Whitetail Hunting photo

by David Draper

I was talking with Whitetails 365 columnist Dave Hurteau the other day, and we got on the subject of cured venison. Dave is a big pastrami fan and he wondered if you couldn’t make a venison version. I’ve done plenty of corned venison and corned goose breasts, which is just a side step from pastrami. Instead of brining the meat, I opted for a dry cure, followed by a coriander-black pepper rub and a few hours of smoke. While maybe not Katz’s Deli quality, the resulting venison pastrami was delicious.


You can use about any cut of venison you’d like for this recipe, but I went with an eye of round because it was thinner and would require less curing time. Any roast cut from the round or even a blade steak from the front shoulder would do.

Venison Pastrami

– ¼ cup Tender Quick
– 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
– 1 Tbsp. black pepper
– 1 Tbsp. onion powder
– 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
– 1 tsp. paprika
– 1 tsp. allspice

– 3 Tbsp. black pepper
– 1 tsp. ground coriander
– 1 tsp. garlic powder

1. Mix cure ingredients and coat venison roast thoroughly. You really want to pack on the cure, leaving no surface uncovered. Place roast in gallon-size plastic bag and stick in the refrigerator.
2. Turn the roast once or twice a day. After a day or two, liquid will start to appear in the bottom of the bag. This is normal. Total curing time depends on the thickness of your roast, but consider five days the minimum.
3. At the end of the curing period, remove the roast from the bag and rinse thoroughly. Soak the roast in a bowl of cold water for a few hours or overnight. Remove roast from soaking water, rinse, and dry thoroughly.
4. Coat the roast with the rub and place in pre-heated smoker. Smoke to 150 degrees.
5. Place the roast on a sheet of tinfoil, splash with a little beef stock and seal foil tightly. Let this steam for about 30 minutes. Remove from tinfoil, slice and enjoy.