Proper Meats + Provisions
Proper Meats + Provisions / ©Teresa Bitler
May/June 2016

Proper Meats + Provisions Pastrami

Recreate the deli’s most celebrated sandwich

BYTeresa Bitler
The warm pastrami sandwich with grilled onions and Swiss cheese is by far the most popular item on the menu at Proper Meats + Provisions in Flagstaff.
Brine ingredients:
300 grams (approx. 1¼ cups) kosher salt
400 grams (approx. 1⅔ cups) light brown sugar            
½ cup molasses
12.5 grams (approx. ½ ounce) juniper berry
25 grams (approx. ¾ ounce) black peppercorn
25 grams (approx. ¾ ounce) pickling spice
30 grams (approx. 1 ounce) Insta Cure #1 (curing salt)
5 liters (approx. 1⅓ gallons) hot water
Pastrami ingredients:
1 whole brisket
⅓ cup whole black peppercorn
⅓ cup whole coriander
Sandwich ingredients:
2 slices thick-cut rye bread
Butter for buttering the bread
2 slices Swiss cheese
3 dill pickle slices (Proper Meats uses pickles from the Phoenix-based Mrs. Klein’s Pickle Co.)
2 ounces (approx. ¼ cup) sautéed onions
Carolina-style mustard sauce
Sliced pastrami
Combine brine ingredients in the hot water and stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Cool the mixture in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, prep the brisket by cutting it in half between the point and flat ends and trimming the halves of excess fat. (Proper Meats leaves about ¼ inch of fat on the brisket.) Add the halves to the brine and refrigerate for six days, rotating the meat once a day.
On the seventh day, remove the halves from the brine, rinse in cold water, and pat dry with a towel. Coarsely grind the whole black peppercorns and whole coriander, and liberally coat the fat side of the brisket with the spices. Smoke the brisket at 210 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees.
To assemble the sandwich, butter the rye bread and grill it in a skillet until toasted. Add the mustard sauce, Swiss cheese, pickles, and sautéed onions. Top with pastrami and serve.
TERESA BITLER is the author of Backroads & Byways of Indian Country.
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