I did a Pastrami Loaf today and WOW!!!! Don't let the word "Loaf" fool you. It's more like a Sausage and not really like a Meatloaf. Pics first and write up after. ************************************************** [EDIT: added link to recipe I used] Hi guys I figured I would make it easier for people to find the post with the recipe to this thing so click the following link to jump directly to the post that contains the recipe/ingredients/steps for making the Pastrami Loaf. Thanks! http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/263815/pastrami-loaf-with-qview/20#post_1716471 ************************************************** Loaves before and after. Sliced an end up. Close up of slices Slices on Rye bread with Thousand Island, the meat was so good I forgot to add cheese! (I'm not a sauerkraut guy) So I had this large gallon bag with 9 pounds of pure ground venison in it (no fat added) and it was taking up WAY too much freezer space. I had this meat saved for doing ground formed Venison Bacon but after doing a 5 pound loaf earlier this year I learned that the GFB was really more of a sandwich meat and it hit me that I would like to do a pastrami type loaf instead. Well I was googling and thanks to @dirtsailor2003 I ran across him mentioning Adam Gertler's Pastrami Dog recipe. Well all links were broken or not working but I found the recipe under "Reuben Dog" and it was posted on the food network here (for citation reference - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/adam-gertler/reuben-dog-recipe-2125772) I converted the recipe to both 1 pound and 5 pound batches and then proceeded to make Pastrami Loaves with some tweaks to the recipe. Mostly the tweaks to leave out the binders, use a precise amount of cure, and omit stuff like liquid smoke. If anyone is interested I can post my 5 pound conversion or even my 1 pound conversion and altered version of the recipe. The Meat: 5 pounds total weight 4 pounds 100% pure Venison grind (whitetail, no fat added in the grind) 1 pound ground Beef Fat (bought at local grocery store butcher market), fat came from briskets This is a 80/20 ratio of meat to fat. I went this route because the original recipe is for a Pastrami Dog (sausage) and 80/20 meat to fat for sausage has always been a magic number for sausage making and has ONLY produced excellent results with my sausage. This is basically just a sausage loaf I'm making Seasoned with a converted and modified version of Adam Gertler's Pastrami Dog recipe (again I can post what I did if people would like it) The Cook and Smoke: Started at 1:26pm at 100F and went for 1 hour without smoke to dry loaves After 1 hour bumped up to 120F applied 100% Maple smoke (I read somewhere that's the smoke commonly used with Pastrami) I was playing with my PID tunings over the next few hours and I think I really dialed in it about half way through the smoke, look at the almost straight Orange line starting about halfway through the cook which is my smoker probe temp I bumped up the temp to 140F, 160F, 170F, anywhere between an hour to a half hour. See the Graph for the time table and history of the cook. At the end I bumped to 200F out of curiosity about how my PID settings would do and to get the last 4 degrees done on one straggeling loaf I was shooting for 160F IT but one loaf took longer so I hit 168-169F on the hot loaf while the other loaf got to 161F (recorded with my ThermoPro Tp20 Everything was placed on the bottom rack of the smoker My smoker HeaterMeter (HM) smoker probe (orange line and top most number) was placed bottom center of the rack via alligator clip. The backup smoker probe (green line and first number in row) was placed on top of the rack, to the back, just left of center. My TP20 smoker probe was placed under the rack, to the front of the wrack, right of center with an alligator clip. The HM Smoker Probe and the TP20 smoker probe were within 3 degrees the entire cook. The back up smoker probe listed above was usually about 10-12 degrees high. The Maple Smoke went for about 5.5-6 hours. I everything was done at 8:08pm so I shut down and pulled the loaves to rest. Total cook time was around 6 hours 45 minutes for 2 loaves at total of 5 pounds of meat The Taste: I am by no means a Pastrami connoisseur but I can tell you that the flavor was great. I wish I had some real pastrami to compare to but I think the flavor is right on the money and not some sort of off "imitation" flavor. While eating the sandwich I could honestly not tell that this was sliced Pastrami Loaf. It tasted as good or better than Reuben sandwiches I get in sandwich shops and lunch restaurants around North Dallas. I CAN say that it is not the same as a true blue brisket flat pastrami cut. The texture is simply different, BUT the flavors all seemed to be there. My brain only knew I was eating a great Pastrami sandwich! The use of Beef Fat for the fat component is a MUST to get that beef and pastrami flavor. I clean my venison up immaculately before grinding so my venison grind taste like super lean beef when it is cooked. Only sometimes when it is reheated can it be noticed that it is a slightly (not gamey) different taste than beef. That cannot be said for a lot of people's venison. My converted and simplified version of the recipe is a WINNER and I will holding on to it for sure! The Maple wood flavor does not hijack the flavor in any way. I think it helps elevate the sweet and tangy tones of the pastrami seasoning and flavor. I'm becoming a BIG fan of Maple as a wood that seems to add a great almost hidden flavor while propping up the meat and seasoning flavors like a sneaky flavor ninja lol Lessons Learned: Maple smoke is good and not overpowering at all. I think I prefer it to Oak for a general wood smoke with good flavor that is not overpowering. I think it may have more flavor character than Oak but not in a strong way. I would not fear to smoke anything with maple smoke for 8 hours or maybe more. I think the smoke flavor will continue to develop nicely while the meat rests in the fridge until I slice it tomorrow It seems to be a common theme that any probe I put at the back of the smoker will run hotter by about 8-15 degrees more than in the middle or front of the rack. This is kind of common sense as grills are always hotter to the back rather than the front, so it seems the same applies for the MES40 smoker. I think I have really fine tuned my HM PID settings. My temp spread is -1F of set point to +1.7F of set point. This is nice! It took a lot of reading, some use of monitoring features for the HM dashboard that I just discovered, accepting that no PID tuning info really exists out there for the HM and electric smokers, and some mental gymnastics to correlate what other systems do and what the HM and an electric smoker can do hahaha. I feel I finally got there Beef fat was the total way to go for the Pastrami flavor I was looking for. The taste has been great and I believe it will will only get better as things sit and flavors meld together!!!! So far (Before slicing with a slicer) I think it was a good idea to omit the binders called for in the recipe. Things have held together well so far with out the binders. Less calories, ingredients, and cost are always a win in my book. I'll update tomorrow if slicing goes to hell and causes me to rethink the binders hahaha In all I am very very very happy with how this turned out. I am quite sure I will not be changing a thing with the meat selection, recipe, and smoke for this Pastrami Loaf. I hope you guys find this info helpful and feel free to ask any questions you may have. Thanks!