Chef's Recipes

Thomas Keller: Wagyu brisket “pastrami” sandwich with coleslaw

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for wagyu brisket “pastrami” sandwich with coleslaw by Thomas Keller from The French Laundry and Per Se.

By Thomas Keller
  • Serves 8
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 4 hrs 10 mins cooking plus curing, chilling, marinating
Wagyu brisket “pastrami” with coleslaw
Wagyu brisket “pastrami” with coleslaw

Brisket is all about the combination of meat and fat, and this is a good way to introduce people to wagyu. You’ll need to begin this recipe 6 days ahead.


  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tellicherry peppercorns (see note)
  • ½ tsp allspice seeds
  • 4½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 150 gm fine sea salt
  • 65 gm brown sugar
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) white wine vinegar
  • 4½ tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp each cayenne pepper and ground ginger
  • 1.5 kg wagyu beef brisket, trimmed (see note)
  • 2 tsp dark molasses
  • 16 caraway rye bread slices, to serve
  • 200 gm white cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • ½ Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 125 ml (½ cup) white wine vinegar
  • 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil


  • 1
    Crush garlic, 1 tbsp peppercorns, allspice and ½ tsp coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle until a coarse paste forms, transfer to a large saucepan with salt, sugar, vinegar, ½ tsp yellow mustard seeds, cayenne pepper, ground ginger and 2½ litres water. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, cool completely.
  • 2
    Place brisket in a large non-reactive container, pour over liquid, cover and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days to cure.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 130-140C. Remove brisket from liquid (discard liquid) and place in a large casserole. Cover completely with water, bring to the boil over medium heat, cover with baking paper and lid, cook in oven until tender (3-4 hours). Cool brisket in liquid, refrigerate until completely chilled (3-4 hours).
  • 4
    Drain brisket (discard liquid), pat dry with absorbent paper, brush with molasses. Coarsely grind remaining peppercorns, coriander seeds and yellow mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle, then press onto all sides of brisket and refrigerate, covered, until required. Pastrami will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 week.
  • 5
    For coleslaw, place cabbage, carrot and onion in separate non-reactive bowls. Bring vinegar, sugar and 120ml water to the boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Divide among bowls, refrigerate until chilled (15-20 minutes). Drain well (discard liquid), combine in a bowl with oil, season to taste, set aside.
  • 6
    To serve, spread half the bread slices with mustard, layer with thinly sliced pastrami and coleslaw, season to taste, top with remaining bread slices and serve immediately.


Note Tellicherry peppercorns are high-quality whole black peppercorns. You can substitute another type. Wagyu brisket is available from specialist butchers. You will need to order ahead. You can substitute regular brisket.
Drink Suggestion: A hoppy, Pilsner-style lager. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Thomas Keller