Venison Pastrami

2014-06-30 21.07.26-2I’ve had some excellent success with venison charcuterie experiments in the past, but none have turned out quite as well as venison pastrami, which is something that I have been intending to do for over a year. The recipe itself is rather simple and is an adaptation of Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn’s book Charcuterie.

Pastrami is basically corned beef (in this case, venison) with a smoking stage. A peppercorn and coriander crust provide the distinct flavor profile. The pastrami is brined, smoked, cooled and then a steamed (oven, roasting pan full of water and a wire rack). Beef pastrami is generally cut from the fatty part of the shoulder. For the venison recipe, I used a cut of bottom round from the hindquarter. To get around the lack of fat, I applied a thin coat of pork lard.


1 gallon water
1.5 cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1.5 ounces (8 tsp) pink salt (Cure #1)
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp allspice berries
1 tsp juniper berries
1/2 tsp ground mace
2-4 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 packed cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
5 garlic cloves, minced

2014-06-29 10.42.55Bring the brine to a boil  and refrigerate until chilled. Place the venison in the brine for 3 days. Make sure the meat is fully submerged (a plate or bowl can be used to sink the meat if necessary).

Remove the meat from the brine, rinse well and pat dry

Using a dry skillet, Toast 1 tbsp each of black peppercorns and Coriander seed until brown. Grind the seeds in a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.

2014-06-29 12.02.47-2Using no more than half of the ingredients, apply the peppercorn and coriander to the meat, then, using your finger, apply a thin coat of pork lard (or bacon fat) to the meat. Apply the remaining peppercorn and coriander to the exterior of the lard.

Smoke the venison at 180F degrees until it reaches an internal temperature of 150F, then remove. This will take several hours. A hotter temp will work (no more than 225F), but you want to impart as much smoke flavor as possible, so a lower temp is advised.

2014-06-30 16.41.00For serving, preheat the oven to 275F, fill a roasting pan full of water and place the meat on a wire rack over the water for 2.5 to 3 hours.

2014-06-30 21.04.10Slice the meat thinly across the grain.   -don’t forget the Sauerkraut!

See also:

Corned Venison & Hash 

Blood Sausage

Venison Bresaola 

Venison Salami 

About Go Carnivore

Lifestyle of Meath Enthusiasts
This entry was posted in Barbeque, Books, Butchering, Charcuterie, Cooking, Deer, Meat 101, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Venison Pastrami

  1. Neal Zeller says:

    Man, that looks amazing. I gotta try this prep. Ruhlman’s book is full of great ideas.

  2. Pingback: Venison Barbecue 2014 |

  3. Curt says:

    Why do you call for so much cure (the pink stuff). My cure calls for 1oz for 25lbs of meat, which comes out to 6 tsp for 25lbs. I’m guessing your round roast is about 2lbs. Unless I’m wrong you should only be using 1/2oz of the cure.

    I’m making my brine tonight with a few small changes, and very excited to try out this recipe.

    Thanks in advance,


  4. Go Carnivore says:

    Hey Curt,

    Are you sure that your measurements aren’t based on direct application to the meat where the measurements listed here are based on a brine solution?

  5. Matt says:

    Just did something similar myself, but I used steaks (5 pounds steaks with the exact Ruhlman beef pastrami brine) so I only brined for 48 hours. After cold-smoking for a few hours I surrounded the steaks with a bacon weave for my fat and hot-smoked to 150 internal.

  6. Pingback: Big Meat Down |

  7. Pingback: Venison Birria |

  8. Teeka says:

    Do you have to use the pink salt cure or can you cut it out?

    • Go Carnivore says:


      You can indeed leave the curing salt out. You won’t get the signature look and color of pastrami, but it should not effect the taste much, just be sure to compensate for the lack of curing salt since an under salted pastrami will be equally underwhelming. The main reason for the curing salt is to help preserve the meat making it suitable for travel and prolonged lack of refrigeration.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s