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Wapiti (elk) PastramiWapiti (elk) PastramiWapiti (elk) Pastrami

Recipe for game meat by Mia Anstine

Elk Pastrami

Be it elk or deer, pastrami is hands down a family favorite recipe.

This is a smoker recipe that produces savory, moist meat that is sure to please. Wild game pastrami is a delicious addition to your appetizer tray, lunchtime sandwich, or standalone snack.

Smoking is a tasty way to use up those smaller roasts that you’re not quite sure what to do with.



Servings & Equipment

12 people

Large pot
Bowl and lid
Meat thermometer


  • Approx. 1 kg (4 lb) elk roast trimmed (substitute: other available red-meat wild game)

  • Approx. 2 l (2 quarts) water

  • 150 g (2/3 cup) packed brown sugar

  • 190 g (2/3 cup) kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon Curing Salt #1

  • 2 teaspoons whole yellow mustard seeds

  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds

  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 4 cups ice cubes

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper


  1. Boil the water in a large pot. Add the brown sugar, kosher salt, curing salt, mustard seeds, peppercorns, coriander, allspice, crushed chili, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves. Boil and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the ice to the brine mix, and stir until the ice is melted.

  2. Place the roast into a bowl that is deeper than the roast is tall. Pour the cooled brine and spices over the roast, ensuring that the roast is covered. Add the lid and place the covered bowl into the refrigerator for six days. Turn, or flip, the deer roast once a day.

  3. After six days, prepare and pre-heat the smoker. Use your favorite smoking wood (I use applewood) to heat the smoker to around 90°C (200°F).

  4. Remove the roast from the brine, pat it dry, then use the pepper to coat the outside of the roast. Place the roast directly on the smoking rack (add a drip pan below, if needed), with the thicker end of the roast pointed closer to the heat source. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the thick portion of the roast. Close the lid of the smoker and smoke at 90°C (200°F) for five hours, or until the roast’s temperature reaches 70°C (160°F).

  5. After the roast reaches the correct temperature, remove the thermometer. Next, use tongs to lift the roast and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Re-insert the thermometer into the roast. Continue to smoke the roast at 90°C (200°F) until the center reaches a temperature of 80°C (180°F).

  6. Remove the roast from the smoker, keep it wrapped in the foil, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

  7. Use a meat slicer or sharp knife to cut the roast, against the grain, into thin slices.


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