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Smoked Deer Pastrami

This is a tasty way to use up those oddball smaller roasts from your deer that you're not quite sure what to do with.
Prep Time6 d
Cook Time5 hrs
Keyword: best pastrami, deer pastrami, Field to fork, Field to table,, pastrami recipe, smoker recipe
Servings: 12 people



  • 4 pound deer roast trimmed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Curing Salt #1
  • 2 teaspoons whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper


  • Boil the water in a large pot. Add the brown sugar, kosher salt, curing salt, mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander, allspice, crushed chili, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves. Boil and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat source. Add the ice to the brine mix, and stir it until the ice is melted.
    Place the deer roast into a bowl that is deeper than the roast is tall. Pour the cooled brine and spices over the roast, ensuring that the roast is covered. Ad the lid and place the covered bowl into the refrigerator for six days. Turn, or flip, the deer roast once a day.
    After six days, prepare and pre-heat the smoker. Use your favorite smoking wood (I use applewood) to heat the smoker to 200°F.
    Remove the deer roast from the brine, pat it dry, then use the pepper to coat the outside of the roast. Place the roast directly on the smoking rack (add a drip pan below, if needed), with the thicker end of the roast pointed closer to the heat source. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the thick portion of the roast. Close the lid of the smoker and smoke on at 200°F  for five hours, or until the roast's temperature reaches 160°F.
    After the roast reaches 160°F, remove the thermometer. Next, use tongs to lift the roast and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Re-insert the thermometer into the roast. Continue to smoke the roast at 200°F until the center reaches a temperature of 180°F.
    Remove the roast from the smoker, keep in wrapped in the foil, and let it rest at least 30 minutes.
    Use a meat slicer or sharp knife to cut the roast, against the grain, into thin slices.
    Deer pastrami can be served in many ways. I like to roll the slices and add them to a charcuterie board. You can also cut the slices to serve with sour kraut and mustard on your favorite crackers. An old favorite is to use the pastrami for sandwiches. I also like to add the tasty slices to my quesadillas.