If you’ve ever craved a Reuben sandwich, especially from New York City’s iconic Katz Deli, you understand the allure of pastrami. This recipe takes the classic pastrami to the next level by adding a smoky twist and transforming it into a Texas Smoked Pastrami Reuben Sandwich, complete with a homemade Texas Russian dressing featuring pickled jalapeños.

Ingredients for Pastrami Brisket

  • 1 whole packer brisket, trimmed
  • Yellow mustard for a binder

Pastrami Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coriander
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

Pastrami Brine Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pickling spice
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons pink curing salt (Prague powder #1)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 gallon water

How to Make Pastrami: Step-by-Step Guide

Preparing the Brine

Combine all brine ingredients in a large stockpot with 1 gallon of water. Bring to a simmer until all sugar dissolves. Let the brine cool completely.

Brining the Brisket

Place the trimmed brisket in a food-safe container and cover it with the brine mixture. Ensure the brisket is fully submerged; add more water if needed. Brine for 10 days, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Smoking the Brisket

Preheat your smoker to 250°F and use wood like post oak, mesquite, or hickory. Smoke the brisket fat side up until it reaches 175°F internally. Wrap it in unwaxed butcher paper and continue cooking at 275°F until it reaches 205°F internal temperature.

Resting and Slicing

Let the smoked brisket rest for at least 2 hours before slicing. Use a sharp knife to cut thin slices.

Texas Pastrami Reuben Sandwich Recipe


  • Rye bread
  • Sauerkraut
  • Texas Russian Dressing:
    • 2 parts Duke’s mayo
    • 1.5 parts mustard
    • 1 part ketchup
    • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, diced
    • 1 teaspoon Meat Church Holy Cow seasoning


Make the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl according to your taste preferences.

Build the sandwich: Spread the dressing on rye bread slices, add slices of brisket, top with sauerkraut, and enjoy your Texas Pastrami Reuben Sandwich.

Understanding Pastrami: History and Preparation

What is Pastrami?

Pastrami is a beef brisket that is wet-cured in a brine, heavily seasoned, smoked, and steamed. It originated with Jewish immigrants in the early 20th century and has become a beloved deli staple.

Brisket: The Ideal Cut for Pastrami

Brisket is chosen for pastrami due to its ability to withstand long curing, smoking, and steaming processes while maintaining a tender texture.

Pastrami from Brisket

Steps to Making Pastrami at Home

Making pastrami involves straightforward steps:

  1. Trimming: Decide how much fat to leave on the brisket.
  2. Brining: Submerge the brisket in a curing brine for 7-10 days.
  3. Rinsing & Rubbing: Rinse off the brine, pat dry, and coat with a spice rub.
  4. Smoking: Smoke the brisket until it reaches 150°F.
  5. Steaming: Steam the brisket until it reaches 203°F to tenderize.

Serving and Storing Pastrami

Serve freshly sliced pastrami in sandwiches or store it sliced or in chunks. It can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for longer storage.


Homemade pastrami offers a rewarding culinary experience, bringing the flavors of a deli classic into your kitchen. Whether enjoyed on its own or as a Texas-style Reuben sandwich, your homemade pastrami will surely impress.