The Smoky Poet

The Pitmaster, Poet & Storyteller

Kingsford Charcoal Makes The Best Gameday Pastrami Burnt Ends Ever

By on October 27, 2020

This is a sponsored post by Kingsford Charcoal; however, all opinions expressed in this post are mine and only mine.

Now, you may not have heard, or ever experienced pastrami burnt ends. You might be more familiar with its meat cousins, brisket burnt ends or pork belly burnt ends. But once you try this recipe with Kingsford Charcoal, it will be your most favorite yet.

For this pastrami burnt end recipe, you will want to have the brisket point, as compared to the brisket flat. You would then want to cure the point of the brisket for approximately eight to ten days.

However, there is a much easier way to make pastrami burnt ends. As such, you will have your Kingsford Charcoal lit and ready before you know it for gameday. So I use a pre-cured corned beef brisket. I typically find one in my local supermarket while picking up a bag of Kingsford Charcoal.

If you can find a corned beef brisket point, you will want to get that for this recipe. However, if you can only find a corned beef brisket flat, just be aware you won’t have some of the traditional flat which makes burnt ends, well burnt ends. However, you can still make this recipe, but the flat corned beef brisket will a little tougher than the point. Try to find at least a four-pound corned beef brisket. The bigger the better.

Pastrami burnt ends

Corned beef brisket is usually cured. But to make pastrami, you will want to desalinate (remove) as much salt as possible from the corned beef brisket. Once this is done, you will then apply a generous amount of pastrami rub.

You see, corned beef and pastrami come can both come from the same part of the cow. But the difference really comes down to how they are cooked. Corned beef is often steamed or boiled after it has been salt-cured. Whereas pastrami made from a brisket, is typically not cured. Instead a dry rub of spices and seasoning is used.

Preparing The Meat For Pastrami Burnt Ends

To desalinate the pre-cured corned beef brisket, you will first remove the brisket from the package. Rinse with water, then trim off fat and the silver skin on the non-fat cap portion of the brisket.

Then, flip the corned beef brisket over and trim the fat cap down to about ¼ of an inch. Next, you will want to have a large container, enough to cover the corned beef brisket with water. Place the corned beef brisket into the container. Then cover with water completely and place into your refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Pastrami burnt ends

The process of desalinating the corned beef brisket will remove a significant portion of the salt cure and the result will look like a piece of gray meat when it comes out of the water. The water should also have a slight pinkish hue to it. Don’t worry, that is simply the cure that has been extracted from the salt, which is typically InstaCure No. 1 (Prague Powder #1) which you guessed it is pink. This salt cure, with the nitrites, is what gives meat that reddish to pink color.

The desalinated corned beef brisket will still have a residual amount of salt within it, but if you were to add a rub, such as Montreal Steak Seasoning on top, you will find that a rub with salt in it definitely can create for a very salty pastrami. Therefore, the rub for this recipe will not have any salt in it at all.

For this pastrami rub, you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons of ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of whole black/white/pink peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of whole coriander or cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander powder or cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of granulated garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder (optional as mustard is the slather)

Place all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl or mortar. Use the pestle to break up some of the peppercorns, whole coriander seeds or cumin seeds. Next, you will want to apply a slather of yellow mustard as your binder. The mustard slather won’t give you an overpowering mustard flavor, but with the mustard powder also in the rub, you can substitute extra virgin olive oil as the slather or binder for the rub.

Rub for pastrami burnt ends with Kingsford Charcoal

Generously apply this entire rub to all sides of the corned beef brisket, firmly pressing the peppercorns into the meat. Next, you will want to place the rubbed corned beef brisket onto a wire rack, with a drip pan, and place into your fridge for approximately 12 hours. For me, I usually do this the night before I end up smoking my corned beef brisket to make pastrami burnt ends.

Pastrami burnt ends with rub

The total smoke time for this recipe can take up to nine or so hours, depending on the temperature of your smoker or grill. And for my recipe I picked up a two-pack of Kingsford Professional Competition Briquets from my local Costco store.

The Kingsford Professional Competition Briquets are great for cooking steaks and they definitely produce a very hot heat, but they also yield significantly less ash than other briquets. And since I used my ceramic grill, having a lower ash output is key to maximizing the airflow in my ceramic grill.

Now I know what you are thinking, can you use the Kingsford Professional Competition Briquets in a ceramic grill? And the answer is yes, because they are made with 100% natural products and do not include any lighter fluid in them, unlike some other briquets. And using lighter fluid in a ceramic grill can void the warranty, so make sure you are only using 100% natural briquets like the Kingsford Professional Competition Briquets.

Preparing Your Kingsford Charcoal

I cleaned out all of my old lump charcoal from my ceramic grill and placed two natural fire starting cubes on the bottom grate. Then I placed 60 Kingsford Professional Competition Briquets into my chimney starter. I then lit two fire-starting cubes and placed the chimney starter on top of the cubes.

After about 10 minutes, my charcoal was lit and I dumped the entire chimney starter of Kingsford Charcoal into my charcoal basket. I then added Kingsford Cherry Wood chunks for my smoke.

I love to tell people that charcoal is your fuel, but added wood should bring your flavor. The Kingsford Professional Competition Briquets burn very clean without any harsh wood like or chemical flavors, so it’s even perfect for making desserts in my ceramic grill.

My target temperature was 250 Fahrenheit. In order to hold my temperature at this level, I attached a digital fan controller to my bottom vent of my ceramic grill and had my top vent open a smidge. You can also not use a digital controller and your bottom vent should be open about ½ inch.

After about 10 additional minutes of letting my cherry wood chunks smoke, I then placed my grate into my ceramic grill and set up this cook as an indirect cook with heat deflectors in between my top grate and my Kingsford Charcoal.

On top of my heat deflectors I placed a drip pan and filled this with water. The additional water will evaporate in the ceramic grill, but provides additional humidity to help the cooking process. Next place the rubbed pastrami on the top grate, close the lid and cook until the internal temperature in the thickest portion of the pastrami is around 167 Fahrenheit. This took approximately seven hours.

Pastrami Burnt Ends with Kingsford Charcoal

Once the pastrami reaches 1677 Fahrenheit, I then place this on top of my steam rack and fill the steam pan with water. Cover with foil and then steam until the internal temperature reaches around 195 Fahrenheit. Increase the temperature of your smoker to approximately 300 Fahrenheit.

Remove from let the pastrami rest for about ten minutes. In the meantime, grab a foil pan and your favorite barbecue sauce. While resting, increase the temperature of your smoker to approximately 500 Fahrenheit.

Time To Make The Pastrami Burnt Ends

Once rested, slice and cube into one inch squares and place your pastrami burnt ends into the foil pan. Pour approximately a cup of barbecue sauce over the burnt ends and place back into the smoker for approximately 30 minutes or until the barbecue sauce has caramelized.

After 30 minutes, you will be ready to plate your pastrami burnt ends for your gameday or tailgate.

And don’t worry, this will turn out great thanks to this great recipe that was fueled by Kingsford Charcoal Competition Briquets. This might end up being your favorite burnt end recipe ever yet.