Well seeing that I have had a large amount of time on my hands as of late, I figured I would try and make corned beef and pastrami by curing the meat myself. I bought a 15.5 pound brisket, I separated the point and the flat and trimmed off most of the fat. Instead of putting the meat in a brine for 10-14 days, I decided to dry cure the meat. I made up very simple rub of 1.5 cups of kosher salt and 1.5 cups of ground up pickling spice. I rubbed both cuts of beef with the rub and placed in to 2.5 gallon bag and put it in the fridge for 5 days. I took the meat out and rinsed off the rub and soaked them in water for a couple of hours (changing the water every hour). For the corned beef (point) I braised it in 24 oz of beer (Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale) 1/2 cup of whisky about 12 oz of water, 1 Tbsp garlic and 2 Tbsp pickling spice. I cooked it for about 3 hours @ 275, then I added about 2.5 lbs of potatoes and 2 lbs of carrots and let cook for another 2 hours. during the last half hour of cooking I took a head of cabbage, quartered it and seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled it. I must say that it came out pretty good for a first time, a little on the salty side but overall Good!!
For the Pastrami I used the flat cut of the brisket and coated with a 50/50 mix of my brisket rub and coarse pepper. I put it on the smoker for 3 hours @ 250, then wrapped in foil and back on the smoker for 2 more hours. I let the meat rest for about an hour then put it in the fridge to let completely cool. A few hours later I sliced it up and made a huge sandwich on pumpernickle bread ,swiss cheese, Jack Daniels old no. 7 mustard and Dr Gonzo's Smoke Isle Elixir. I must say very good. Would I do it again? of coarse I would. I think the next time I will try with the brine method.