Beef Bacon is a three step process of selecting a nice brisket, trimming it up and putting it in a brine then smoking it. Itís also three of four steps to making Pastrami. Once youíve mastered the art of brining the brisket your on your way to making delicious NY Deli Style Pastrami!
†Okay letís get started!
Start with a fresh brisket. I like to get big cryo-packed briskets. This one started out at 11 pounds before trimming.
I also like my beef bacon some what lean. Not much fat so I trim them a little closer than most people do.
Then I separate the flat from the point. Again this isnít necessary if you donít mind a layer of fat in the middle of your sandwich but I canít stand fat!
You can actually see were the two pieces of meat come together - right where that huge solid piece of fat is! If you grab it really tight and pull it will almost separate it self. You just need to tap a scarp knife where the pieces are pulling apart. Let the meat hang and keep slicing at the two pieces as it falls away until they are completely separated.
That big piece of fat goes all the way though the meat so as long as you stay between the fat you wonít make a mistake separating them and waste any meat.
Now you can decide if you want to turn both pieces into pastrami or save the point for smoking (it makes the best burn ends).
Making the brine
The brine uses the more types of spices than the rub believe it or not.
1 gallon cold water††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††† †††††††1 cup kosher salt
Prague powder #1 (by meat weight)†††††††††††††††† 3 oz white sugar
6 bay leaves (crumbled)††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††† †††††††2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons juniper berries (crushed)*†† †††† †††††††2 teaspoons black peppercorns
Juniper Berries are optional but I think it gives it a nice flavor and thatís what makes it Italian! Juniper berries were originally used by the Romans as pepper.
A good source for juniper berries is Con Yeager Spice Company. I buy most of my spices from them in 1/2 gallon containers. I saves me a fortune not having to buy by all those tiny $1 bottles and the freshness is wonderful!
Mix the spices together in a pint or so of hot water to dissolve it well then add the rest of the water, mix well then add the meat.
Pump/inject meat with brine every few inches up to about 10% of it dry meats weight and refrigerate in the brine for 5 to 7 days.
This is a good time to use vacuum sealer if you have one, if not just put a heavy plate on top of plastic wrap to keep the meat fully submerged during the brining process and keep air from hitting the meat.
After 7 days in the brine remove the meat and rinse in clear cold water to remove excess salt. Do this for about 20 minutes or it will be VERY salty. DO not forget this step. Any time your brine food it MUST be rinsed in clear clean water, beef, pork, chicken or cheese it doesnít matter rinse it off after a brine !
Now we have a corned beef
You can stop here and eat it as Corned beef
Smoke that corned beef and it becomes Beef Bacon.
Add a nice black pepper, coriander and juniper berry rub then smoke it and make Pastrami.
Weíre almost there!† I can almost taste it!† Bring your smoker up to about 200o F† and once stable add the meat and slowly smoke the meat between† 200o F† to 225 o F with hickory, apple or your favorite wood. Spray every hour or so with apple juice or 50-50 mix of apple juice and white wine or apple juice and unflavored brandy. It should take about 1.5 hours per pound Ė but temperature is the key!
You only need apply smoke for about 3 hours so after that you can just use heat (no wood chips) or transfer it to your oven for convenience. I prefer to add some smoke slowly the whole time it cooks, but I donítí find a huge difference.† Once the meat gets up to about 160 o F you may double wrap it in foil and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 180o F, then remove it from the smoker and cool.
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