Pastrami without a smoker

3 from 1 vote

Pastrami without a smoker

Homemade pastrami is a delicious and classic deli meat that is often made using a smoker. However, not everyone has access to a smoker or wants to invest in one. Luckily, it's still possible to make incredibly flavorful and tender pastrami at home using a few simple ingredients and some basic kitchen equipment. With this method, you can enjoy the taste of classic pastrami without ever having to leave your kitchen.
Cook Time 10 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 16 hours 30 minutes
Course This-That
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 8
Calories 475 kcal


  • Pressure Cooker


  • 4 lbs corned beef with a thick fat cap

Spice Mix:

  • 4 tablespoons black pepper fresh coarsely ground
  • 2 tablespoons coriander powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika smoked
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke optional


  • Mix Spice Mix and spread out on a tray. Pat beef dry then roll in Spice Mix, coating well all over. Sprinkle with liquid smoke if using (I rarely use this).
  • Place beef fat cap side down and wrap in a large sheet of foil. Repeat again with another sheet of foil and flip the beef so the fat cap is on the top.
  • Place rack in slow cooker, place beef on rack. Slow cook for 10 hours on low or electric pressure cook for 1 hour 40 minutes (see notes for oven).
  • Remove beef, cool then refrigerate for 6 hours +. I usually just overnight it. Reserve juices from the slow cooker.
  • Unwrap beef. Place rack on tray, place beef on rack. Bake 30 minutes at 350F until spice crust is set.
  • Remove from oven, slice thinly – pastrami will be tender. Place some pastrami in a dish, spoon over a bit of reserved juices. Cover and microwave to warm (I like to add a slice of Swiss cheese).


1. Because this is an easy Pastrami recipe, I start with a store bought corned beef.
Electric Pressure Cooker -you don’t need to add liquid because corned beef is plump with extra liquid it has absorbed from the brining process so it drops liquid as it heats up, and it’s that liquid that creates the steam that creates the pressure cooking environment. If for some reason it doesn’t come to temperature  pop in 1/2 cup of water (but I’ve never had to do this). You end up with the same amount of liquid at the bottom of the pot whether you slow cook or pressure cook.
Oven – I haven’t tried this myself, but this is what I would do: wrap with foil one extra time, add 1/2 cup water in pan, put wrapped beef on rack in pan, cover pan tightly with foil. Try 225 F for 6 hours which sounds about right compared for the slow cooking time I use. 

Nutrition Disclaimer

Paulson Pursuits is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.


Calories: 475kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 34gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 2771mgPotassium: 768mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 447IUVitamin C: 62mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 5mg
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