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  1. #1

    Default Venison/Elk Pastrami

    This has been a huge hit in my house, even with non-hunters

    Venison/Elk Pastrami

    4-5lb roasts trimmed of fat and silver skin (I have had good luck with backstraps and football roasts)
    1/2 gallon of water
    1/2 cup salt
    2.5 teaspoons instacure #1
    1/4-1/4 cup sugar/honey/maple syrup (my favorite)
    5 tablespoons pickling spice
    10 cloves of garlic crushed

    Crust ingredients:
    Ground black pepper
    Ground coriander (optional)

    Mix the water, salt, sugar, and cure well with a whisk.
    Combine roasts, water mixture, spices, and garlic in large container.
    Refrigerate 7-10 days.
    Remove the roasts from the brine, rinse and pat dry.
    Lightly coat the roasts with mustard and then cover with pepper and corriander to your taste.
    Smoke at 200-225 to an internal temperature of 160-165.
    Slice thin and eat warm, or my favorite is to cool it and slice super thin and eat with spicy mustard on rye bread.

    I do several roasts at a time as they wrap and freeze well.

    Here are pics throughout the process:
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Great Falls, MT


    That looks amazing! Going to have to give that a shot! Thanks!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Chugiak, AK


    That looks really good. What is a 1/4-1/4 cup? Do you mean 1-1/4 cup?

    I've tried to make pastrami a couple times and it always comes out way too salty, even after cutting the salt back. I think it may be because I'm not using enough sugar, and wild meat is so lean. Your recipe has much less salt, and more sugar (if its 1.25cups)

    Thanks for sharing.
    "No Kuiu here"

  4. #4


    Sorry about that. It was meant to be 1/4-1/3 a cup sugar.

    You can cut the salt down to 1/3 cup if you want. The instacure will cover you from a safety standpoint. You can also reduce your brine time; this cuts down on the saltiness. With smaller cuts like a backstrap you should have a full cure in 5 days.

  5. #5


    We just did this a week ago and it's our new favorite too! We did Rubens with sauerkraut, russian dressing, and swiss cheese.
    We've done several corned venison roasts and it truly ruins cheap corned beef, no comparison!Name:  20180218_193639.jpg
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  6. #6


    Wow that looks delicious! Hmmm I shouldn't have sliced up as many roast for jerky.. thanks for sharing your methods, I'll have to give this a try for sure.

  7. #7


    Is the Instacure you mentioned the same as Morton's Tenderquick? Have you tried it with antelope? It sure sounds tasty....I love good corned beef, so I'll try it this coming season.

  8. #8


    “Instacure” is a specific ingredient sometimes called “pink salt” or “Prague powder.” All of which are sodium nitrite. Morton’s Tender Quick is a blend of salt, sugar, and sodium nitrite. So while it is all similar, they are not the same. Morton’s does not advertise their ratio of salt/sugar/nitrite so it is hard to interchange/substitute ingredients. You likely could replace the salt/sugar/nitrite in the recipe above, but I’m not comfortable saying definitively how much. The instacure is easy to find on amazon and allows you to better control the ingredients. I hope this helps. Shoot me a PM if you want more info!

  9. #9


    Awesome doesn't even come close to describing how that looks ! I'll have to try it this fall.

  10. #10


    That pastrami looks fantastic. I have 3 or 4 boneless elk rump roasts in the deep freezer and I think at least one of them will be destined for pastrami. Thank you.
    When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

    Cree Prophecy

  11. #11


    shannerdrake, do you know of a way to eliminate the nitrates and still get the pastrami to turn out? Perhaps with celery seed or any other 'cure' substitute? This looks really good and I want to try it.

  12. #12


    This looks great! I am gonna thaw out a venison back strap and try this out. Always good to find a new recipe to try! Thanks for sharing.

  13. #13


    You can never “eliminate” nitrates/nitrites in a “cured” product. You can leave them out of the recipe, but you will not get the characteristic pink hue if they are omitted and the taste and texture will be a little different.

    One more natural option is to use celery juice or celery juice powder. It is worth knowing that even if you use celery juice or celery juice powder, you are still adding nitrites and nitrates. I have see where folks will actually juice celery (in a juicer) and add it instead of the cure. But since the amount of nitrites/nitrates varies from one stalk of celery to the next, the question of how much always comes into play. The powder helps give a little more control, but again it’s not an exact science.

    I actually read an article where the amounts of nitrates were tested in several packages of bacon. They found that the “organic uncured” bacon had almost twice the nitrates as the cheap stuff. Apparently, the company had received a more nitrate rich shipment of celery juice powder and it threw off their recipe.

    Personally, since I eat cured meats maybe 1-2 times per month, I don’t worry about it. But if you wanted to try the celery juice route, I would get the powder (it is available online) and omit the instacure and replace it with the powder. My guess is you would need a lot more than 2.5 teaspoons.

    I know this is a lot of “in the weeds” stuff so send me a PM if anyone wants to dive deeper.

  14. #14


    Good stuff.
    Had great luck with similar recipe from Charcuterie & Hank Shaw.
    I use a bit less sugar & pink salt,cure for 7 days or so.
    I have not had good luck with making the Pastrami tho here in NM. With no fat on elk & venison it dries out smoking & roasting for me. Going to try some tips from HS on how to bypass this problem.
    I think I like corned elk as much as roast w/wildcherry sauce & all.
    I can only it eat about every other month or my salt intake will go thru the roof.
    Last edited by hank4elk; 03-05-2018 at 01:27 PM.

  15. #15


    I made corned venison with the recipe below about 2 months ago with whitetail. Flavor was excellent but a bit dry (cooked in crock pot). I ended up using most of it in a hash.

    2 cups water
    6 tablespoons sugar-based curing mixture (such as Morton(R) Tender Quick(R))
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    4 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice

    1 tablespoon garlic powder
    6 cups cold water
    5 pounds boneless shoulder venison roast
    Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the curing mixture, brown sugar, pickling spice, and garlic powder; stir until dissolved then remove from the heat. Pour 6 cups of cold water into a 2-gallon container, and stir in the spice mixture. Place the boneless venison into the brine, cover and refrigerate.
    Leave the venison in the refrigerator to brine for 5 days, turning the meat over every day.
    To cook, rinse the meat well, place into a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 4 hours. Remove the venison from the pot, and allow to rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

  16. #16


    Thanks for the clarification. I'll have to dig a little deeper in the weeds to see how much 'natural' nitrate I need.

  17. Default

    Pastrami is one of my go to's also. I love it. When done, pre slice it thin, vacuum seal and freeze. When I have a craving for a reuben, the rye bread (w/caraway seed) makes an awesome sandwich.

  18. #18


    Mouth watering pics! I've never done. Will have to give it a go.
    " There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." - Theodore Roosevelt
    Live to work or work to live... Your choice.

  19. #19


    I was just about to start a thread asking for suggestions for what I should do with the whole elk top round I have in my fridge right now. No need. I'm doing this. Thanks!

  20. #20


    I just finished cubing up a big round roast into stew meat. The Dutch oven is simmering away right now.

    Anyone who makes some Pastrami - please post pics!

  21. #21


    Time for me to make another batch

  22. #22


    The key to make sure your Pastrami is not to salty is to soak it before you give it the rub down and smoke it to pull some of the salt out. Think about it, when you brine it to have "corned" venison/beef you ultimately end up cooking it in water before you eat it and it makes it edible by pulling much of the salt out. So before you go for the rub down and smoking, soak the brined/corned meat in water for a while to pull a bunch of the salt out.

    After I rub and smoke mine I find its really good when reheated with steam. Makes a heck of a sandwich.

  23. #23


    I just had an elk Reuben tonight, so I love pastrami, but IMO pastrami is not making the most of a backstrap. To each his own.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Bixby Oklahoma


    Do you have a preferred wood with which to smoke?

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