In the kitchen with Phlip – Pastramă, chicken breast style


            Call it dumb luck, call it a blessing in disguise, call it what you will call it.
My initial plans were to have done this with a duck breast, but after trips to four different grocery stores in the more affluent parts of town and three DIFFERENT health food stores; I had no duck breast in my possession (Whole Foods, Earthfare, Fresh Market... you have failed me).  My refusal to drive to BFE to the farmer’s market on the chance of STILL returning empty-handed, I trashed the idea and changed gears.

            Please forgive me for the low number of images in this one, as I didn’t think about blogging it until it was already actively cooking (two days after the initial start).
Start with a package of boneless/skinless chicken breasts, my package had four of them in it.  In a container large enough for all of them, put a half-cup of salt, a third-cup of brown sugar and various seasonings of your choosing.  I chose garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder, ground ginger, cayenne pepper, sage, nutmeg and dill.  Add enough HOT water to dissolve all of these and mix it all very well.  Once all your seasonings are mixed and dissolved, place the chicken breasts in the container, top off with enough hot water to cover the breasts then seal the container and refrigerate for 48 hours.

            Sometime over the course of that two days, make a dry rub consisting of those same seasonings – but this time enough to fully coat all of the pieces, I mixed a little under one pint – and at the end of the 48 hours, drain all of the brining mixture off of the chicken breasts, shaking fully dry.  Now rub your spice mixture liberally into and on EVERY corner of your chicken breasts, then place back into the fridge (open) for another hour.  Preheat your oven (or prepare to smoke) to 250° and prepare to spend at least 2.5-3 hours cooking, you’re looking for a 160° internal temperature before removing from heat. 




 Once removed from the heat, you need to let it FULLY cool – which will of course include a small amount of carry over cooking – and then place the cooked/cooled breasts into plastic wrap or sealed bags with all possible air removed.




Refrigerate for SEVEN days, so it is best to not be home when you do this because a watched pot never boils.  This will allow time for that rub to cure down into the meat, further seasoning it and giving it a different-than-expected consistency, like a pastrami might, but because this is not a red meat it will not be EXACTLY the same

At the end of seven days, slice as thinly as your knife ability will allow


Yes, you will get some of the rub onto your cutting board/counter in the process.

I was actually cooking breakfast while I sliced this, so it was 5 hours later when I tasted it.  When I did, I IMMEDIATELY called my mother who was as impressed with how it came out as I happened to be.
Needless to say, I was asked to leave a few slices with her before returning home to pack some in for my own lunch tomorrow.  This is one that is going into my normal rotation, I will try it with different seasonings for subsequent attempts.
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