Most pastrami comes from beef brisket, although turkey is another option. Pastrami is a salt-cured meat that is then smoked to improve its flavor.
When preparing pastrami, all but the last 1/4 inch of fat is removed from the meat. The meat is then soaked in a brine solution for up to three weeks. The salt in the solution prevents growth of bacteria. Once brined, a seasoning dry rub, usually black pepper and coriander, is pressed into the fat layer. The meat is placed on a smoker over very low heat for several hours. Most consumers prefer to eat pastrami after it is chilled.