Sunday, January 12, 2014

Non -Conformist Reuben Sandwich

During our Carnivore Kind'a Christmas, we dealt with lots and lots of meat.  Shot some squirrels, roast a goose, made venison sausage, smoked half of a beef brisket and started a brine on the other half of the brisket to make homemade Pastrami.

I just looked up a Pastrami brine online, trimmed most of the fat off it and soaked it in the brine for six (I think) days in the fridge.  Took it out of the brine, rinsed it off and rubbed it with a now-forgotten dry rub consisting of salt, pepper, garlic powder, crushed coriander, mustard seeds, dry mustard and brown sugar (I think).  Paul put it in the smoker and several hours later, we had our first pastrami!

We didn't have the patience to wait until it cooled off - Paul sliced right into it and we chomped down.  After sampling our efforts, it was wrapped up and put in the fridge to cool.  Eventually we hauled out the super-cool meat slicer my Dad gave me last year for a Christmas gift (or was it the year before??) and sliced it up:

Hot out'a the smoker!
Cooled & sliced....and pilfered by a hungry 4 year old.
I ran out to the grocery store to get some rye bread, swiss cheese & Thousand Island dressing.  Found some canned sauerkraut in the pantry, then set about to making a Reuben Sandwich. Well, I started out making a Reuben Sandwich and then Paul pointed out to me that a Reuben is made with corned beef, not pastrami, and he refused to let me put the Thousand Island dressing on his sandwich.  Then I decided to fry up some onions in bacon grease and then fry the sauerkraut up with it instead of just plopping the plain kraut on the sandwich.  So it wasn't really a traditional Reuben Sandwich.

But then again, we're not your traditional kind'a folk, now are we?

We're continuing our quest to make & process as much of our own foodstuffs at home, and being able to make lunch meats is a very nice addition to the larder.  Sometimes I crave soup and sandwiches for lunch or supper (heck, even breakfast) and sandwiches are a quick and easy meal to make for Paul's lunch.  The meat slicer has made all of this infinitely easier, although one could simply thinly slice the slabs of meats, it would just take a little more time.  We've also been able to buy larger chunks of meat from the store and slice it up at home vs. buying lunch meat from the deli and it saves quite a bit of money.  Of course, we don't eat the entire five pound mound of freshly-sliced meat.  I package it in sandwich sized zippy bags, squeeze as much of the air out of it, and pop them in the freezer.  The smaller sizes ensure a quicker defrost time as well as ensuring that we eat all of it before it goes bad.

I doubt that we'll tire of the pastrami though.  If anything, I think we'll try and find someone with a butcher steer and see if we can get another brisket from it.


  1. A Reuben is one of my very favorite sandwiches (and I am a sandwich freak . . . give me a good sandwich over a dessert anyday). Yours may not have been kosher (!) but it sure did look good. You and Paul have a good thing going there being able to make your own lunch meat. None of us want to eat what they sell for lunch meat in the store anymore, that's for sure.

  2. Pastrami is a Reuben variant sometimes called a Rachel which can also be done with Turkey and coleslaw subbed in. In fact there are many different Reuben Variants out there to satisfy everyone's tastes. Reuben's are food of the gods (Little g).

    You can call yours the Krazo-Reuben Variant.

  3. We love Reuben sandwiches and very seldom can find sliced corned-beef so I use pastrami. I don't like thousand island and use brown mustard, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut...yum, I want a Reuben sandwich and poutine I read about earlier!

  4. This makes me want to try making our own deli meats. Hmmmmmmm, the possibilities!

  5. Hubby loves Reuben sandwiches. That looks so good.

  6. I got a slicer four Christmas and have been wondering what to do with it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. I can get almost weepy thinking about a Reuben sandwich. I used to work near a Jewish deli in Cleveland that made the most amazing sandwich with pastrami - good, fresh, chewy rye bread (that's the part that makes me weepy), with a huge stack of pastrami topped with their homemade coleslaw. Delish!!!!

  8. That sandwich looks absolutely amazing!! :)
    I hate buying processed lunchmeat and would love to be able to make it like you did. I have tried thinly slicing turkey and ham and think a slicer would definitely be the way to go.