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.

Brine:

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 

3 responses to “Venison Pastrami

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

  2. Pingback: Venison Barbecue 2014 |

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