Homemade Turkey Pastrami
Dutch Oven and spice rub mix homemade Pastrami

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Homemade Turkey Pastrami

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Adjust Servings:
1.7 kilo/ 4lb. turkey breast butterfly cut
For the Brine
4 litre/1 gallon water
1 cup Kosher Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
3 Bay leaves
1 tbsp. Allspice
5 cloves Garlic
1 tbsp. Mustard seeds
1 tbsp. Cumin seeds
Spice Rub
2 tbsp. Smoked Paprika
1 tbsp. dry garlic powder
1 tsp. Mustard seeds
1 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. Olive oil

Nutritional information

Serving size
Total Fat

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  • Oven
  • Paleo


  • For the Brine

  • Spice Rub



When it comes to food I’m picky, I don’t like to eat the factory-made pastrami and corned beef (check out our homemade version for corned beef), problem is, I just don’t know what’s in it.

The amount of chemicals in these industrial pastrami and sausages are huge, it’s essential for the commercial companies to add all sort of preserves in order to prolong the shelf life of the meat and keep it fresh in color and texture, thing is, I just love a good pastrami in a sandwich or just as an appetizer and can’t give it up so fast, that’s’ why I decided on making it at home, and guess what, it’s better than the store-bought version.

In fact, if you knew how easy (and cheap) it is to make homemade pastrami you wouldn’t be coming any close to the industrial kind, not to mention the taste is so much better.

Homemade turkey pastrami key points

First step that separates the amateurs from the pros is the brine, hold on…don’t run on me now, it’s a big name for a quick and easy process that involves adding water, sugar, salt and some spices, that’s it, 5 minutes of your life.

homemade pastrami

The turkey is resting in the brine for 48-72hrs. the salty sugary water acts as a preserving environment and will prolong the time the pastrami can be fresh after we cook it, as well as giving it flavors.

The Rub

There are various rub mix for turkey pastrami it really depends on your personal taste. For this turkey, I chose a relatively aggressive flavor rub that will complement the neutral taste of the turkey.

The rub consists of various spices such as smoked paprika, cumin, mustard, black pepper and ground coriander seeds as well as olive oil, water and date honey.

turkey pastrami

Tying the bird

When you get a big turkey breast you need to keep in mind that the bigger the outer surface which comes in direct contact with heat, the dryer the meat will be, this is why we need to create a bigger “inner” surface for the pastrami and tying the bird is the best option both flavor wise and visual wise.

Any notch will be good, I like the Continuous Knot when you use one piece of string and wrap it around the turkey firmly making sure it will hold the pastrami in an even loaf shape.

turkey pastrami

Cooking the turkey pastrami

The best way to make a good pastrami is in a smoker grill, the pastrami is hardly losing liquids and stays moist and tender, however, since most of us don’t have smokers at home, we need a different method that will keep the turkey moist and cook the bird to perfection at the same time.

I’m using a Dutch oven, it protects the pastrami from getting burnt and dry on one hand and cook it in a perfect even way on the other.

In order to build steam in the Dutch oven I mix some of the rub mix with water and fill in the Dutch oven about an inch deep with the liquids, this will prevent the pastrami from burning on its bottom side and will moist the Dutch oven making the inner temperature balanced.

the inner temperature of the pastrami should be 80°-85°c/ 165°F-170F, this will generate a moist and tender pastrami, going past this temperature might resolve in a dry stringy pastrami, so it’s important to work with a thermometer to check internal temperature.

turkey pastrami


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making the brine

Place all the brine ingredients in a big container, mix well and place the turkey inside.
insert the container into the fridge for a minimum of 48hrs.

7 minutes

preparing the spice rub

Place all the rub ingredients in a bowl and mix into a smooth paste.

15 minutes

coating and tying

Preheat the oven to 140°c/ 280°F.
Place aluminum foil on the counter, take the turkey out of the brine and place on the foil.
Rub the turkey with the spice paste and tie in a continuous butcher’s knot or any other knot that will keep the 2 breasts tied together in an oval shape.
Mix 1 cup of water with the leftovers of the turkey rub paste and pour into a Dutch oven, place the pastrami in the Dutch oven, so there is about 1 inch (2 cm) of liquids in the bottom.

1 hr- 1hr 20 mins

baking and serving

Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and insert into the oven.
Check after 1 hour for the turkey's internal temperature, it should be about 80°c/ 170°F, if ready, take out, if not, check in 10 minute intervals.
Take out the turkey and cool for 1 hour before serving.
Remove the knot, slice thinly and serve.
The pastrami can be kept in the fridge for up to 10 days covered with a plastic wrap after every use.


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Can you include amounts of the ingredients like brine and spice rub?

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