Monday, March 28, 2016

Chia Pudding with Fruit

 1/2 cup Chia seeds, 3 cups soy milk, 4 hours refrigeration, equals creamy Chia Pudding.

I've been seeing a lot of Chia seed mentions around the blogosphere lately, and decided to try a recipe to see what it's all about. I made a simple Chia Pudding with Fruit.

They are quite expensive at regular markets, but when I saw small 3 ounce packages in my local 99c only Store  I picked up a package decided to try a recipe with the teeny tiny seeds. The small packages are located by the spices and dried herbs at the store I went to.

Chia seeds are touted as a superfood with health benefits and extra nutritional value. You can read all about that stuff by clicking here. Mainly they are loaded with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Hey, I can use all the help I can get - I'm not getting any younger here.

Chia, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, and has been cultivated by the Aztecs and Mayans way back in pre-Columbian times.

Raw Chia Seeds

What's interesting about them is when added to a tasty fluid they swell, absorbing the liquid, becoming similar to a tapioca pudding after setting for about 4 hours. The taste of Chia is fairly neutral, maybe with a slight green tea flavor, so using a rich tasting liquid like almond or soy milk is recommended.

If you think of it like oatmeal, then all you need to do is add some sliced fruit and you have a knock-out dessert or nutritious breakfast.

For my recipe I stirred in sliced strawberries and banana, after the Chia Pudding has set. You can use any fruit you find on sale.

I always find soy milk at the 99c only Stores, and every once in a while almond milk makes an appearance in the cold deli case.

Click on any photo to see larger (and esc key to return here.)

So hit the produce section of your grocery store or farmers market, and stock up on your favorite fresh fruit to slice and add to my cheap$kate Chia Pudding with Fruit.

  • 3 cups soy milk - okay to use regular milk, almond milk or almost any juice. For thicker pudding use 2 or 2 1/2 cups of liquid.
  • Raw Chia seeds - 3 ounces or half a cup.
  • Fruit - any favorite. I used cheap bananas and strawberries. Add as much as you like. Other fruit to try: pineapple, peach, mango, melon, blueberries, or whatever you can find on sale at the grocery and farmers market. 
  • Okay to add teaspoon of any favorite sweetener - optional.

Add raw Chia seeds to a large bowl. Pour in 2 to 3 cups of soy milk, regular milk, almond milk, or fruit juice.

3 cups of soy milk will make an oatmeal or sour cream consistency. Okay to use about 2 cups of soy milk for a thicker pudding.

Stir seeds into soy milk and set in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours. Stir mixture once every hour as seeds absorb liquid. They clump up some, but easily break apart with a light stir.

When mixture is set, add Chia Pudding to a bowl and add sliced fruit - as much fruit as you like.

Some recipes call for a tablespoon of honey or any favorite sweetener. I find the fruit and soy milk sweet enough for my taste.

For a single serving, add 3 tablespoons of raw Chia seeds and fill up a coffee mug with soy milk or favorite liquid.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cuban Recipes

Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, in 1987, President Reagan exclaimed: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." He was referring to the Communist-built barrier separating East and West Berlin,  a bitter symbol of the Cold War.

This month President Obama trumps Reagan by crossing into enemy territory to tear down our own misguided economic wall around our island neighbor. On Obama's  second day of a historic visit to Cuba, in a speech addressed to the Cuban people, he declared: "I am here to bury the last remnants of the Cold War in the Americas."

And now The 99 Cent Chef is ending the Cuban embargo, culinarily that is. So in support of President Obama's latest diplomatic coup d'├ętat, I offer up a tasty slate of Cuban-style recipes as a yummy peacetime dividend.

The 99 Cent Chef welcomes all nations into his kitchen anytime. I wish I could really end this embargo on Cuba with a wave of my whisk. Let's move on Congress, this Cold War policy fiasco is so last century -- it's over!

Just let the Republican politicians of Cuban descent, embargo supporting Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz, stew in their own juices and eat crow, as President Obama continues spreading goodwill, and mending fences, to our Latin neighbors.

So let's start with one of my favorite sandwiches, a Cuban Sandwich.

 I would like to break bread with the Cuban people one day, as I am a great fan of their cuisine. Locally I've had both good and bad Cuban Sandwiches. Downtown's former Cuidad (now a Border Grill ) served a great mini-version at Happy Hour to downtown power brokers in suits and skirts. At Glendale's Porto's Bakery on Brand Boulevard, nearby mall shoppers get a bargain sandwich deliciously meaty, and cheap at $4.85 (but they add mayo, which is a no-no.) At Cafe Tropical on Sunset Boulevard, Echo Park hipsters hunkered over their Macs, can scarf down $6 sandwiches while sipping papaya juice under Che Guevera posters.

West on Sunset in Silverlake, taxi drivers dine mini-mall style at El Cochinito on $6.95 sandwiches. And my favorite Cuban Restaurant, Versailles , with locations on Venice and La Cienega Boulevards, serves a surprisingly unappetizing one for $9.99 - oily bread, ham, and Swiss cheese, with scraps of roast pork. Maybe it was just a bad day in the kitchen the one and only time I tried it - I'll give it another chance someday.  Sorry, Versailles - I'll always come back for your Roast Pork and Chicken dinners, though.

The Cuban Sandwiches is a dynamite combination of flavors: sour mustard and pickle, tart creamy Swiss cheese, sweet cured ham, and tender Cuban roast pork - all on a crunchy crusted grilled bread roll.

When placed on your plate it is a sleek modernist meal. The sandwich is pressed thin and sliced diagonally -- looking like a crisp, cheesy, meat-filled shark fin, with a slash of cool green pickle peeking out. It's a great tasting sandwich that's also aesthetically pleasing.

Skip ahead to get my recipe of Cuban Roast Pork the most complicated part of the sandwich. The other fillings come cheaply from a typical deli case. And you now have one more use for that leftover Easter ham.

As for the bread, Cuban rolls are not easy to come by, but a sandwich roll, from the bakery section of your grocery store, works fine. I've picked them up for way less than 50 cents each. You could use an Italian or French baguette - just slice it into 2 or 3 sections. My local Latin market makes fresh Bolillos rolls daily. I've even used packaged steak rolls. Once you grill the sandwich, the bread crisps-up well enough. And since this is a pressed sandwich, the shape and texture of the bread is changed significantly.

 Cuban Sandwiches is similar to an Italian Panini - toasted crisp with meat and cheese. It is Cuban comfort food at its finest. This is the concluding Cuban dish in my month-long series, so give it a go.

And the perfect drink accompaniment is a cool Cuban concoction, made with rum, sugar cane juice, and lime, called a Mojito. As a special bonus, I've called up one of my first recipe videos, "The 99 Cent Mojito," for a timely replay. To see the blog post with my Mojito recipe written out, just click here.

The 99 Cent Mojito -Video

Play it here. The video is 4 1/2 minutes.

Ingredients for Cuban Sandwich (one sandwich)
  • Cuban style roast pork - a few chunks or slices. Click here for my recipe.
  • 1-2 slices of cooked ham - depending on how thin the ham is.
  • 1-2 slices of Swiss cheese - again, depending on how thin cheese is sliced.
  • A few slices of pickle - wedges or coin sliced. Usually made with tart, but sweet Bread and Butter is a nice twist.
  • Cuban bread roll, split - or any roll. I've used steak rolls, French, Italian, and Mexican (bolillos) bread rolls.
  • Mustard or dijon - a smear on each roll side. Some use mustard as a dipping sauce only. It will be good cooked with or without mustard.
  • A pat of butter or a teaspoon of oil for grilling. Non-stick spray is okay.

Remove meat from refrigerator and allow to reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. Add butter (or oil) to a heating pan or grill. Split roll and smear mustard on each side. Layer on pickles, chunks of roast pork, ham and cheese, and place on a heated grill or pan. Brown bread on each side, until cheese is melted and oozing.

If the pork and ham is thick-sliced you can zap it in the microwave 20 or 30 seconds to heat it through. You can also heat the meat in a pan for a minute. You want the meat to be hot in the sandwich when served.

 This sandwich looks uniquely thin because it is pressed while cooking. Some cooks place everything from a cast iron pan to a foil-wrapped brick on the sandwich. I just used my large metal spatula (or any spatula, really) and pressed the sandwich during cooking. It gets thin enough. Also, you could cook it in a Panini press -- or heck, even on a dorm room George Forman Grill !

A Cuban Sandwich is served sliced at an angle -- so one sliced side tapers into a point. It's easier to inhale that way. Serve with my 99 Cent Mojito!

It's always a savory conundrum - do I order Lechon Asado (roast pork) or Pollo Asado (roast chicken) when I dine at a local Cuban restaurant. Usually what happens is my wife orders the chicken and I get the pork, so we just share. And now, I'm happy to share another Cuban classic with my readers - the luscious and pleasing pork entree, Lechon Asado.

Cuban Roast Pork holds the exalted culinary status of Southern BBQ Pulled Pork, grilled Mexican Al Pastor, or baked Kahlua Pig from Hawaii.

It's slow-cooked with a marinade of sour oranges, garlic, and oregano. Since sour oranges are hard to come by, unless you live in Miami, I combine regular orange and lime juice. In all, it's a killer citrus and garlic combination that makes slow-cooked pork butt (or shoulder) sweet, caramelized, fragrant, and fall-off-the-bone tender.

Ingredients for my Cuban Roast Pork recipe are budget-priced at any market. I get pork shoulder on sale for about 99 cents a pound at my local Latin market, and the other fruit, veggies, and herbs are cheap anytime.

A classic Cuban meal involves Black Beans and White Rice. Read on for a quick Black Beans recipe. Everyone has made white rice (you can use generic quick-cooking.) I also did a favorite Cuban side of steamed Yucca a couple of years ago. For an extra rich sweet side try my Fried Plantains recipe that's described next. A healthier and less starchy way to go is to accompany roast pork with my Cuban Salad at the end of my Cuban themed blog post.

Cuban Roast Pork is the kind of dish you start baking after breakfast, so it's ready for dinner. And since a large cut of meat is used, you will have plenty of leftovers for a couple of Cuban Sandwiches.

  • 6-8 pounds of pork - shoulder or butt, with or without bone. Boneless cooks faster, but is more expensive.

  • 2 cups of orange juice - or fresh squeezed (about 6 oranges)
  • 1 cup of lime or lemon juice - from a bottle or fresh (about 2-3 whole lemons or limes)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic - chopped fresh, or from the jar.
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano - dried or fresh
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Take large pork shoulder and pierce deeply all over with a knife, so it will absorb the marinade. In a large bowl, mix together orange and lime juice, chopped onion, garlic, and oregano. Place pork in a large pan, ceramic or plastic bowl or a large Ziploc bag . Pour marinade over pork and season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid or foil.

Store in the refrigerator a couple of hours or overnight. Turn pork a couple of times to make sure marinade is evenly distributed over the meat.

Later, place pork, still covered or foil-covered, in a 350-degree oven. Leave the bottom of pork exposed to water, to keep the pork moist, during long baking time.

Bake 5 - 6 hours. Baste with marinade, from the bottom of pan, every hour - cover and continue baking. After a couple of hours, you may need to add water, a cup at a time, as liquid cooks out.

Check tenderness of pork at about 5 hours. Done when pork easily separates with a fork. Cook another hour or two if not tender enough. Cooking time may vary, depending on the size of the pork roast.

I've even cooked it for 8 hours for a large pork shoulder with bone. Just make sure there is water or broth in the roasting pan to keep the pork from drying out. And keep it loosely covered in foil.

To serve, break off large chunks of pork and arrange on a plate with white rice and black beans (or salad and sides mentioned earlier). To have a total Cuban dinner experience, pour over roast pork my easy-to-make Mojo Criollo Sauce with sliced onion (click here for the recipe).

Black is beautiful for the sweetest Fried Plantains. Green is the color for nutty, potato-like Tostones. When shopping for plantains keep this in mind.

For my continuation of all things Cubano, I'll show you how to prepare both Fried Plantains and fried Tostones. It's an easy and quick dish to make; the only hard part is finding plantains. I go to my local Latin market where they sell for about 50 cents a pound, just the right price for this El Tightwad Cuisiner. Since the majority of the Los Angeles populace is Latino, I find that plantains are carried in almost every large supermarket.

 Maybe you've accidentally bought one thinking it was a regular banana? If you bite into a peeled one, you will get a mouthful of bitterness, but fry up a batch and you will be surprised how mild and sweet it is.

Like French fries, plantains are cooked in oil until brown. You do have to watch the ripened black plantains closely when cooking -- because of the high sugar content they can burn. Tostones don't have that, so they brown more slowly. Plantains are quite large, and just one makes enough for a couple of servings.

If you want a sweet Fried Plantain, buy it almost totally black. It is not rotten, just super sweet. If you get it yellow, you'll have to wait a few weeks to get the desired ripeness. In the photo, my plantain was not totally black, so the result was fine, but it could have been sweeter. For Tostones, green is best, but I've used yellow, too.

This is a perfect side for my Cuban Style Roast Pork. And Tostones double as tasty canapes that can be served like tortilla chips or crackers at a party.

Ingredients (each plantain serves 2)
  • 1 green plantain
  • 1 black plantain
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of vegetable oil for frying.
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional).

Directions for Fried Black Plantains
Add oil to a medium-sized pan or pot. You don't need the temperature to be as hot as you would for making  French fries, but go with a low/medium temperature, so you can easily watch that the banana slices don't burn.

A plantain doesn't peel quite as easily as a regular banana - there's a bit of technique involved. While oil is heating up, chop off the banana ends and slice into the peel lengthwise from end to end. Go just deep enough to hit banana flesh. It may be easier if you first slice the banana in half. The skin should peel right off.

Next, slice the banana at an angle so you get about three-inch-long pieces that are about one inch thick. I've also had them sliced small like a typical banana, and that's fine too. Add slices to the pan with oil and fry about 5 minutes on each side.

Go for a dark brown color. You will need to watch closely toward the end, as brown can turn to black quickly. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm.

Directions for Tostones (green or yellow plantain)
Heat oil the same as above. I managed to cook both of these plantains in a 1/2 cup of oil. Chop off plantain ends, slice into skin lengthwise from top to bottom, and peel. Green plantains are a little trickier to peel. Sometimes the inner peel will stick to the flesh, so just scrape it off.

I use a "two times" frying method. Cut plantains like you would a normal banana; there's no need to cut at an angle, but do cut them at least an inch thick. Add plantain slices to hot oil and lightly brown, about 2 minutes each side. You are getting the plantains to soften for pressing - the next step.

Take out cooked plantains and allow to cool for a minute. Arrange plantain coins on a plate or cutting board. I used the bottom of a drinking glass to press each fried plantain. You don't need to squish completely flat, just enough to burst the slices, so the flesh will finish cooking completely.

 Next add pressed slices back into the oil for a quick 3-minute fry (or until medium brown), on each side. Serve hot or at room temperature.

I first tried Cuban food at the venerable Versailles Restaurant on Venice Blvd. I love the place for its Roast Chicken and Roast Pork. I think everyone in L.A. has eaten there at least once. And the price is right, just over $12 for dinner, which includes black beans, white rice, fried plantains with a basket of delicious Cuban bread.

Now, the bedrock to any Cuban dining experience is black beans and white rice. White rice is simple enough - I have no special technique - just follow package directions. But I do have a few tricks to up the flavor profile for canned black beans (or any canned beans you may favor).

All you have to do is saute a little onion, bell pepper, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar, and sprinkle in some oregano. Mix it into a small pot of black beans and cook for 10 - 15 minutes. It's so simple but makes a lot of difference.

When I roast a hunk of pork, I'll put on a pot of black beans made from scratch (my recipe in under Hindsight below,) since they are both slow cooking. But most of the time I go with convenience and just use pre-cooked black beans.

So next time you get a cheap can of beans, try out my delicious veggie additions for extra flavor to make boring canned beans into something savory.  And be sure to check back for more Cubano recipes!

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1/4 small onion
  • 1/4 of bell pepper - any color.
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic - fresh or from a jar.
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar - any type you have on hand like white, apple, or rice vinegar.
  • 1 tablespoon of oil - vegetable or olive oil.
  • Pinch of oregano - fresh or dried (optional).
  • Pinch of pepper - canned beans have enough salt for my taste.

In a pot over medium heat, add oil and saute onion and bell pepper until soft, about 5 - 10 minutes. Next, add chopped garlic and cook a couple of minutes.

Next, add a can of black beans and a teaspoon of vinegar. Turn up the heat until beans start boiling, then reduce. Cook on low heat, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will reduce and thicken.

Cuban beans are typically served with white rice.

This recipe also works well with canned red, white, and pinto beans, and with black-eyed peas.

*For fresh-made, follow directions on a package of dried beans. First, add a tablespoon of oil in a large pot and saute a whole chopped onion and bell pepper for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add a tablespoon of garlic during the last minute of cooking. I like to cook veggies with a couple of bacon slices (if you want to keep it vegetarian, leave it out).

Pour in 8 cups of water and add the black beans.

Next add the sauteed veggies, including some bacon grease, to the pot.

Add a teaspoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste, and finally, sprinkle in a teaspoon of dried or fresh oregano and a whole bay leaf.

For more flavor, you can substitute an equal amount of chicken or vegetable stock for a portion of the water when cooking beans. Low boil or simmer until beans are tender, about 3-4 hours. For shorter cooking time soak beans overnight before cooking - this will save you an hour of simmering. Check on beans every hour to make sure the liquid does not cook out. Add water or broth if needed.

During the last hour of cooking, I uncover the pot so liquid cooks down and thickens slightly. Check on the beans a few times to make sure water doesn't totally cook out.

Crunchy radish, a tangy vinaigrette, and creamy avocado -- my Cuban Salad makes a light beginning to typical meat and carb-heavy Cuban meal. This salad goes perfectly with a Cuban Sandwich or Cuban Roasted Pork.

 It is a simple salad made with budget produce from my local Latin market. I got one bunch of radishes for about 33 cents, a tomato at  79 cent per pound, a large avocado for 69 cents, and a yellow onion at 33 cents per pound. With these prices, I look forward to standing in the grocery checkout line again soon!

In my experience with Cuban cuisine, the salads always start with avocado, tomato, and sliced onion, with a light refreshing vinaigrette. Sometimes a few greens are introduced - in my version, I left them out and added sliced radish.

All it takes is a minimal amount of chopping - and a quickly whisked olive oil and vinegar salad dressing to finish. My light and crunchy Cuban Salad is a fine accompaniment to any lunch or dinner entree, Cuban or not.

Ingredients (single serving)
  • 1 tomato - sliced or cubed
  • A few thin slices of onion - amount depends on your taste.
  • 1 avocado - sliced or cubed
  • 4 whole radishes - sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar - white, but any will do. You can also use lime or lemon juice instead.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Assemble sliced or chopped veggies in a serving bowl or plate. In another bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper for a couple of minutes, until well blended. Pour salad dressing over Cuban Salad. Serve cool or at room temperature.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Deli-style St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is the time to dress in green and put on your yarmulke? That's if you're combining the cuisines of the Emerald Isle and the Promised Land. And you'll feel like you've found that leprechaun pot o' gold at the end of the Western Wall when you try my luscious Jewish recipes using Irish corned beef, that's now on sale this week.

I like traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage and it's easy enough to make, but for the money, I like my corned beef between 2 slices of rye and topped with a cabbage coleslaw, Jewish deli-style. So just keep on reading to see my tasty recipes below for Deli Corned Beef and Homemade Pastrami.

If you didn't notice, this week is the time of cheap hunks of corned beef -- starting at $1.99 per pound! I usually clear out my freezer for this St. Patrick's Day beef celebration and stock up on a few corned beef briskets. They freeze well and I like to smoke them during my patio summer cookouts.

Corned Beef is easy to make. To a pot of water just add the package of herbs (that come in the corned beef package) and toss in a few chopped veggies. You can boil the corned beef on the stovetop or bake it in the oven. I prefer the oven method, so you get a slightly browned crust, but the inside will still be moist.

You'll also want a batch of coleslaw to go along with my Homemade Deli-Style Corned Beef Sandwich. Especially when cabbage is selling for pennies a pound this week. Just click here to get my Deli Coleslaw recipe.

Our most famous deli in Los Angeles is Canter's Deli on Fairfax Boulevard. They are especially known for Pastrami and Corned Beef Sandwiches.

For their 60th Anniversary at this location, they served Corned Beef on Rye Sandwiches for 60 cents! If you don't believe me, then just watch the video below as proof positive.

And if you have any meaty leftovers then add them to a breakfast scramble of Eggs and Pastrami or Corned Beef (my recipe is a click away here.)

Now, if you really want the wildest use of leftover Pastrami then go no further than the next video, on the making of an Oki Dog.

It is basically a burrito with hot dogs, cheese, chili, and pastrami. Yes, it's a cholesterolic artery-clogging tortilla-wrapped depth charge that will literally take your breath away. Just watch the video below to see it being assembled (and click here to read all about it.)

In my Pastrami Recipe Video below, I show you how to brine a beef brisket in the refrigerator for a week. But if you buy a package of corned beef, you can skip that stage and go right to cooking it.

A package of herbs is included with corned beef. I like to grind up the herbs, add some pepper, and that becomes the dry rub for pastrami. And the final stage is to smoke the pastrami for about an hour. So keep scrolling down to see my Corned Beef and Pastrami recipes (you can also click here to see more Pastrami Recipe photos and text.)

This St. Patty's Day post is all about the beef. So stock up on corned beef and get to cooking. And you can be sure that the Blarney Chef is not full of it this time - these are some of my best recipes.

Homemade Deli Pastrami - VIDEO

Play it here. Video runs 4 minutes 4 seconds.

Corned Beef Recipe Ingredients
  • 1 whole corned beef
  • Water - enough to cover brisket.
  • 1 whole chopped carrot - optional
  • 1 whole chopped onion - optional
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic - fresh or from jar.
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • packet of herbs that come with corned beef

Add enough fresh water to cover the brisket by an inch. Add the chopped veggies and bay leaf. Bring up the water to a boil, then lower the heat for a low simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 4 hours.

Check every hour or so to make sure the broth does not cookout. Add a 1/4 cup of water at a time, if needed. That's it -- just remove the corned beef and let it cool down enough to slice and serve.

For an oven version, add the veggies, then cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 3 to 4 hours. Finally, remove the cover and finish baking another hour -- this will give a nice dark brown color to the outside of the meat.

When slicing the corned beef for sandwiches make sure to cut across the grain of the meat. Of course, you'll want to try out a slice to see how yummy it is. Notice the lean meat and its rosy color inside.

For a Deli-style Corned Beef Sandwich just add mustard to rye bread. Layer on your favorite cheese, corned beef and coleslaw. From a 2.67 pound of corned beef brisket, I made 3 sandwiches. I served them to my wife, mother-in-law and our neighbor Deb -- they all raved how delicious it was. I hope you will like it too!

Directions for Cooking Pastrami - using corned beef
Remove corned beef from the package. Add corned beef brisket to a large pot with a cover and fill it with water to just above the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover and simmer for at least 3 hours. Check on it from time to time to make sure the water doesn't cook out (the water can cookout by a third, that's okay, as the meat will continue to steam.)

When finished boiling, remove the meat and set it to drain. Make the dry rub to coat the meat for smoking. Mix the pepper and coriander and coat all sides of the brisket.

Dry Rub Ingredients for Smoking
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander - they are the tan brown seeds in the herb package that normally comes with corned beef. You can sometimes find ground coriander in the spice rack of a grocery store.
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper - okay to use less. Sometimes black pepper can overpower everything, but I like my pastrami that way.
  • Wood chips for smoking the pastrami in a BBQ grill -- about 4 cups.

Now time to smoke it. You mainly need an outdoor grill with a cover. I have a 2-burner gas grill. The object is to smoke the meat with indirect heat. That is, place the meat as far away from the flame as possible. The meat is already cooked, so you just want to smoke it at this stage. If you have a simple outdoor charcoal bbq grill then build a fire way off to one side.

The flame is for a pan of wood chips. You could even loosely wrap a large handful of chips in aluminum foil and place over hot coals or the gas flame.

Depending on how hot the flame is, the wood chips should start smoking in 5 to 10 minutes. When the smoke starts, place the boiled brisket as far away from the flame as possible and cover the grill tightly. Check every 10 minutes or so and replace the wood chips with fresh ones as they cook away if needed. I smoked my pastrami for an hour. Even just a half hour of smoking will still give you a great flavor and a crunchy crusted pastrami.

In the hour of smoking, I had to replace the blackened wood chips a couple of times. The meat will still heat up and brown, even away from the heat. If you are using a coal-burning grill your smoking time may be shorter, as they often burn hotter than a more controllable gas grill (about half an hour of smoking?) The length of time it takes for the wood chips to stop smoking is all the time you really need.

After the pastrami is smoked, place it on a cutting board, slice across the grain, and make a big fat pastrami sandwich - your way!

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