Tradition holds, at least in the States, that one should eat corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day. Preparing it is a long process usually reserved for an annual occasion. In fact, last year, we made corned beef brisket using a week-long brine and a 48-hour cook in a sous vide. It was great, but this year we decided to see how much time we could shave off the process. Well, you’re in luck because we got rid of many days and a lot of work; instead of brining for five days, it takes two, and instead of cooking for 48 hours, it cooks for about 45 minutes.
Our first move was to replace the brisket with a different cut of beef. We used tri-tip, a cut that is pretty readily available these days at corner butcher shops and Costco alike. It cooks quickly and is generally around 2 pounds so it will complete the brining process much quicker than a whole brisket. An added bonus is that the fat content of a tri-tip is pretty high and that marbling will translate into a super succulent and juicy final product.
To give our pastrami that necessary crunchy crust—and incorporate booze, of course—we used a Guinness mustard mixed with honey, then seared it over direct heat in our Weber grill. People often cook tri-tip to an internal temperature of 135ºF (to make it medium-rare) and pastrami when made with brisket is generally cooked all the way to 165ºF. We split the difference and cooked the tri-tip to medium—right around 140º to 145ºF to make sure that it wasn’t underdone or overdone. The result was a reinvented recipe for pastrami you can, and should, use all year long.
Tri-Tip Pastrami with Guinness Mustard
1 liter water
200 grams Kosher salt
50 grams sugar
50 grams dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons pink salt (sodium nitrite)
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon pickling spice
5 pound of tri-tip (2 2½ lb. pieces)
1 cup stone ground mustard
⅓ cup yellow mustard
¼ cup honey
1/2 cup Guinness
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Make the brine by bringing the water to a boil and then adding the salt, sugars, pink salt, garlic and pickling spice. Once all the ingredients have dissolved, allow it cool to room temperature. Then, place the tritips in a large freezer bag, pour the brine over the meat and seal. Allow to sit in your fridge for 2 full days. Remove from the brine, rinse and return to the fridge until you are ready to cook.
Make the mustard by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and using a whisk to incorporate. Set ⅓ of the mustard aside to serve with the meal. Pour the remaining ⅔ over the meat and allow the meat to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you put it on the grill. Prepare your grill for both direct and indirect cooking, with the coals covering ½ the grill.
Sear the meat directly over the fire for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally to make sure they don’t get too burned. Then, move the tri-tips to the indirect cooking side without the coals, place the lid on top and allow to cook for approximately 30 minutes more, until the internal temp gets to 140º to 145ºF. Remove from the grill, cover with foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Slicing a tri-tip is a tricky operation. We recommend Googling it and following instructions because the fibers go a couple different directions. Serve the sliced pastrami on onion buns with the Guinness mustard.