Pastrami Reuben

Melody Bishop and Dennis Kelly from Lark on the Park help Good Day celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a recipe for a pastrami Reuben on pumpernickel with Russian dressing and pickled red cabbage.

Pastrami Reuben

For a St Patrick's Day twist, we used Pastrami in place of corned beef for our Reuben. You can purchase fully cooked pastrami at most stores, a nice deli or butcher shop. I have also included a recipe for making your own pastrami for those who love smoking at home. You need to purchase a raw, brined corned beef for this method. Just note it does take a few days of preparation.

We like to use pumpernickel or rye bread for this sandwich.  The Russian Dressing and Pickled Red Cabbage can be made one day in advance.

4 lbs pastrami, fully cooked (or raw corned beef - see recipe below)
4 cups Russian Dressing (recipe below)
2 cups Pickled Red Cabbage (recipe below)
20 slices pumpernickel bread
Place sliced pastrami in a pan with a little water or stock. Place on stove top over medium-high heat
and cook just until warmed through, about 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook or meat will become tough.

Remove from pan and place on pumpernickel with a big dollop of Russian dressing and top with the pickled red cabbage.

Pickled Red Cabbage

1 medium head red cabbage appx 2C
3/4 C red wine vinegar
2 t sugar
1 T kosher salt
1 t ground black pepper
1 C extra virgin olive oil

Slice cabbage thinly. Toss with red wine vinegar, salt, sugar and black pepper. Let sit at room temp for 20 minutes. Toss with olive oil and taste for seasoning. Adjust acid if needed.

Russian Dressing

3 cups mayonnaise (recipe below)
3 tablespoons diced shallots
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons cornichons, finely diced
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon

Gently whisk all of the ingredients into the mayonnaise.


2 egg yolks
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups grape seed or canola oil
juice of 1/2 lemon

Whisk egg yolks, T cold water and lemon juice until frothy. Very slowly drizzle in oil while continuously whisking vigorously until thickened into mayonnaise consistency and all oil is used, thinning with a little water as needed. Add salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon.

Home Smoked Pastrami

4lbs raw, brined corned beef (brisket cut is preferred)
1/4 cup fresh & coarsely ground black peppercorn
1/8 cup toasted and ground coriander seed

DAY 1: Place corned beef in large container or pot covered with cold water and cover with lid or plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight (this will remove excess salt from the brining process).

DAY 2: Mix the spices. Remove meat from the water and dry. Apply the rub liberally and press it into the meat to help it adhere. Place in the refrigerate and marinate overnight unwrapped (this helps with the smoking process to dry out the surface.) 

Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees. I like to use cherry, pecan or walnut. Hickory and Mesquite will add a much smokier, stronger flavor if you prefer but I feel like it can mask the meat flavor. Place in smoker at contestant temperature until the meat reaches about 150 degrees when taking the temperature with a meat thermometer in the center of the piece, about 2 hours. Remove and cool and then place in refrigerate overnight.

DAY 3: Remove from refrigerator and let come to room temperature while setting up a steamer.** Create a steamer with a steamer basket or rack in baking dish. Place water in the bottom of the pan to almost reach the basket. Place meat in basket and cover with lid or foil. Place over high heat to just come to a boil. About 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and steam until meat reaches 203 degrees with a meat thermometer.