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Turkey Pastrami

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    Turkey Pastrami

    My brother can't eat beef and he loves pastrami. Does anybody have any thoughts on adapting Meathead's recipe to turkey?

    I have had this idea many times before but haven't gotten around to trying it out. Would love to hear from your experience, my main issue would be about safety with poultry vs beef, but as long as you cook to an IT of at least 165, theoretically you should be good.

    I wonder if a turkey breast would last as long as a brisket or piece of plate in the week long brine?


      I think it would be a great idea to try. I was just poking around google, and found a recipe for Turkey Pastrami, where you brine (the breast) for 48 hours, and smoke low and slow until it hits 165, then let it rest. Interestingly they don't have you soak to pull out salt after the brine. maybe it's a weak brine (1L of H2O with 1/2 cup of kosher and other flavors), I don't do much wet brining so I can't judge, but looking at MH's brine it doesn't seem like a weak one.


        So, i did this last week using this basic recipe - http://frombellytobacon.com/2010/10/...rkey-pastrami/ but with the pickling spices in Meathead's regular pastrami recipe. I let a 2lb boneless breast brine for a bit over 2-1/2 days (put it in Friday night, pulled it Monday am). I did desalinate it overnight and smoked it for 2 hours to 160 using pecan chunks. Tastes awesome and that's about the right amount of smoke.


          Looks good. I'll have to try it. Thanks.


            I've been curing a (half) boneless, skinless turkey breast (about 1-1/2 lbs) for about 10 days, just like bacon. It's now resting with a light coating of modified pastrami rub (a bit more sugar). I hope to smoke it today, so we'll see. I'm not sure what to call it: it's not bacon because it's not pork; it's not pastrami because it's not beef; "cured and smoked turkey product"?


            • Huskee
              Huskee commented
              Editing a comment
              Much belated, but how'd this turn out Doc?

            • Doc Hazard
              Doc Hazard commented
              Editing a comment
              I created everything for a post, but I guess I never put it up. I'll put it down below now. Judging from what I wrote then, I'm surprised I haven't done it again. Got stuck on beef, I guess.

            Originally posted by rickgregory View Post
            So, i did this last week using this basic recipe - http://frombellytobacon.com/2010/10/...rkey-pastrami/ but with the pickling spices in Meathead's regular pastrami recipe. I let a 2lb boneless breast brine for a bit over 2-1/2 days (put it in Friday night, pulled it Monday am). I did desalinate it overnight and smoked it for 2 hours to 160 using pecan chunks. Tastes awesome and that's about the right amount of smoke.
            I found this thread as I am looking to try my hand at making turkey pastrami. The link referenced does not seem to be valid any more. Can you tell me if the process was similar to Meathead's beef pastrami recipe?


              i KNOW turkey pastrami has been done and posted on here and i am pretty darn sure Ernest has done duck pastrami


                According to Meathead, as well as what I've read on the history of Jewish Deli's in general, pastrami probably originated in Romania (and maybe Hungary) and was used for curing all sorts of meats, not just brisket. Including duck and goose. The one drawback to turkey would be how lean it is. Other than that, I cannot see why you couldn't make some great tasting turkey pastrami.


                  these might help:




                    This article is well worth the read if you are a pastrami fan: http://www.saveur.com/article/Travel...s-of-the-Deli/


                      The folks on this site never cease to amaze me. Thank you both for the quick reply and the links to related threads! I have to say I am intrigued by both goose and duck pastrami. I will check my local meat purveyors to see what is available. When I get down to business I will create a thread and post what I did and how it turns out.


                      • tbob4
                        tbob4 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I don't know if anyone has formally welcomed you to the Pit. Welcome from Northern CA.

                      Follow up on my 3-year old trial of turkey "pastrami". Here's what I wrote in 2014:

                      I wasn't sure what to call this: a boneless, skinless turkey breast, cured like bacon, and treated like pastrami, but "bacon-style" didn't sound right, nor did "cured, smoked, turkey product."

                      I started with a whole, fresh turkey breast and boned one half of it (using the bones and scraps for a stock). The boned breast weighed 1 lb 10 oz. I cured it with a variation of my usual bacon cure, scaled to 2 lbs:

                      2.4 tsp table salt
                      1 tsp curing salt #1
                      2 tsp grains of paradise (similar to pepper)
                      4 tsp corned beef spices (supposedly different than pickling spices)
                      60 gm brown sugar (~4.5 Tbs, 50% more)
                      2 Tbs white sugar
                      1 tsp garlic powder
                      1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (instead of hot sauce)
                      1/2 C water

                      all in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, just like I do side or back bacon. After 12 days I rinsed and dried it, then oiled it, and applied MH's pastrami rub, but increased the sugar by 50%. I cut his recipe (for 4 lbs of meat) in half, and then only used about half of that, using just a light coating. I was concerned about too strong a pepper flavor on mild turkey.

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	Trky-rub.JPG Views:	1 Size:	617.6 KB ID:	283222
                      After a couple of days in the refrigerator (like pastrami), I smoked it in my PBC, on the Great-Grate so I could add wood easily. I went easy on the cherry wood chips, too, about 2 oz initially, and again after 30 minutes.

                      I used half a basket of Kingsford and put on the meat when the PBC temperature had come down to 304 deg; it drifted lower and stayed between 265 and 290 deg during the 80 minute cook. I took the meat off when it reached 160 deg internal temperature.

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	Half-full Bskt.JPG Views:	1 Size:	2.16 MB ID:	283223

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	Trky in PBC.JPG Views:	1 Size:	439.0 KB ID:	283224

                      I tried a piece right away, of course, and it was very good, but I was concerned about the strong pepper flavor, although it was tempered by the sweetness. Of course the test piece had more rub surface area than regular slices. After refrigerating it, I sliced it by machine, most of it to about 0.14" (3.5 mm), like thick bacon, but some to about half that, like a thin lunch meat. I haven't tried the thin slices yet, but I'm thinking turkey BLT or club sandwich.

                      Click image for larger version  Name:	Sliced Trky.JPG Views:	1 Size:	438.8 KB ID:	283225

                      Cold, the slices were firm but easy to bite through or pull apart. It was very tasty, but still a pepper overtone. Briefly heated in a frying pan to caramelize the sugar, it was great and the pepper was not too strong, with a nice hint of sweetness. Slices heated briefly in the microwave were also very good with balanced flavors. None of the slices tasted salty at all, but I wasn't tempted to add salt, either.

                      I'll definitely do this again, perhaps cutting back a bit on the pepper. Also interesting would be a rub with a good component of Simon & Garfunkel spice mix.

                      2017. But, for some reason, I haven't tried it again. In retrospect, it didn't have quite the "cured" flavor that one might expect, and it was definitely different, and better, from the "turkey pastrami" from the deli. I guess I got fixated on beef. I'm currently curing boneless beef short ribs. Maybe I should try the turkey again.


                      • tbob4
                        tbob4 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Awesome write up and photos

                      This evening I ordered some Moulard Margret Duck breast. Moulard duck is known for its rich flavor and dark red meat. The plan is to make duck pastrami next weekend. More to come....


                      • EdF
                        EdF commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Do keep us posted. I've heard of the breed, but have never tried it.

                      • Thunder77
                        Thunder77 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Woohoo! Love duck and goose pastrami.

                      I just realized i never updated this thread with my results. I followed Meathead's recipe and used the calculator to adjust the brine recipe and time. The end result was fantastic!


                      • EdF
                        EdF commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Looks like it came out great! Is the flavor much different than corned beef pastrami?


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