Pastrami ought to be made with a cut of beef that is covered by a fair amount of external fat. One can trim off the excess fat before the beef is sliced. The beef selected to make pastrami should be able to withstand long cooking; beef loin or sirloin does not make the best pastrami. On the other hand, brisket, chuck roasts and round steak do make good pastramis.
5 lb piece of beef brisket or top round roast or bottom round roast, with fat attached
1 c hardwood (apple, hickory, cherry, but not mesquite) chips
Combine all the curing marinade ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes, making sure the salts and sugar are completely dissolved. Take off heat and let cool to room temperature.
Combine the Pastrami Rub 1 ingredients in a bowl and stir together to completely mix to make a rub.
Combine the Pastrami Rub 2 ingredients in a second bowl and stir together to completely mix to make a rub.
Rub Pastrami Rub 1 into all surfaces of the beef, pressing the spices into the surface of the meat. Set the meat into a large enough waterproof plastic bag or a nonreactive deep baking dish. Pour the curing marinade over the meat, covering the meat, and seal the baggie or dish. Set the curing meat in the dish or baggie in a refrigerator and let cure for 3 days. Turn the meat over daily.
Take the meat out of the curing marinade and rinse off the cure. Pat the meat dry and set the meat onto a lipped baking sheet. Coat all surfaces of the meat heavily with Pastrami Rub 2, pressing the spices into the surfaces of the meat. The meat surface should be completely coated with spice rub.
Set up the smoker to cook the meat indirectly, using the hardwood chips to smoke the meat. Smoke the meat for 1 hour and then slow cook the meat at a steady temperature between 200o F. and 250o F. for as long as it takes for the meat to reach an internal temperature of 190o F.
Remove the meat from the smoker and, when it is cool enough to handle, trim off as much external fat as you desire. At this point, you can wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it.
When you are ready to use the meat, prepare a steamer. Cut off the desired amount of pastrami across the grain in one chunk that you are going to use and set the chunk of pastrami in the steamer. Steam the pastrami until it is soft and registers an internal temperature of at least 180o F. Cut the pastrami across the grain in as thin slices as possible without the meat falling apart.