Monday, November 29, 2010

Pastrami to the World

Regular readers of I Could Eat may remember that this is the time of year my wife and I host our Cookie Exchange.  It's our official start to the Christmas season and an excuse for me to fire up the smokers yet again.  Pastrami is my go to recipe for this event, but this year I decided to add to the menu.

This is Chinese Smoked Duck.  2 ducks were brined for 24 hours and then smoked for 5 hours over white oak.  The finished bird has a deep red-brown skin which, like my smoked chicken experiences, is somewhat rubbery.  The meat is very moist and deeply smoky and rich.

I've broken down each bird, and removed the fat (there was lots!) for rendering.  The carcasses will make some nice stock (along with the pictured necks and wing tips which were also smoked) ... and now I just need to figure out what to do with the meat.  If you've dealt with duck before you know that the meat yield isn't particularly high.  Delicious yes, plentiful no.  So my concern is having enough meat to give 30 people a taste.  Any ideas will be appreciated!

Pastrami is the star of this party ... or at least that's what my friends tell me.  I used 2 smaller briskets this year and since I've acquired a small bar fridge I was able to brine them at home this year.  The actual smoking was uneventful other than a cold snap towards the end of the day which complicated things a bit (I smoked a couple pork butts at the same time as the briskets and ducks ... a little craziness is par for the course at Christmas right?).

I've started using a small amount of curing salt with my pastrami.  Yes, I know about the negative health aspects, but I use less than is called for, and the finished meat is beautiful, so I'll risk it for the one time a year I make pastrami.


andreaestes said...

I love pastrami! I would love your meat grinder. You can find me (Andrea Riegling( at )

Post a Comment