IMO, the only difference between "smoked corned beef" and pastrami is the steaming step at the end for pastrami. (And maybe the spice rub to start.) Based on my experience, without the steaming the "smoked corned beef" will be tough and a bit too internally salty or seasoned, if you use a commercial corned beef.

Of course, it all depends on how and for how long you smoke the corned beef. Since I've always been aiming for pastrami I only smoke it (225 degrees) until IT of around 165. Then (same or next day) steam it to 200 - 210 and serve hot, or refrigerate, slice thin, and serve cold on sandwiches.

If you continued the smoke on corned beef, say, until IT of 200 - 205 like brisket, I don't know what you'd end up with flavor or texture wise, but for myself, I'm not tempted to try it. If you do, please report back. Good luck!

This past summer I bought a brisket flat, cured it myself using a dry cure and smoked it just like I would any other brisket.  Smoked at 225 deg. until I hit ~175 deg. internal temp, wrapped it in butcher paper and continued cooking at 225 deg. until I hit ~195 deg. internal temp.  Wrapped it in some blankets in a cooler and let it nap for a few hours.  Had a phenomenal end result.  It was good on its own as a "smoked corned beef" like you are saying, but it was also awesome on some rye bread drowned in kraut.

Not having tried the "smoked corned beef" route, I can only guess, but I suspect the difference with pastrami is texture imparted by the pastrami lower IT cooking and the steaming step. Pastrami needs to hold up to very thin slicing for its intended use, so maybe that's the difference.

Thanks everybody. I didn't know the steps to make a pastrami and I thank you all for that. The local bar owner is footing the bill for me to smoke a commercial corned beef after he ate a 'smoked corned beef' sandwich somewhere in Arizona. I'm gonna treat it like a brisket and see where it leads.

I have smoked the commercially cured ones, but soak them in water for 24hrs (changing the water occasionally) to reduce the extreme saltiness of most of them. Comes out pretty tasty! Makes a good sammich, and really good corned beef hash.

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