Pastrami Brisket & Texas Reuben Sandwich

 Pastrami Brisket Sandwich

I've been a sucker for a Reuben sandwich all of my adult life. If you have ever been to the famous Katz Deli in NYC then you know what I'm talking about. That pastrami with Russian dressing with sauerkraut wrapped in fresh rye bread. Yum!

If you know me, I'm going to add a smoked element to anything I can. In this recipe we start by making smoked brisket pastrami. Then we take it next level by making a Texas Smoked Pastrami Reuben Sandwich with a homemade Texas Russian dressing with pickled jalapeños. Enjoy the video below where my friend Cody Sharp joins us for one of the tastiest sandwiches we have ever made!

Video for this recipe:

Guest Pitmaster Series:


Pastrami Seasoning Ingredients:

  • 2 T, black pepper
  • 2 T, coriander
  • 1 T, paprika

Pastrami Brine Ingredients:

  • 2 C pickling spice
  • 1 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 C Salt
  • 2 T pink curing salt (Prague powder #1 - not Himalayan pink salt)
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 gallon water

Prepare your brine
Combine all brine ingredients in a large stock pot with 1 gallon of water.

Pastrami Brine

Bring to a simmer so that all of the sugar dissolves. 

Completely cool the brine. This can be done with some ice or patience. You may need a little extra water to submerge your brisket anyway.

Brine the brisket
Place your brisket in a food safe container and cover with the brine mixture. Add more water if necessary to completely submerge the brisket. Adding too much water will affect your needed ratio of curing salt so don't use a container that is too much larger than your brisket. You can also use a ziplock bag filled with water to help keep the brisket submerged. See the process and container we used in this video.
Pastrami Brisket

Brine for 10 days if using a large brisket such as we did in this video. This was 14 lbs trimmed. It started out at 17 lbs and we trimmed 3 lbs of fat off it. Some people go as short as 7 days on their brine. The brine has to completely penetrate the meat. 

You can also inject some of the brine into the brisket if you are wanting to speed up the brine process.

Pastrami Brisket

After 10 days remove the brisket from the brine and COMPLETELY rinse it off.

Pat the brisket dry. 

Slater with mustard for a binder. 

Mix the pastrami seasoning and then season to your liking. There is no salt in this seasoning due to the amount of salt in the brine. Therefore you can go heavy if you prefer. Allow the seasoning to completely adhere. 

Pastrami Brisket

Prepare your smoker
Prepare your smoker at a temperature of 250 degrees. I recommend post oak, mesquite or hickory for this cook. We used a Mill Scale 94 gallon offset in this Pastrami Brisket video.

Mill Scale Offset Smoker

Smoke the brisket fat side up until it reaches 175 internal temp in the middle of the flat with your Instant Read Thermometer. At this point the bark will be nice and set. Wrap it in unwaxed butcher paper.

Pastrami Brisket

Alternatively you can wrap the brisket in aluminum foil. That will steam the brisket which will affect the bark, but that is ok. We explain the differences in wrapping techniques in this Smoking Brisket wrapped in Foil vs Butcher Paper video.

Increase the temp of your smoker to 275 degrees to help render out the fat. Continue to cook until 205 internal in the middle of the flat. The typical probing of your brisket for tenderness will not work on this pastrami brisket as it is so dense from the brine.

Remove the brisket from the smoker and allow to cool. In this video we allowed the brisket to rest at ambient temperature in our outdoor kitchen (shot in the Spring so it was warm outside) for 2 hours. If you need to hold longer you can place the brisket in a cooler. Anytime I am resting in a cooler I allow the brisket to rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes to stop the cooking process.

Slice and enjoy!

If you want to enjoy the best Texas Pastrami Reuben Sandwich, scroll down past these droll worth photos.....

Brisket Pastrami

Brisket Pastrami

Brisket Pastrami

Texas Pastrami Reuben Sandwich


  • Rye bread
  • Sauerkraut
  • Texas Russian Dressing 
    • 2 parts Duke's mayo
    • 1.5 parts mustard
    • 1 part ketchup
    • 2 T pickled jalapeños, diced
    • 1 t Meat Church Holy Cow

Make the dressing
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. The ingredients are just a guide and you should make this to your taste and liking!

Russian DressingPastrami Reuben Sandwich

Build the sandwich
Lay out slices of rye bread and spread on the dressing. Load it up with sliced brisket and top with sauerkraut. Serve with deli style pickles. Enjoy!!!!

 Pastrami Reuben Sandwich

Pastrami Reuben Sandwich

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