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TIP OF THE DAY: Make Your Own Corned Beef & Pastrami

Some home cooks just like to go the extra yard. Why buy corned beef and pastrami when you can make your own?

You can create the complex flavors and tender texture that will bring kudos from others at the dinner table while you get deeper in touch with your inner chef.

The first time you make corned beef or pastrami from scratch, you may want to rely on a kit of ingredients and instructions that walks you through the process of curing and cooking a brisket (the base of corned beef and pastrami). Even professional chefs use this Corned Beef & Pastrami Kit from Leener’s.

The kit comes with everything you need except the brisket: Morton Tender Quick, a very effective meat tenderizer, curing salts, plus spices, wood chips and a tenderizing tool. While you can certainly come up with your own tenderizer, black pepper, garlic powder, mustard seed, paprika and and other spices, this Make It kit is a turnkey cookbooks with simple instructions.


BYO brisket and make corned beef and pastrami with this kit. Photo courtesy Leeners.


There’s enough in each kit for up to 10 pounds of brisket. The only caveat is that you need to cure the seasoned meat in the fridge for five days per each inch of meat thickness. In our packed apartment-size fridge, we’d have to toss all the condiments to make space!

It took Leener’s, which specializes in “Make It” kits, six months to perfect the Corned Beef and Pastrami Kit. “We tried many recipes and methods of making corned beef and found that the traditional brine method produces the highest quality corned beef possible,” says company president Jim Leverentz. “Our goal is to bring back the old-fashioned goodness and flavors of a more patient time along with the satisfaction of making it yourself. You will be enjoying the best corned beef and pastrami sandwiches you have ever eaten.” (EDITOR’S NOTE: Although it goes without saying, you also need a top-quality brisket.)

In fact, the company also makes kits for the other ingredients of a Reuben sandwich: an Artisan Bread Kit to make deli-style rye, a Sauerkraut and Dill Pickle Kit, a Deluxe Cheese Kit for the Swiss cheese and a Mustard Making Kit. Pair the Reuben with your choice of brews from Leener’s Home Brewery System.

The Corned Beef & Pastrami Kit is sold in a four-pack for $32.95, or $8.00 and change per brisket. You can give any extra kits to people who invite you over for barbecue or other meat-centric meals. Kits are also fun gifts for anyone who likes to cook.

Get your kits now.

BRISKET 101: A beef brisket consists of two parts, the flat and the point. Traditionally the flat is used to make corned beef for slicing. The point, while cured in the same way, is smoked to make pastrami.


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