Brisket Pastrami Sous Vide

Pastrami is usually made by brining, smoking, and then steaming brisket or other types of meat. By using sous vide instead of steaming, the meat will be more tender and juicy. Brisket, especially if it is lean, is prone to dryness. It is amazing how good a result you can obtain by using a simple stovetop smoker and smoking for 15 minutes only.


1250 grams (2.75 lbs) beef brisket (net weight after trimming)

2 Tbsp smoking dust

1 tsp cornstarch

15 grams (2 tsp) table salt (1.2%)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp ground coriander seed

1/2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/8 tsp mustard powder


Trim away any excess fat. You could leave everything on, but I prefer to leave just 2 millimeters (1/12 inch).

Combine the ingredients for the dry rub in a small bowl…

…and stir to mix.

Rub the meat with the dry rub on all sides. Allow the meat to dry cure for 1-2 days in the refrigerator. I like to vacuum seal the meat for this step, as it is easier to find a space for it in the refrigerator. But on a plate covered with plastic wrap is also fine.

Prepare the stovetop smoker with 2 tablespoons of smoking dust. Take the cured meat out of the refrigerator (and out of the bag if you vacuum sealed it).

Smoke the brisket for 15 minutes from the first smoke you see. This is also when you close the vent.

The brisket will still be raw on the inside. The smoking step is just to get a smoky flavor on the outside.

Allow the smoked brisket to cool off…

…before vacuum sealing it.

To be on the safe side I scalded the meat for 10-20 seconds in boiling water, to avoid any risk of a bad smell that can occur when cooking sous vide for a long time below 60C/140F. After the dry curing and smoking that is probably not necessary, but better safe than sorry.

Cook the brisket sous vide for 48 hours at 57C/135F.

After sous vide cooking, pour the liquid from the bag into a saucepan. Allow this to cool somewhat, and then add a teaspoon of cornstarch. (Instead of waiting for it to cool off, you could also make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of cold water until smooth, and then adding this.)

Stir the cornstarch into the liquid until there are no more lumps.

Bring this to a boil, stirring, and simmer until the sauce has thickened.

For a nice crust you could sear the meat briefly over high heat. This can be done with oil, but preferably beef tallow or clarified butter. Do not sear for longer than 30-60 seconds per side, to avoid drying out the meat.

Slice the meat. Because it is so tender, it is not essential to slice against the grain. It does look the prettiest though.

Serve the sliced brisket on preheated plates with the sauce.


This pasta and leeks casserole is Italian comfort food at its best. It is easy to prepare and very creamy and tasty.


8 thoughts on “Brisket Pastrami Sous Vide

  1. This is wonderful. I’ve never been a huge pastrami fan, maybe because I don’t eat sandwiches, and that’s typically how pastrami is eaten here, but I love what you did here. I’ve never used my sous vide and the stop top smoker! Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m just loving the stovetop smoker! Does it set the smoke detectors off? Since our upstairs renovation, all of our smoke detectors are connected so when one goes off, they all do! It’s really quite annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not when I use the hood; mine is quite powerful. It helps that the smoke detector is not close to the kitchen. I am familar with smoke detector issues when cooking in other kitchens (including in RVs) and it is very annoying! I also use the smoker outside with alcohol burners.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It is not better but so much easier and quicker. No need to make a charcoal fire, but you will get a great smoke flavor (unlike using a gas barbecue). For fish like salmon or mackerel or duck breast or chicken breast you can cook and smoke at the same time. For things like brisket it is the combination of sous vide and the stovetop smoker.


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