Cheat's pastrami

Cheat’s pastrami

  • serves 12
  • A little effort

Create a deli staple, pastrami, at home. It's usually hot-smoked, but this cheat's version uses smoked paprika and slow-cooking to get a similar flavour and texture



  • beef brisket about 2.5kg 


  • black peppercorns crushed to make 4 tbsp
  • smoked paprika 3 tbsp
  • English mustard powder 3 tbsp 
  • ground coriander 3 tbsp 


  • curing salt or prague powder 30g (optional) 
  • table salt 400g 
  • soft light brown sugar 100g 
  • black peppercorns 1 tbsp 
  • yellow mustard seeds 1 tbsp
  • bay leaves 4
  • whole cloves 4
  • garlic 4 cloves, unpeeled 
  • juniper berries 5
  • honey 100ml 


  • Step 1

    Put all the brine ingredients into a large pan with 4 litres of water. Bring to the boil then leave to cool completely.

  • Step 2

    Trim some of the excess fat from the brisket.

  • Step 3

    Cut the trimmed brisket in half lengthways (this will make it easier to brine and cook).

  • Step 4

    Put each brisket piece into a large, sealable food bag.

  • Step 5

    Divide the cooled brine between the two bags, squeeze out the air and seal them, then put the bags seal-side up in a baking dish, and put in the fridge. Turn the meat over in the sandwich bags every day for 5 days.

  • Step 6

    On the fifth day, remove the beef from the brine, pat dry with kitchen paper, and allow to come up to room temperature.

  • Step 7

    Mix the crust ingredients together, then rub them evenly into the meat, covering every crease or fold. Rub any excess into the fat side.

  • Step 8

    Heat the oven to 140C/fan 120C/gas 1. Sit the beef, fatty-side up, on a rack in a roasting tin filled with 3cm boiling water.Cover tightly with foil and cook for 4 hours. Cook for a few more minutes without the foil if the crust looks a little too wet.

  • Step 9

    Leave to rest for 10 minutes then slice really thinly.This will keep for 4 days, covered, in the fridge, or cover and freeze half for later. Serve with rye bread, piccalilli and pickles.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 259
  • Fat 12.6g
  • Saturates 4.7g
  • Carbs 3g
  • Protein 33.6g
  • Salt 1.6g