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Pastrami Heating Instructions

Hot Reuben sandwich

What's better than an amazing Rueben sandwich with fresh, hot, smoked Pastrami?

In order to get that ultra tender and juicy pastrami, we'll need to steam our meat for a while before we can take that first, tantalizing bite. Trust me, it will be worth the wait, as soon as you cut the moist, flavorful meat and pop that first piece into your mouth!

What you need

  • A glass baking dish (a Pyrex dish is perfect)
  • A metal cooling rack or grate
  • Aluminum foil
  • A thermometer
  • Water

How long will it take?

Prep time: However long it takes to bring a pot of water to a high simmer (not boiling)
Heating time: About 2 hours

Here's how you do it:

Pastrami and steamer set up

We'll be making our own steamer setup for this one. Steaming the pastrami meat will make the meat super tender and juicy. Once the pastrami enters your mouth, all you'll be able to do is close your eyes and chew slowly so that you'll savor every bite!

If you have a bamboo or metal steamer in which the meat will fit, you can use that. If not, you can make a steamer by putting a wire rack in a glass baking dish. If necessary you can sit the rack on wads of foil to keep it out of the water.

Unwrap the meat and put it on the wire rack. Do not slice the meat first. Place the wire rack on/in the glass baking dish and fill the baking dish with hot water.

If you made a steamer with a baking pan, cover it with foil. If the pan is steel, but don't let the foil touch the meat. The salt, the water, the steel, and the aluminum can interact and create electrical charges that can melt the foil! This is a phenomenon called the "lasagna cell" because it happens to lasagna often.

Put the pan on a burner, turn the heat to medium low, and steam it an hour or two until heated through to 203°F. The exact time will depend on the meat's thickness and how hot the water is. Add hot water as needed, making sure the pan never dries out. Don't rush this. Take it all the way to 203°F!

Slicing is crucial to maximize tenderness. Look at the meat and notice which way the grain is running. Cut it by hand in thin slices, about 1/8" thick, perpendicular to the grain. If you cut parallel to the grain it will be much chewier. Don't try to slice it with a machine. It will just fall apart.

Enjoy your fresh pastrami!

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