The words pastrami and corned beef are often thrown around in the food community, but do you know the difference between the two. Well, these two meat types are delicious cured meats that you can prepare today. However, they have some slight differences that make help tell them apart.
You will always love how you end up with flavorful juicy meats each time you decide to prepare these two. With their subtle differences, sometimes people tend to confuse them. Nevertheless, today we look at both of them.
So, what is the difference between the two? Below are the differences in detail.
Pastrami is extracted from the navel part of the cow. This is close to the belly of a cow. Because of its position, you will always find it a bit fatty. The fat is good as it helps to add a lot of flavor to the meat. You can always find it being used to prepare different types of meals in delis. You can have it seasoned with spices and then smoked to end up with the iconic flavor and texture of any pastrami.
Corned beef on the other hand is extracted between the front legs of the cow and also the part close to its chest. Unlike pastrami which is often smoked, corned beef will mostly be steamed or boiled.
Corned beef can also be thinly sliced and served as part of rye bread. Some will even use it in combination with cabbage and carrots. You just have to find the best recipe that will make the corned beef even more flavorful.
How to Prepare Pastrami
Now that you know the differences between the two, let us look at how to prepare pastrami into a delicious meal.
Inspect the beef
Once you get your pastrami beef, you have to inspect it to ensure it does have the right thickness and shape. Sometimes you might have to slice it into the right thickness. It should not be too thick as it might take too long to cook inside. If the meat has any loose pieces, it is better to trim them off.
Depending on preference, you might end up trimming off the excess fat and also the membrane later. You are not to remove all the fat, as it is the one that helps to flavor up your meat while getting it ready.
Soak the beef
Sometimes you might get meat that was previously cured by using saltwater brine. This type of meat will be too salty for pastrami. As a result, you have to soak the meat in water for several hours to draw out most of the salt. Soak the meat at least 2 hours for each pound. Change the water every 2 hours. This method might eliminate the salt, but still help preserve the flavor for your pastrami.
Using pastrami rub
Pastrami is known for its unique flavor, so it is better to make it greater by using pastrami rub. Depending on the variations of the spices, you are likely to end up with different flavors. It is common for most people to use black pepper and coriander for seasoning. These are the two main ingredients that will give your pastrami a unique flavor.
It is advisable to add the rub in a thick coating. This helps to create a nice crust on the pastrami surface.
Smoking the pastrami
Even if you are going to smoke pastrami, consider doing so at low temperatures of around 225F. It is recommended that you smoke your pastrami for about 1 hour for each pound. You will not have to worry about drying the pastrami at this temperature and rate. The aim is to cook pastrami in a way that puts more flavor to your smoky pastrami.
Slicing and serving pastrami
Keep an eye on the pastrami’s internal temperature. If the temperature reaches an internal temperature of 165 F, then it is ready. You will notice that at this point, the outside of the meat will be a nearly black color. Also, the size would have shrunk down to about 20 percent. You can go ahead to serve your pastrami at this point.
Mistakes to Avoid While Preparing Corned Beef
To prepare corned beef the right way, below are some of the mistakes you should always avoid.
Forgetting to rinse the meat
You might be surprised that there are some people who just start cooking the meat straight out of the package. Rinsing the meat is important to wash off the excess brine. If you do not do this, you might end up with an excessively salty meal.
Cooking at high temperatures
High heat is not your corned beef’s best friend. Whenever you cook corned beef over high temperatures for long, it leads to having a tough and chewy meat. You would want to end up with a soft and tender meat instead. Always consider cooking at a low temperature even if it means for longer.
Cooking the meat in less time
Generally, corned beef will be a tough cut, as a result, it needs cooking for a long time if you want to make it soft and tender. Depending on the amount of corned beef, sometimes you can end up cooking for up to 8 hours.
Cutting your meat incorrectly
Once your meat is ready, slicing it the correct way is important. It is not advisable to cut the meat with the grain. This is when you cut it in the same direction as its muscle fibers. This will make the meat chewier than you want, so avoid it. Always cut against the grain to enjoy your meat.
Which one is the Best?
You can never go wrong with either pastrami or corned beef. It is always recommended that you take your time to cook these two types of cuts the right way. Most of the recipes for these two would require that you be patient. In the end, you will always love the type of meat that you end up eating.