I have had an incredibly difficult time finding the point cut of a brisket. The reason for my quest is that is the piece I prefer in pastrami. While pondering alternatives I considered beef cheeks and short ribs and moved on because I enjoy them as they are, not cured and treated in the style of pastrami. Then I remembered a reference in the book Essence, where he braised an entire flat iron steak. The visual of the dish prompted me to look into perhaps curing and braising the flat iron as pastrami. Since we did not have any flat iron on hand I dropped Wylie a note and to see if he had tried braising that particular cut. He had not, though he was game, and had some flat iron on hand to give a go at. He shot back an email with his results, which produced a tender product, though for a true braise he preferred short ribs and brisket. I took his results and procured a flat iron. I then set about making some pastrami.
To brine the meat I borrowed the ratios from Charcuterie and incorporated some powdered smoke so I could eliminate the actual smoking time. Once the meat was brined, I seasoned it with smoked, cracked peppercorns and then cooked it sous vide for 24 hours at 67 C. Today the cooking was done. The results are better than I imagined with an intense meaty flavor and the troublesome rubber band-like sinew, which is often removed by chefs, had been converted into a rich decadent gelatin.
Where do we go from here? The end goal is pastrami bolognese, though the tasty and toothsome results of slow cooked flat iron are starting to trigger a number of other ideas and open a few other doors. What else exists in one form that could actually yield incredible results if treated with another approach?