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Homemade Pastrami on Rye Bread with Swiss Cheese

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Author Creative Culinary


3 quarts water 1 cup Morton's coarse kosher salt 1/4 cup pink curing salt (Also known as Prague Powder - NOT Himalayan pink salt. See notes below). 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar 1/4 cup honey 2 Tbsp pickling spice 1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds 1 Tbsp whole yellow mustard seeds 4 cloves garlic (minced) 3-4 lbs beef brisket For the Rub:


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp pickling spice
  • 1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3-4 lbs beef brisket

For the Rub:

  • 4 ½ tsp coriander seeds 1 Tbsp black peppercorns 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds 2 Tbsp paprika 4 1/2 tsp brown sugar 1 tsp white pepper 4 cloves garlic minced


To Cure the Beef:

  • Fill a large stockpot with 3 quarts water. Add the salts, sugars, honey, pickling spice, coriander, mustard seeds, and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often to fully dissolve the salt and sugar in the water. Immediately remove the pot from the heat once the brine boils. Let cool.
  • Combine the brine with 3 quarts ice cold water in the stockpot or any large pot that will fit in your refrigerator. Use two pots if necessary with the mixture evenly divided. Cool completely.
  • Trim the fat from the brisket until the fat layer just covers it and is no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  • Put the brisket in the brine and submerge it completely (I put cans of food into a ziploc bag to sit on top of them). If necessary, cut the brisket in half to submerge in two containers.
  • Allow the brisket to brine in the refrigerator for 5 days. Remove from the fridge once a day; stir the brine and flip the meat over making sure that all of the meat gets exposed to the brine.

To Make the Rub:

  • Combine coriander seeds, peppercorns and mustard seeds in a spice grinder. Grind coarsely.
  • Add the mixture to the remaining ingredients and mix well. This should be about enough for a 4-lb brisket.

To Cook the Brisket:

  • Remove the meat from the brine and rinse it well; gently blot with a paper towel but leave the surface moist.
  • Cover all sides of the beef with the rub mixture and allow the meat to come to room temperature.
  • Place the brisket fatty side up in a smoker set at 225 degrees and smoke for approximately 3 hours or until an internal thermometer registers 165 degrees.
  • Allow to cool to the touch and slice thinly; no more than a quarter inch thick slices.

To Make the Sandwich:

  • Warm a large skillet on medium heat. Slather both sides of bread with mustard; I use whole grain but use your favorite.
  • Put one slice of bread with the mustard side up in a skillet or on a griddle and pile with meat and a slice or two of Swiss Cheese.
  • Top the skillet with a lid just long enough for the cheese to start melting. Remove the sandwich to a plate and top with the 2nd slice of bread. Serve with pickles and potato chips.


FOR YOUR SAFETY: The pink salt called for in this recipe is not the same as Himalayan Pink Salt; it is used in corned beef, pastrami and other cured meats to kill bacteria, prevent botulism and add flavor.
It is extremely toxic if ingested directly however and is colored pink to prevent it from being mistaken for regular salt. When used correctly in recipes like this, it is necessary for proper flavor and food safety.
Be sure to keep the curing salt properly labeled and out of the reach of children.


Serving: 1