the fridge for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days. It’s important to change the water every 8 hours. This step will remove all excess salt from your meat.
  3. Remove the meat and rinse it off. Pat it dry with paper towels (it’s OK if it’s still a little damp; it’ll allow the rub to adhere). Apply the rub in an even coat to the entire thing. At the flat end, you may want to use a little less rub. You can even press the rub into the meat if you’d like. Place it in the fridge for 2 days. This allows the flavors to really penetrate the meat.


  1. Preheat your grill to 250 degrees. I like to cook mine on my Big Green Egg on indirect over lump charcoal and cherry wood chunks. If using a gas grill or other type of two charcoal grill, set it up for two-zone cooking.
  2. Place your seasoned pastrami on the indirect side of your grill or on your grate over the deflector. From here, I cook mine in a similar manner to a brisket. Let it go until the meat hits the stall, around 165 degrees internal. I place it in a pan on a rack with beef broth or water in the pan and cover it. Instead of the pan, you can also wrap it in foil or pink butcher’s paper. Let it cook until it hits 200 degrees internal temp. Remove it, wrap it in towels and place it in a cooler for at least one hour to rest.
  3. When done cooking, slice your meat across the grain. Use a sharp knife and slice it approximately 1/8-inch thick. If you cut it with the grain, you will have a much chewier and tougher piece of meat. Nobody wants pastrami gum!
  4. Serve with sides or in a sandwich. Enjoy! 


My favorite way to enjoy this sliced up chunk of heaven is on a rye bread sandwich with melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, spicy mustard and Thousand Island dressing prepared like a grilled cheese: a pastrami reuben!

Keywords: pastrami, big green egg pastrami, pastrami reuben