Venison Pastrami – Smoked Venison Deliciousness

Venison pastrami hanging out with some old friends: sauerkraut, swiss, 1000 Island dressing, and rye bread.
Venison pastrami hanging out with some old friends: sauerkraut, swiss, 1000 Island dressing, and rye bread.
Venison pastrami hanging out with some old friends: sauerkraut, swiss, 1000 Island dressing, and rye bread.

Venison roasts. Venison steaks. Ground venison. I just want a sandwich already! Now, while I’ve made some damn delicious venison steak sandwiches, I like options. If you are ready to try a new recipe, make some smoked venison pastrami!

I think a lot of hunters are intimidated when they get into to realm of cured meats, but in the end, the process isn’t complicated. It just takes some time. And a little practice. Start with smaller roasts till you learn to get the flavor you like – 2 lbs of lunch meat that came out too salty goes WAY faster than 6 lbs..

Pastrami starts with a brining process, commonly called corning, which I’ve covered here. Once you’ve corned the roast, you have the option to braise/boil it, or smoke it into a pastrami.

If you smoke the brined result directly, it’s too salty for my tastes. To determine if it’s to your preferred salt level, slice off a thin piece and fry it up. If it’s too salty, soak it in water. I find that if you soak it for two hours, changing the water once about halfway through, it’s just about perfect. Again, if in doubt, slice and fry another piece for a taste test.

The next thing to do is to apply a rub. Here’s the rub I use:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons of coriander seed
  • 4 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon of white peppercorns
  • 2 heads of garlic, minced

Process:

Put the peppercorns, coriander and mustard seeds in a spice grinder, and do a coarse grind. Then mix everything thoroughly together in a bowl.

Rub it thoroughly over the roast, getting a nice coating.

Throw the roast in a smoker and smoke it until the internal temperature reaches 160°. If your smoker doesn’t have a food temperature probe built in, I strongly recommend getting a one for it. It saves you from having to open the smoker to check the temperature.

When it’s up to temp, let it cool, then slice up for sandwiches. While it is quite tasty cold, it is AMAZING heated up a little. Throw it in a pan with some swiss cheese on top, just till the cheese get’s melty. OR, use a panini press. It heats the meat/filling up while grilling the bread at the same time.

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