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Pastrami-Style Turkey Breast

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    Pastrami-Style Turkey Breast

    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.
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    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 Click image for larger version

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ID:	79305 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.

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    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.

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    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.
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    Last edited by Doc Hazard; April 24, 2015, 10:57 AM.

    That looks like it'd make great sandwiches. Thanks for sharing.


      Looks great, you didn't overcook the turkey, Turkey dries out quickly when over cooked. I want some sangers now.


        Chef Ryan and I have done this. It's very good. We also did buck breast pastrami! Even better!


        Yes this looks great, I love peppery anything so this sounds great



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