Homemade Pastrami

St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to make Homemade Pastrami!  Just grab some corned beef from the store, toss it on the smoker and *boom* Homemade Pastrami!

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St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to make Homemade Pastrami!  Just grab some corned beef from the store, toss it on the smoker and *boom* Homemade Pastrami!I love smoked meats.  I love smoked cheeses.  Heck, let’s cut to the chase and say I love all smoked foods.  Pulling out the smoker on a Saturday morning is one of my favorite hobbies.  While that smoker doesn’t get as much love in the winter, I have been known to shovel a clearing in the snow so that I can fire that bad boy up on a cold, February day.

Pulled Pork and Smoked Brisket are my two favorite recipes for the smoker, but I’m always game to try other ideas, too.  This past December, I made a smoked mac and cheese.  The wood smoked flavor combined with the creamy mac and cheese made for a really fun side dish!

A couple of weeks ago, Laura and I were out on a date night at a local BBQ restaurant, and they advertised smoked bourbon cocktails on their menu.  They were smoking the bourbon in-house…and that got the wheels in my head turning.  Can I make a smoked bourbon at home?  I’m planning on looking into this once the warmer weather rolls around!

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to make Homemade Pastrami!  Just grab some corned beef from the store, toss it on the smoker and *boom* Homemade Pastrami!Speaking of delicious smoking recipes, did you know that you can make Homemade Pastrami?  Yup, and it’s surprisingly easy…especially at this time of the year.  With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, all of the stores in our area have corned beef on sale.  Corned beef is typically either beef brisket or beef round that has been pickled in a seasoned brine.

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to make Homemade Pastrami!  Just grab some corned beef from the store, toss it on the smoker and *boom* Homemade Pastrami!Homemade Pastrami

Did you know that if you drain the brine and smoke that beef, then you end up with Homemade Pastrami?  I learned this last year around St. Patrick’s Day, and I was shocked.  Talk about an easy kitchen hack!  You can brine the beef yourself, but it’s nearly a week-long process.  Picking up a package of corned beef – especially when it’s on sale around St. Patrick’s Day – is a perfect way to save time.  And you end up with a nice big piece of Homemade Pastrami.  Yum!

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to make Homemade Pastrami!  Just grab some corned beef from the store, toss it on the smoker and *boom* Homemade Pastrami!Pastrami is a common item in the deli case, and it’s the basis for a delicious Reuben sandwich.  If you make your own homemade pastrami, you’ll just need to make sure you have a very sharp knife so you cut thin slices of that pastrami to make sandwiches.  Or you can do what I did and convince your spouse to let you get a small deli slicer!

If you’ve got a smoker at home, grab some corned beef and make your own homemade pastrami!  And if you don’t have a smoker at home, then get one…and then go make some homemade pastrami.  Cheers, friends!

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to make Homemade Pastrami!  Just grab some corned beef from the store, toss it on the smoker and *boom* Homemade Pastrami!Did you make this Homemade Pastrami?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts!  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).

Looking for other tasty smoking recipes?  Check out these favorites, too:

Smoked Brisket Tacos
Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork
Smoked Chili con Queso
Smoked Brisket Grilled Cheese
Smoked Maple Glazed Ham

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to make Homemade Pastrami!  Just grab some corned beef from the store, toss it on the smoker and *boom* Homemade Pastrami!

Homemade Pastrami

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to make Homemade Pastrami!  Just grab some corned beef from the store, toss it on the smoker and *boom* Homemade Pastrami!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes


  • ¼ cup coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • tsp granulated garlic
  • tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 corned beef brisket or round


  • Preheat smoker to 225°-250°F.
  • Using a small bowl, combine all spices together.
  • Remove corned beef brisket/round from brine; rinse brisket and discard brine. Press the spice rub mixture evenly into all sides of meat.
  • Place beef on smoker and smoke until internal temperature reaches 150°F.  (The time will depend on which cut of corned beef you use.  This will most likely take about 1-3 hours at this stage, but just check the temperature occasionally.)
  • Remove pastrami from smoker and wrap with aluminum foil. Place pastrami back on smoker and continue cooking internal temperature reaches 185°F (another 1-2 hours).
  • Remove pastrami from smoker, but allow meat to rest for 30 minutes. For serving, slice pastrami thinly against the grain. (Tip: I found it easier to slice if you chill pastrami overnight and slice while cold.)


Recipe adapted from Certified Angus Beef.
Most rubs for smoking include salt.  This rub does not include salt as is beef has already been corned in brine.
To turn this homemade pastrami into delicious Reuben sandwiches, just grab some marbled rye bread.  Butter that bread and toast it in a dry skillet while warming the sliced pastrami in same skillet.  Add Swiss cheese and sauerkraut (or cole slaw!) and you've got one heck of a tasty sandwich.  Don't forget to serve with a good dill pickle, too!

St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time to make Homemade Pastrami!  Just grab some corned beef from the store, toss it on the smoker and *boom* Homemade Pastrami!

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  1. 5 stars
    That’s one tasty looking sandwich. My former FIL owned a meat market and made his own corned beef in a big wooden cask in the back of the store. We would take one home every St. Pady day and smoke it in his Old Smokey smoker and man was it good. Now you got me thinking about that and I want a Reuben sandwich and I’ve never seen corned beef or brisket here. Hum, a project…

    1. So that’s a project I’ve yet to tackle myself, Ron. I’ve never made corned beef. It turns out that pre-packaged corned beef is an easy way to make pastrami, but I’ve never tried my hand at the corned beef itself. As you say, “Hum, a project…” I’m surprised that corned beef isn’t popular over there! But, hey, that would be a fun project to relive old times, right? 🙂

  2. Hi David! I haven’t had a good pastrami sandwich in forever! I remember years ago going to real delis in Chicago, they had the best (and biggest) sandwiches!! I’ll have to look up how to use our smokers so I can have these sandwiches and other tasty smoked things like smoked fish, oysters and cheese!

    1. The delis of Chicago and New York City are things of legend, Dorothy! Although, to be fair, we have a local butcher shop that makes a sandwich that can easily compete with the ‘big city boys.’ (In fact, that’s where I got the corned beef that I smoked for this pastrami!) Definitely figure out those smokers of yours. This is the time of the year to take advantage of corned beef on sale! I think I have about 30 pounds of corned beef in the downstairs fridge waiting to be smoked for us and for our friends. (I took orders from friends this year since it’s so easy to make!) Hope you and Gary had a great weekend, my friend!

  3. 5 stars
    I LOVE smoked foods too! And there is nothing better than a homemade smoked sandwich.

    Thanks for sharing this delicious Pastrami recipe, David. I’m feeling so hungry right now!

    1. You and I share the same tastes then, Harshad! There’s something so magical about getting that smoker going. And who knew pastrami was so darned easy to make at home, too! Thanks so much!!

  4. 5 stars
    Love that you take the smoker out in the snow. This is one good looking sandwich. REALLY good looking! I love deli meats — especially pastrami. Oh, and that marbled bread is lovely.

    1. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures, Valentina! With all of the corned beef on super sale right now, I’ve totally stocked up to make a bunch of pastrami. I think we have ~30 pounds of corned beef in the fridge. Haha! (To be fair, I took orders from friends this year, too…it’s just so easy to make, and corned beef is so cheap right now thanks to St. Patrick’s Day sales at the store!)

    1. Yes! I was shocked when I learned how pastrami is made, Alexandra. So cool! And so easy since corned beef is on super sale everywhere right now. Is corned beef and St. Patrick’s Day as popular down there as it is here in the States??

  5. A man who makes his own pastrami. Color me impressed! It’s a great idea, actually. As an ex-New Yorker, I’m pretty particular about pastrami and the kind you can buy in stores around here is, well, not the real deal. Much too lean, to begin with. I’m ready to start making my own, unless you ship… ?

    1. Haha! I’ll mail you some, Frank! 🙂 I actually took orders from friends for homemade pastrami this year. Corned beef is so cheap right now with all of the grocery stores competing for the lowest price. I picked up ~30 pounds last week for the sole purpose of smoking and giving to friends/freezing here at home. I was shocked when I learned about this little hack for making homemade pastrami!

  6. 5 stars
    Smoked bourbon sounds awesome! I hope you let us know how it goes, if you’re able to make it at home. And speaking of smoking, I never knew pastrami is smoked corned beef. I don’t know what I thought it was but I wouldn’t have guessed that. I bet it’s way better homemade!

    1. Tell me about it, Kelsie! Can you imagine sitting back sipping on a smoked bourbon? Sounds pretty awesome to me. I might have to try that out this summer. It wouldn’t be my wackiest idea to date, but it might be in the top 10! Stay tuned… Also, I was shocked when I learned that pastrami is essentially smoked corned beef. So cool!

    1. Making pastrami with wild game is a great idea, Kathy! My uncle is a big hunter, and I know he talks about finding ways to use up all of the meat. Chili is always an easy answer, but pastrami is another good one! It’s hard to beat a good pastrami sammich! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Hubby and I are doing a corned beef this week/weekend. Great idea to turn that into pastrami because that sandwich looks divine! Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day…or any day really. Never say no to a good sandwich! Big pickle and some chips to go with and I’m set. Pinned! Have a wonderful week ahead 🙂 Also, smoked bourbon? Pretty cool!

    1. Yes! Set some of that corned beef aside (or just get another one) to turn into pastrami! My plan is to smoke a whole bunch of corned beef this year and then just keep the pastrami in the freezer for tasty sandwiches later. I don’t need it to be St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy a good Reuben! 🙂 Also, yes to the pickle!

    1. I know! It’s surprisingly easy to make pastrami in a smoker. I had no idea! This is the perfect time of year since corned beef is on super sale everywhere. 🙂

  8. I love smoked meat. I love smoked cheese. I love smoked fish. I love smoked paprika. I love smoked mustard. I even love smoked salt. I mean, did I win in our competition, David? You actually remained me that many years ago (Before starting my current blog and even before Canada) I tried a recipe of smoked chicken breast…in the oven. I’m not kidding! That was a recipe from a magazine. Even though every single spot of our apartment had absorbed all the flavours and smelled like a fire for a few days, the chicken turned out delicious! I bet the process is much easier with a smoker, hah! And this pastrami (And the whole sandwich too) looks soooooo good. Should I turn my over on haha?

    1. I much respect all of your smoked loves, Ben. However, you didn’t include smoked bourbon on the list. Or smoked lavender. Or smoked Rowan berries. 🙂 I say leave the oven off and get yourself a small smoker. Think of all the fun you could have with that one, my friend! Or I could just send you some pastrami…I’m planning on smoking like 30 pounds of corned beef for us and for friends. Haha!

    1. Yes! You totally need to get a smoker, Kelly. I love smoking all sorts of things–meat, cheese, etc. I want to play with the idea of cold-smoking some things this summer. Perhaps smoked cheese (that’s not melted) and that smoked bourbon. We’ll see! In the meantime, thank you so much, my friend!

  9. I never realized I could make my own pastrami. I don’t eat meat BUT…. I would make an exception for this peppery smoked meat. Brisket is my favorite cheat meat haha. I hope to buy a smoker when I get a deck or a house. I have dreams of smoking salmon 🙂

    1. Yup! Homemade pastrami is totally a thing…you just need a smoker! In fact, I smoked about 20 pounds of pastrami yesterday. I plan on freezing a bunch and then sharing some with friends, too. Smoked salmon is amazing, too! Mmmm…that reminds me that I should smoke some salmon again. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder, Mary!

    1. Thanks so much, Mary! So pastrami is already beef (not pork), so I think you’re all set there. And as far as the toast, I just used a skillet on the stovetop. I buttered the rye bread and then cooked it on low heat (flipping once or twice) until nice and golden brown. It’s delicious!!

    1. I normally don’t do savory for breakfast, but if you put homemade pastrami in front of me, then I might make an exception! 🙂 Actually, I bet pastrami chopped up in eggs would be awesome. I’ll have to try that out! Thanks so much, Neil!

  10. Hi, David! All these comments are from 3 years ago, but maybe you’re still watching? Anyway, I was following another recipe before I saw yours, and soaked my corned beef for 8 hours “to remove excess salt”. Now I’m afraid I’ve blown the flavor, should I add salt to the crusting ingredients, if so, how much? I love corned beef, but I LOOOOVE pastrami! Wal-Mart has flat cuts on sale for $3.88/lb., much less than you can even get a beef roast for, gonna stock up! I’m using my Cameron stovetop smoker for this, how long would you recommend I cook a 2.9 lb. flat cut? I hope you see this in time! Thanks for the great recipe! Can’t wait for that sandwich!

    1. Hey Aiden – I am indeed still watching comments! I do love this homemade pastrami recipe – I always make a whole bunch at this time of the year when corned beef is on super sale. (I’ve seen corned beef at Walmart for $1.50/pound in the day or two after St. Patrick’s Day – it’s hit or miss obviously, but something to keep in mind!)

      So I can’t say for sure, but I’d recommend not adding any salt back into that recipe. Corned beef has a ton of salt in it already, so I think it would be totally ok to soak it overnight – that’s just my initial thought here.

      As far as timing, I haven’t used the Cameron Stovetop Smoker, so I can’t give you an easy answer there. Whenever smoking, I go with temperature rather than time, and you’ll want that pastrami to get to ~185°F. That should take several hours if you’re smoking at 225°-250°F. If you don’t have a good thermometer for smoking meat, then I recommend picking up this one (https://amzn.to/34c4AXe). I have one by the same brand that lets you do 4 temps at the same time, but 3 would be more than enough! Good luck and enjoy that pastrami! Also, check out this recipe – https://spicedblog.com/irish-nachos/ – it’s one of our favorite ways to use homemade pastrami!!

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