Turkey Pastrami


Chris Allingham

Staff member
Originally posted by Ken Nelson 1/30/2003

Here’s a turkey pastrami recipe I’ve come up with. It should work with lean cuts of beef, as well, with little modification.

Turkey Pastrami

6 cups water
3/4 cup kosher salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 T dried thyme
2 T crushed peppercorns
4 crumbled bay leaves
1 tsp whole cloves
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 to 5 pound skinless, boneless turkey breast

1/2 cup coarse ground pepper
1 tsp chili powder - optional
Worcestershire sauce - optional

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan then add salt and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then remove from heat. Add next 6 ingredients, cover and let it steep for 1 hour or until near room temperature. Put turkey in a large airtight storage bag and pour the cooled brine over. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 1 week, turning the turkey at least once every day.

On the seventh day, remove the turkey from the brine and allow it to drain. While your smoker is heating up, make a paste of the ground pepper, chili powder and Wor sauce. (I like the flavor the chili and Wor brings. If it doesn’t appeal to you, omit them and use just the pepper.) Firmly press into the meat. Smoke at 150 – 200 for 2-3 hours.

Put turkey in a stockpot and cover with clear water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook slowly for 90 minutes.

Since a turkey breast isn’t a uniform thickness, I recommend the simmering step to avoid overcooking the thinner parts before the thickest parts are done.

Remove the turkey, drain, and allow it to cool completely before cutting into thin slices.

would you reccomend a lighter fruit wood for this, or would go with something a little more intense?

I like apple for poultry, but this being pastrami it may benefit something stonger.