Pastrami Loaf with QView!!!

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by tallbm, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    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!


    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 -

    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! 
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member


  3. Did you forgo the classic coriander and black pepper layer on the outside?
  4. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Yeah I did.

    The recipe has both seasonings in it but because this is all ground meat and the seasoning is all mixed in per the recipe I didn't want to introduce the variable of trying to get that coating.

    Having done the recipe now I'm not sure how to do the coating without overly skewing the flavor profile.  Also I don't know that the flavor will get all the way into the ground meat if the pepper and coriander are only added to the outside.

    The flavor was so spot on that I think I will let some other brave soul attempt to figure out how to make that all work on one of these loaves hahahaha
  5. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Thanks DS!  Your old posts on this topic were a major driver for me to make this happen :)
  6. Gotcha..I did not realize you mixed the seasoning into the loaf. I like the idea of using brisket fat. I want to make some duck/pork hot links using brisket fat so this is encouraging. I'm leaning towards 40%duck / 40% boston butt / 20% brisket fat.
  7. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    I think your sausage will turn out great!  

    I'm not sure how much fat the duck and butt contribute to the overall fat content and ratio of meat to fat but I think you know what you are doing and I'm sure you will crank out something awesome!

    As a matter of fact once I finally get my smoker and such tuned in properly I'm going for the TX holy grail of brisket!  I plan to keep and vac seal all the beef fat for when I process meat after I finish hunting in October.  I usually bring back 5-7 animals and process them all.  I buy pork back fat for making my brats and franks but having some beef fat would be great to do this pastrami mixture.  I have a ton of the seasoning left over that I will likely never use on anything else hahaha.  Stuff like Pickling spice, Juniper Berry, and all this extra ground coriander :)
    GaryHibbert likes this.
  8. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    TBM, Nice looking loaves of goodness!
  9. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That looks absolutely fantastic!

    Point to you Sir!

    Congrats on making the carousel too!

  10. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Wow man, this is a brilliant idea!!  I get venison every year from my wife's uncle and I will definitely try this!  Points for sure!
  11. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Smoking Fanatic ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Bear got me hooked on his beef loaf! So much so, I've made 3 batches now. = Its all his fault. Now this... I will only have you to blame!

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  12. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Thanks, I didn't think any of the pics were carousel worthy but I'm glad people are getting to see it :)
    I usually produce about 30-40 pounds of pure venison grind (no added fat) a year.  I usually don't need to buy ground beef all year because of this.  I also take very very very good care in cleaning/processing my venison meat so the flavor is always like a lean beef and never any gamey flavor.  The key is that if a piece of the meat or tissue on the meat is not good enough for you to throw into a skillet and immediately eat, then it is not going to be good in grind, sausages, or steak cuts.  You can get away with that stuff on roasts and stew meat but that's only because low and slow cooking breaks all that stuff down but it is still a good idea to clean up any excess or nasty tissue on those cuts as well.

    I look forward to seeing what you make with your venison :)
    Hahahaha this stuff is really really good.  Feel free to blame me when ever you make it and people ask how you came up with it :p

    I can't wait to see when you try it :)
  13. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    So today as of 10am CST I am doing a 6.25 pound batch (2 loaves) of Pastrami Loaves to round out the rest of that venison meat I had for loaf making.  I seasoned for 5 pounds (because I forgot to measure for 6.25) BUT I made sure to add the accurate amount of cure for 6.25 pounds, I also added the extra salt.  The fry test was good so I know I will be fine.

    Additionally after Indaswamp mentioned the coating that is often seen on the outside of pasatrami I couldn't just let it go hahaha.  So I took a middle ground approach today.

    I know I did not add the additional amount of Coarse Black Pepper for the extra 1.25 pounds of meat so today I just sprinkled a coating of coarse black pepper on top of the loaves when I put them on the rack to give the "feel" of a pastrami coating.  

    I did not add any extra ground coriander to the top of the loaf because I didn't want to mess with the core flavor that the existing coriander was already imparting during my fry test.

    Black pepper is pretty safe to add on top and I didn't go overboard.  I might have added about 1 tablespoon total of Black Pepper on to of the two loaves to make a nice visual without overdoing the pepper flavor :)

    If it looks good I'll take a pick when these loaves come out.

    I hope this will all be done and yesterdays plus todays loaves will be sliced and vac sealed by 10-11pm.

    Tomorrow I smoke an 8 pound pork butt to have ready for a Sangria, guitar, and swimming pool get together scheduled for Saturday.  I'll just reheat the pork butt in the oven and pull while everyone is hanging out at the pool on Sat.  I refuse to be in a rush and I have too much other stuff to get ready before Saturday to then eyeballing an 8 pound butt smoke  :)
  14. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    Boy I thought Cherry was tough... these 100% Maple pellets sure take some babying to get going and keep going.  They are so worth it though on this Pastrami :)
  15. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit

    So I decided to add a little black pepper to the outside of the loaves I did today.  I didn't do any coriander because I didn't want to skew the flavor since all the coriander was already mixed in.

    This batch was 6.25 pounds and I seasoned for 5 pounds.  I added salt and cure for 6.25 pounds but nothing else so I had some room for a little black pepper on the top of the loaf.

    Here is what it looked liked finished, which was a little closer to what pastrami looks like without going overboard on extra pepper :)

    All loaves have now been sliced, vac sealed and are now in the fridge or freezer.  This stuff is amazing!
  16. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Oh heck yes!
  17. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    That looks great I make a pastrami Sausage (brats)


  18. mneeley490

    mneeley490 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That looks fantastic! Could you post your recipe? I'd like to give it a go.

  19. ab canuck

    ab canuck Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    That looks great, What a good idea in using that. Very impressive, Way to go. Point for sure....
  20. Looks really good. Even the ruben dog link looks good.

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