So you made corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day. You brined the meat for a week, then slow simmered it in beer all afternoon, and it was awesome. Your friends all think you’re amazing (you’re welcome), and they want a repeat performance. But it ain’t St. Patrick’s Day, and you want to change things up a bit. Welcome to your next show-stopping meat dish: Pastrami.

When we make pastrami, we follow the exact same process as corned beef for the “corning” portion of the dish. But after the five-day salt cure, we switch things up a bit so we can turn the brisket into a pastrami. This happens with two simple changes. The first: we coat it with a beer mustard and pepper. The second: we smoke it.

We used Polygamy Porter (tagline: “Why have just one?”) from Wasatch Beers to make a stellar beer mustard that plays two roles in our pastrami meal. As mentioned above, we start by taking half of the mustard and rubbing it all over the brisket before we cover it with pepper and smoke it. Then, when it’s time to eat, we slather a couple pieces of marble rye bread with the mustard to give the sandwich the necessary tang to counteract the saltiness of the pastrami.

Polygamy Porter is rightfully well respected. It possesses all the qualities of an amazing porter: roasty malt character, deep dark color, subtle hoppiness and lots of satisfaction. The beer is only 4% ABV, so you can drink quite a few in one sitting. If Polygamy is unavailable in your area, try more readily available porters like Founders Porter or Anchor Porter.

Polygamy Porter Pastrami

For the beer mustard:

½ cup of grainy mustard
¼ cup of dijon mustard
¼ cup of porter beer
One small shallot, minced
1 Tablespoon of brown sugar


Mix all ingredients. Let sit at least for 30 minutes for the flavors to meld, or keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.

For the Pastrami:

Follow the instructions for “corning” corned beef.

Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse well. Divide the mustard in two. Rub half of the mustard all over the pastrami, making sure to work your way into the nooks and crannies.

Cover liberally with freshly ground black pepper.

Place the brisket on a smoker set at 225ºF. Allow it to smoke for three hours. Then, place the brisket in a foil pan, pour the remainder of the bottle of beer (that you didn’t use for the mustard) into the pan and cover tightly with foil. Return the brisket to the smoker for an additional 2 hours, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.

Allow the pastrami to rest for 30 minutes, then slice.

Serve slices in between marble rye bread slathered with the beer mustard with melted swiss cheese, pickles, and slaw.