Beef Navel Pastrami


I made Pastrami for the first time ever, and it turned out much better than I ever could have expected.  This was one of the best things I’ve ever made, and this recipe is one that I’m definitely going to be doing again.

All of the recipes for Pastrami that I had seen tended to be for brisket, but then I read one on From Belly to Bacon that was for beef navel, and I had already planned on making beef bacon, so I decided to use the navel instead of brisket


It’s pretty tough to find beef navel, but luckily VG Meats was able to take care of it for me.  After making the beef bacon, I had 2 chunks left that were about 2 lbs each.


I started off by making a brine:

  • 2.4 L water
  • 210 g kosher salt
  • 150 g sugar
  • 25 g pink salt
  • 1 tbsp. pickling spice
  • 54 g brown sugar
  • 40 mL honey
  • 5 cloves garlic minced

I let it cool off, then put it in a non-reactive container, and dropped the beef in and let it sit in the fridge for 4 days.

After 4 days, I took the beef out of the brine, then rinsed it off and put it on a rack in the fridge for a night to dry off.


I then mixed together a rub using Meathead’s recipe for the pastrami and applied it to all sides of the meat.

  • 4 tablespoons fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder


It then went on the smoker for a few hours at 225f over chunks of hickory wood.  I left it on the smoker until the internal temperature got to 160f, then took it off, let it cool, then let it rest in the fridge overnight.

t_IMG_0620I then cut it into a mix of thick and thin slices, to see which turned out better.  Next time I’ll do all thin slices, as thin as possible.

t_IMG_0627After slicing, the Pastrami went into a steamer for 30 minutes to soften up.  Before this step, I thought there was going to be too much fat, but after steaming, a lot of it rendered down, and what was left tasted great.

t_IMG_0621I piled up a whole bunch of the Pastrami on some rye bread with some mustard and tried it out.  The mix of lean to fat in the navel made it really rich and delicious, and the meat had a great mix of smoke, sweetness, salt, and a bit of spice.  This is one recipe I’ll be doing over and over, and at $2 a pound for the navel, a very cheap one for such a good end product.




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