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Pastrami Spice Rub

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Pastrami spice rub flavors a popular deli meat made from cured, seasoned and smoked beef brisket. If you haven’t made your own pastrami, you are missing out! While it does require some planning, this spice rub will add amazing flavor!

Pastrami Spice Rub
Sabrina Baksh/derrickriches.com

What does pastrami spice rub taste like?

It is a zesty blend of spicy, earthy, tangy, and sweet. Once cooked, the pastrami will embody all of the above, plus a delicious kiss of smoke.

How much pastrami rub should I use on a cured brisket?

Typically, for a 10-pound brisket, you’ll need roughly 1/3 cup of pastrami spice rub to coat the entire surface of the meat. However, you can adjust the amount of rub based on the size of your brisket and your taste preferences. Remember that this recipe does not contain salt since the meat cures in a brine solution. If you want this rub on uncured proteins, use 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat (or 1 teaspoon of kosher salt).

Rub ingredients for pastrami

Recipe ingredients

  • Black peppercorns
  • Coriander seeds
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Paprika (use equal parts regular paprika and smoked paprika combined)
  • Yellow mustard seeds
  • Onion powder
  • Fresh minced garlic cloves (substitute with granulated garlic, however, we encourage you to use fresh garlic for this recipe!)
  • Vegetable oil use as a binder (optional)
Toasted spices for rub
derrickriches.com

Pastrami spice rub instructions

  • Toast the black peppercorns, coriander, and yellow mustard seeds in a small skillet over medium heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. Gently toss the seeds to keep them from scorching.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and transfer the seeds to a small bowl to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Grind the seeds using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Some folks prefer a light to medium grind, while others prefer a fine grind. The choice is yours!
  • Combine ground seeds with brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, and fresh garlic. 
  • Apply the rub onto the meat and cook as directed.
  • Do not store rub that has fresh garlic added to it. If you plan to use the rub in the future, combine all the dry rub ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Mix it with fresh garlic once you can apply it to the meat. 

What are the different types of pastrami?

Pastrami is made from beef brisket. However, other cuts like beef navel or round roasts, are also used. There are a few different styles of pastrami, each with its unique flavor profile and preparation method:

  • New York-style pastrami: This is the most famous pastrami, thanks to Katz Deli. Beef brisket is cured in a brine, coated with a black pepper spice rub, smoked, then steamed to tenderize the meat. The meat is sliced thin and turned into a delicious pastrami sandwich.
  • Montreal-style pastrami: Quite similar to New York-style pastrami, but made with a slightly different spice rub. 
  • Turkish pastrami (pastırma): Made from buffalo meat, heavily seasoned with savory spices like garlic, fenugreek, cumin, and paprika, smoked, served sliced, or used in soups and stews.
  • Romanian pastrami: Made with beef and pork, cured in a brine, and rubbed with paprika, garlic, and coriander, smoked, then served as cold cuts or used in sandwiches.
  • Turkey pastrami: Turkey pastrami is a popular alternative for people who do not eat beef or want less calorically dense meat. Turkey pastrami has a milder flavor and is described as pleasantly sweet with a kiss of smoke.
  • Beef rib pastrami: Made from huge beef plate ribs. These ribs are cured, coated in a pastrami spice rub, and smoked until tender. It’s a great option for those who are new to pastrami making. Serve the ribs independently or, slice and pile high on sandwiches. Of course, add a little Russian dressing, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut to those sandwiches for an ultimate treat!

Can you use pastrami rub on other foods?

Yes, you can! This aromatic rub adds amazing flavor to all types of proteins and red meat, including steaks, lamb, chicken, pork, and even tofu. Using this rub on different proteins will add a unique, great taste. Feel free to adjust each recipe to create a customized spice blend.

Close up of spices in a bowl
derrickriches.com

More recipes to try!

Now that you know how to make your own homemade pastrami spice rub, it’s time to get that brisket cured and smoker ready!

Pastrami Spice Rub

Pastrami Spice Rub

Pastrami spice rub is used to flavor this popular deli meat made from cured beef that is seasoned and smoked. If you haven’t made your own pastrami, you are missing out! While it does require some planning, this spice rub will add amazing flavor!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Rubs
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: pastrami seasoning blend, pastrami spice rub, smoked pastrami rub
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 0.33 cup
Calories: 514kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (use 1 1/2 teaspoons regular paprika and 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika combined)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic (substitute with 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic, however, we encourage you to use fresh garlic for this recipe!)

Instructions

  • Toast the black peppercorns, coriander, and yellow mustard seeds in a small skillet over medium heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. Gently toss the seeds to keep them from scorching.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and transfer the seeds to a bowl to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Grind the seeds using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Some folks prefer a light to medium grind, while others prefer a fine grind. The choice is yours!
  • Combine ground seeds with brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, and fresh garlic.
  • Apply the rub onto the meat and cook as directed.
  • Do not store rub that has fresh garlic added to it. If you plan to use the rub in the future, combine all the dry rub ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Mix it with fresh garlic once you can apply it to the meat.

Nutrition

Calories: 514kcal | Carbohydrates: 109g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 1555mg | Fiber: 32g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 1220IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 619mg | Iron: 13mg

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