Recipe By Chef John
Published Apr 24th
Easy Homemade Pastrami
Prep 1h 35m Cook 6h 10m Additional 8h Ready In 15h 45m
Servings 1 4-pound pastrami Calories 4709.2

Great pastrami is not the easiest thing to find west of the Catskills, so a few years ago I embarked on a mission to find a way to turn the common corned beef into something similar. My goal was to come up with a reasonable substitute that could be done in less than a day at home, without a smoker, or any other special equipment. Impossible? No!

Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup coarsely ground fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 pounds corned beef brisket

Cooking Directions

  1. 1 Mix garlic and vegetable oil in a small bowl. Set aside for 1 hour.
  2. 2 Preheat oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C).
  3. 3 Combine black pepper, paprika, coriander, dry mustard, white pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. 4 Cover a baking sheet with a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Coat aluminum foil with prepared garlic oil. Lay corned beef brisket on foil and brush with remaining garlic oil.
  5. 5 Cover all sides of corned beef brisket completely with pepper mixture, reserving 1 to 2 tablespoons.
  6. 6 With fat side of corned beef brisket up, wrap in the sheet of aluminum foil. Place wrapped corned beef on another sheet of aluminum foil with the seam and fat side down. Place double-wrapped corned beef on a third sheet of aluminum foil (seam down), and wrap again.
  7. 7 Bake in the preheated oven for 6 hours.
  8. 8 Remove pastrami from the oven and let cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.
  9. 9 With pastrami still wrapped in aluminum foil, place in a freezer bag or other plastic bag and refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours.
  10. 10 Preheat the oven's broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.
  11. 11 Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  12. 12 Remove pastrami from refrigerator, unwrap, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of remaining pepper mixture.
  13. 13 Place pastrami in the oven, 6 to 8 inches below broiler heat. Broil briefly to brown surface, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pastrami from the oven and slice thinly, about 1/8-inch slices.
  14. 14 Heat a large skillet over low heat.
  15. 15 Heat pastrami slices in the skillet with a few drops of water until fat begins to turn from white to translucent, about 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 4709.2
  • Carbohydrate 32.6 g
  • Cholesterol 979.8 mg
  • Fat 383.9 g
  • Fiber 14.5 g
  • Protein 273.2 g
  • Saturated Fat 103.4 g
  • Sodium 22099.4 mg
  • Sugar 1.7 g

Chef's Notes

Serve warmed pastrami slices on rye bread with mustard and a pickle


  1. I made this pastrami for my husband for Father's Day because that's his favorite type of sandwich and it came out PERFECT!!!! At first, I was a little intimidated by this recipe. Not because of the recipe or the ingredients because I had everything on hand and the recipe was super simple to follow, as - Read more ...
  2. We followed the recipe to the letter. This is a very admirable attempt to create one of my favorite deli meats. And that's just what "Chef John" said that it was a substitute not exactly. I find that to be true. The spice blend is good yet a tad overly peppery. With that said the - Read more ...
  3. Not only was this good but probably the best pastrami sandwich I've had since moving to California! I had a 2.5 pound corned beef that I cooked for about 4 1/2 hours. I also didn't have smoked paprika or white pepper. I didn't miss it and if you don't have it I wouldn't go out - Read more ...
  4. After spending 45 for a brisket and 10 for spices all I ended up with was a spicey beef roast. The roast didn't taste bad but it certainly wasn't pastrami nothing even close.
  5. I just cooked this recipe for the third time and I will cook it again soon! Changes: 3 cloves of garlic and shorter cooking time. I prefer strong a strong garlic taste and I found that cooking it for about 5-5.5 hours - instead of 6 - resulted in a more tender rare pastrami. 5 - Read more ...
  6. I have made this recipe for a few years. When ever I can find corned beef on sale I buy two. My only advise to others is to make at least two of these at a time because the finished product goes away much to fast and its just as easy to make two or - Read more ...
  7. This was really, REALLY good. It was not hard at all, even though there were a lot of steps. Once I applied the rub, it was just a matter of triple-sealing the meat. The number of steps just looks intimidating. Mine came out a nice dark pink. I bought a rectangular shaped corned beef for - Read more ...
  8. I have never like the store bought pastrami I've tried in the past, but as it is a favorite of my husband's decided to try this recipe. Followed recipe to the letter. Delicious and a big hit at my house - I even liked it.
  9. I love reviewing recipes that I have tried. This one is difficult for me. Even though it came out delicious and everyone including the little grandchildren loved it and asked for more and more, it did not really come out like the one in Chef John's video. The instructions were easy to follow. There was - Read more ...