Dave Does Dinner, dinner, Recipes, Smoking + Grilling

from scratch pastrami party

This dinner party has cured and smoked pastrami stacked up on homemade rye bread with wonderfully funky sauerkraut we fermented. Oh, what a night.

I am so excited to share this super fun dinner party we had with our friends D & Laura. We have so many foodie adventures with them that we’ve had serious in-depth convo’s about how we should start our own separate blog just to document it all. I swear once we locate the 8th day of the week, we’ll build that blog too. 😉

In the meantime, I’m happy to share one of our recent fun nights here on GMM. I think this particular dinner idea came while we were all eating breakfast one morning together at Kaufman’s deli – which is AMAZING and a must-visit if ever on the north side. They have perfect bagels, lox, pastrami and more. The conversation went a little something like this:

Dave: “I should smoke pastrami again, it’s really pretty easy!”
Laura: “I’m going to have batches of homemade sauerkraut and pickles ready!”
D: “I can make rye bread!”
Annie: “I can definitely show up and eat all that!”

Okay, I think I might have at least made a dip or something, but wow – I’m a lucky gal in that I got to enjoy a homemade pastrami sandwich with homemade sauerkraut on homemade rye with a side of homemade gherkins. I mean, what is this dream life?

And yes, this meal took a lot of prep-work and yes, this meal took a lot of time – but we often split up pieces of the dinners we plan which always makes it a little more doable and allows you to tackle semi-difficult or intimidating dishes we may not otherwise try on our own. It was so fabulous how everything came together from all of this (their) hard-work to make one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat.

So all of this to say, certainly take a gander at the recipes below but if anything at all, I hope this meal + collaboration among friends inspires y’all to grab some pals and plan a big foodie night!

First things first, let’s talk about the timing needed for this amazing day. You need 7 weeks for the kraut. Trust me, it’s worth the time. To make the kraut, you’ll also need a pickling crock, which you can find on Amazon in a variety of sizes. And last, you’ll need canning jars. Laura was kind enough to share her recipe with me below.

Look at how lovely this looks! I’m drooling!

8 heads of green cabbage
generous handful of canning salt
water to make the brine cover the cabbage
1/4 cup peppercorns
6 garlic cloves
2 tbs caraway seeds

First cut the cabbage into slivers and squish by hand until it’s reduced in volume by about a third or more. Have some friends over for wine while you do this, you’ll need the extra hands and strength!

Put the cabbage in the pickling crock and cover with water until it’s submerged. Add the seasonings, stir well and place the weights and lid on top of the crock. Do not peek at the kraut for the first two weeks and store somewhere cool.

After the first two weeks open the crock and make sure that there is enough water so that the cabbage is still totally submerged, if not, add more. At this time also skim off any mold or bubbles that have formed on the top. Continue to skim and check water weekly for the remaining time. Laura explained that the aroma went from stinky then fruity then stinky back to fruity during this time so don’t be scurrred by the smells.

After the 7 weeks are up, it’s time to can-can! You can use the water bath canning method, which I thought was best explained here by Ball.

This recipe does make a hefty bit of kraut, so feel free to half it if you’d like, but it’s so good – we ate all of it over the summer.

Next up – the pastrami.

This whole process takes 11 days. You need seven days to cure the meat, one day to desalinate the meat, two days for the rub to settle in, and nearly an entire day to smoke. We ate the same day we smoked the beef, despite the recipe saying to rest, then steam. We skipped that part and it was delish.

Dave is constantly referencing AmazingRibs.com, so I want to make sure I drive traffic to them for this recipe as that’s the recipe we followed. Everything we’ve ever tried from this site has been spectacular. So follow this recipe for the pastrami – it’s basically a copy of Katz’s Deli pastrami. So good.

We did start the recipe using the ‘from scratch’ method which included curing the meat. We also doubled the recipe as we started with an 8 lb brisket. Go big or go home.

Last, let’s talk delicious rye bread.

D is awesome at making homemade bread, so I was excited he was on board to make rye – one of my favorites.

He used the deli rye recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day : The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. You can also find this recipe on the webby internet, here.

This bread was simply perfect. Homemade bread is such a treat, it’s just light-years away from the store-bought stuff. I’ve given myself the challenge of learning how to make bread this winter, so wish me luck!

Well guys, there you have it. You only need 7 weeks to do all this, ha! 🙂 I promise it’s worth the time and energy – absolutely one of the best meals in recent memory. So get some friends together and start planning a foodie adventure!

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