Venison Pastrami

Yield Serves 4
RECIPE Ingredients
  • 1 pack Venison Tri-Tips
  • The Cure
  • Kosher Salt *see recipe note
  • Instacure #1 *see recipe note
  • ½ teaspoon of dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon of celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • Final Rub
  • Gin, Red Wine or water
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon coarsely ground coriander
Recipe notes

We used venison tri tip for this process and the results were amazing. The lean, dense grain of this cut makes it ideal for curing and smoking.

To ensure the right seasoning for your venison tri-tips, it's essential to measure the kosher salt and instacure (also known as prague powder) accurately based on the meat's weight. Here's a straightforward guide:

Kosher Salt

Use 2% of the weight of the tri-tips. For example, if your venison tri-tip package weighs 28 oz (784 grams), you would need 15.68 grams of kosher salt.

Instacure #1 (also known as Prague powder)

Use 0.25% of the weight of the tri-tips. In our 28 oz (784 grams) example, you would use 1.96 grams of instacure.

To make this process easy, we recommend using a digital kitchen scale. We also suggest Diamond Crystals brand kosher salt due to its flake density, which provides the best results in this recipe.

RECIPE Preparation
  1. Mix the cure ingredients together. Remove venison tri tip from package and pat dry. Remove thin layer of silver skin on the bottom, opposite the fat side. Rub curing mixture all over tri tips, then vacuum seal and place in refrigerator for approximately 5-6 days. A zipper storage bag can be used in place of the vacuum bag, be sure to remove as much air as possible before storing.
  2. After 5-6 days remove tri tips from the bag and rinse under cold water to remove seasoning. Pat dry and place back in refrigerator overnight to allow meat surface to fully dry. This is best achieved by placing the venison on a rack over a sheet pan to allow air flow on all sides.
  3. The next day light up the smoker and maintain a temperature between 200F and 250F using oak or fruitwood such as apple or cherry.
  4. Splash your gin (or other liquid) on each piece of venison and then coat with the final rub mixture. Place venison tri tips fat side down on the cooking grate of the smoker and cook until an internal temperature of 150-155F is reached. This takes approximately 3 hours.
  5. Once the final temperature is reached, wrap venison in butcher paper or foil and place in a sealed container to fully rest for an hour or longer.
  6. Slice and enjoy immediately, or chill for later use, for instance in a sandwich. If you prefer to reheat the pastrami it can be steamed or warmed in sous vide at 145F for about 1 hour. Extended time in the sous-vide can also help tenderize.