In 2008 Erik and I went to Vermont for vacation. We flew into Burlington, rented a car and drove around the state. The entire state is gorgeous, first of all: Montpelier is a lovely state capitol, nearby in Barre is a cemetery that has the most amazing sculpted headstones I’ve ever seen, Burlington had the greatest farmer’s market I’ve ever attended, White River Junction and Woodstock were marvelous and we stayed in a gorgeous bed and breakfast there, St. Albans was equally wonderful. Rutland was on our list of “pass through” places and the thing people kept telling us about Rutland is “oh it has a Wal Mart” (I think it might be the only place in Vermont that has a Wal Mart hence why that’s such a big deal). We weren’t that excited about that because I can drive two hours here in Wyoming and get to a Wal Mart if I wanted to go there (which I didn’t). We figured Rutland was probably the “mainstream” town in Vermont that had all the mainstream things we didn’t really care about. But the reason why I am glad that we stopped there after all and poked around a bit more than we had planned to is this: Handcarved Sandwiches by Ernie. It’s a small, unassuming little sandwich shop and a man (I’d like to think it’s Ernie) stands behind a counter in the front surrounded by cutting boards, large knives and huge slabs of meat to cut up onto your sandwich. This place has ruined me on sandwiches for life because every time I eat a sandwich I’m all “eh, ain’t no Ernie’s therefore it IS THE SUCK.” Every time I make a ham or roast a turkey I get a bit verklempt because it reminds me of those incredible sandwiches and I am overcome with longing.
So when I came across a recipe that said “hey you can make pastrami by smoking a corned beef” I inwardly freaked and then bought an extra corned beef in March so I could make this. It’s taken me this long to make this simply because it hasn’t really stopped raining long enough for me to smoke the damn beef (until Saturday). The beef was tender, smoky, delicious. It makes for a transcendental sandwich experience, one that instantly reminded me of Ernie’s sandwiches of utter perfection. I might have to invest the time in making sandwich meats more often because this trumps anything you can buy at the grocery deli counter.
Make Your Own Pastrami
recipe by Savvy Housekeeping
a corned beef, we used an almost 4 lb. one
a couple Tablespoons ground or crushed coriander
a couple Tablespoons cracked black pepper
Remove the corned beef from its package. Rinse, pat dry. Cut away some of the fat off the meat. Rub the pepper and coriander all over the beef. Smoke it in your smoker at about 225 until the internal temperature reaches 165 (yes that’s high, but this is brined beef so it stays tender, I promise). Ours took about 3 1/2 – 4 hours. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes, then slice thinly.
Pastrami and Sauerkraut Sandwiches
a loaf of ciabatta bread, sliced for sandwiches (the recipe linked is very, very tasty)
your smoked pastrami sliced to your desired thickness
onions, sliced thinly served raw or caramelized if you want
Spread the mustard on the bread. Layer with the pastrami slices, onions and sauerkraut. Top with the other slice of bread. Nom that mutha.
cooking music: Shakira, Sale el Sol