How to Make Pastrami

The Editors at Food Fanatic | Food Fanatic

Ever fancied trying your hand at making your own turkey pastrami? Here's a great recipe from Guy Fieri himself, plus our tips for serving this tasty, traditional sandwich filling.

While many people like to make pastrami because the homemade version is so delicious, originally people made it as a means of preserving the meat. Without refrigeration, meat would not last, so a preservation method was needed to kill off the bacteria and allow the meat to be kept for quite some time. 
Pastrami has since become popular throughout delis nationwide, but particularly within the Jewish communities in New York.
Turkey Pastrami Photo
Pastrami is typically made with corned beef, which a beef brisket that has been soaked in sugar and various spices.
The corned beef is smoked - which adds a depth of flavor to it - and it then becomes pastrami.
You can now find pastrami made from round and short rib, turkey, lamb, goat, venison and veal!
Turkey Pastrami Image
Pastrami is generally considered to be Kosher, which is why it is popular throughout Jewish households, but some people are branching out and making non-kosher alternatives featuring cuts of pork.
Any lean meat works well when making pastrami, as the long curing process involved allows for the tough muscle fibers in the meat to be broken down. 
Traditionally, pastrami is used as a sandwich filling, but you can get a little more creative with it too! Pastrami is quite versatile and can be eaten hot or cold.
Try adding pastrami to your scrambled eggs, pizza, potato hash and even fried rice! Its deliciously deep, smokey flavor takes many dishes to another level!
Turkey Pastrami Picture
When making pastrami sandwiches, make sure you use a nice mustard to coat both sides of the bread you are using. Cheese lends itself perfectly to pastrami sandwiches too - but then, what doesn’t cheese go well with?!
Brie, mozzarella, and gouda are all excellent choices to pair with pastrami. In fact, make your sandwich even better by turning it into a melt! Add some caramelized red onion too and you have got yourself a winner! 
Turkey Pastrami Pic
With this recipe you are going to make a turkey pastrami, perfect for making hearty sandwiches with all the fixings.

How to Make Pastrami

      4 Servings


For the brine:
  • 5 pounds Turkey Breast
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons juniper berries, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 8 cloves Garlics, smashed
  • 1 pinch of Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
For rub:
  • 4 tablespoons juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
To cook:
  • 1 cup hickory wood chips or chunks


  1. Start by making the brine, in which the meat will soak for several days. Combine the water, sugar and spices in a saucepan and heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Allow the brine to cool before transferring it into a large resealable zip-top bag. We recommend double-bagging it in case of any leakages and placing it into a pan. 
  2. Place the turkey into the bag and seal. Allow to soak for 2-3 days.
  3. After brining, remove the turkey from the bag and rinse well. Dry with paper towel and set on a chopping board.
  4. Make the dry rub by pulsing or processing the rub ingredients in a blender or food processor. 
  5. Generously coat the turkey with the rub, ensuring all of the breast has been covered. Place the turkey in a large airtight container and place in the fridge for 24 hours. 
  6. To cook the turkey, fold a large sheet of heavy duty aluminium foil, approximately 2ft in length, in half and fold in half once again. Fold the edges up on one of the halves, similar to that of a small pizza box.
  7. Soak the hickory chips in water for about 15 minutes.
  8. In the meantime, position an oven rack about 4 inches below the broiler and pre-heat to high. Drain the chips and place in the folded foil section you created. Broil for about 5 minutes, stir and broil for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold the ‘top’ part of the foil over and crimp it closed. Use a knife and create several small holes in the foil to release the smoke. Place into the oven and pre-heat for 250 deg F.
  9. Place the turkey in a roasting, breast side down, and roast for an hour. For a convection oven, increase heat to 325 deg F, or to 350 deg F for a standard oven. Turn the turkey and roast until the internal temperatures reaches 160 deg F. 
  10. Transfer to a chopping board and cool until you are able to handle the turkey. Slice thinly and serve warm or store in an airtight container for sandwiches later. 
Source: Food Network
Food Network
Cooking Method:
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Related Recipes:
Smoked Recipes, Turkey Recipes, Sandwich Recipes, Meat Recipes, Lunch Recipes
Recipe Yields:
4 lbs sliced meat
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: The Editors at Food Fanatic
Source: Food Network
Recipe Yields: 4 lbs sliced meat
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 120 minutes
Total Time: 4470 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size lb sliced meat
Servings Per Recipe 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
Calories 1121

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g
  Saturated Fat 0g
Sodium 7812mg
Total Carbohydrate 49g
  Dietary Fiber 2g
  Sugars 26g
Protein 200g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.