Making your own Smoked Turkey Pastrami at home isn’t quite as complicated as you may think, and is so rewarding! Check out how it’s done…

Making your own Smoked Turkey Pastrami at home isn't quite as complicated as you may think, and is so rewarding! Check out how it's done...

You a fan of Costco? Me, I love my local Costco and don’t think I could ever live without them anymore. Even as a single old lady living alone, I still manage to purchase well over 50% of my groceries and other household items at the warehouse.

One thing I hate about them, though, is how they tend to carry a product for a while, until you get totally hooked to it and then they take it off the shelves without even the slightest warning. And more often than not, such products happen to be exclusive to them and cannot be found anywhere else.

This just recently happened to me with a delicious smoked turkey pastrami that I would buy practically every time I went! It was one of my favorite things to have in the fridge as it was so versatile. I would use it for omelettes, sandwiches, eat it alongside my eggs in the morning, or just plain snack on it when I felt a little peckish during the day. Since it was entirely natural, I also found it extremely handy to have when the little one was around: just a few slices of smoked turkey, with a few chunks of cucumber, a piece of pita bread and some hummus or Greek yogurt and she was a happy camper.

Snacking on hummus!

But alas! This beloved product of mine is no longer available for purchase, and of course, I’ve no idea where to find it.

There was but only one thing left to do, and that was to try and make my own! Right on!

And you know what? Making Smoked Turkey Pastrami isn’t nearly as complicated as you may think, and it is so rewarding!

Granted, it does take time and might sound a little intimidating because of the curing and smoking processes, but really, it’s super easy and requires very little effort on your part.

No need to take my word for it, though… check out how it’s done, and then give it a try!

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

First, you’ll need to get your hands on a couple of big and beautiful boneless, skinless turkey breasts.

And you’ll need to make a brine.

To do that, combine some water, pickling salt, coconut sugar, pickling spice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, whole cloves and pink curing salt (Prague Powder #1) in  a large stock pot and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the salt is completely dissolved.

Then, remove the brine from the heat source and let it come to room temperature then place it in the refrigerator overnight or until completely chilled.

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

Even though I’m not really a fan of adding nitrites to my food, I’d rather play it safe so I chose to add pink curing salt (not to be confused with pink Himalayan salt) to my brine. Pink curing salt is basically a mixture of about 94% salt and 6% sodium nitrite. This salt really helps in preserving the meat and preventing spoilage by inhibiting the growth of fungus or bacteria. Also, it ensures that the cured meat will keep a beautiful pink color. Without it, the meat would likely turn an unappetizing shade of grey. The amount used is so minimal that I personally don’t have a problem with it, but if you firmly oppose adding nitrites to your meat, you could experiment with celery juice powder instead (not to be confused with celery salt) which pretty much plays the same role.

Since I personally have no experience with celery juice powder, I’m afraid I can’t really offer any advice to you if you choose to go that route…

Alright, so once your brine is fully chilled, transfer it to a super clean food grade container that’s large enough to hold both the meat and the brine.

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

Plunge the turkey breasts side by side in the cold brine, making sure that they are not stacked (stacking could prevent the brine from penetrating the meat properly), and then place a heavy, non-reactive object such as a plate (make sure that it’s super clean, too) over them to insure that they stay entirely submerged for the entire curing time, 4 to 5 days.

Now transfer this entire rig to the fridge and check on it daily to make sure that the meat is completely submerged at all times.

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

After the turkey breasts are done curing, take them out of the brine and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water, then place them in a large stockpot.

The picture was taken pre-rinsing… of course, once rinsed, the meat will be rid of all those spices!  

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

Fill the pot with enough water to cover the meat completely, bring to a boil then kill the heat and leave the breasts in the hot water for 15 to 20 minutes, which which will help raise the internal temperature of the meat and draw some of the salt out.

Homemade Smoked Bacon | thehealthyfoodie.com

Meanwhile soak about 4 cups of wood chips in water for 10 to 15 minutes and preheat your outdoor grill to 275°F. Turning on a single burner to medium-low should do the trick.

Homemade Smoked Bacon | thehealthyfoodie.com

Make 4 wood chip pouches out of aluminium foil. For each pouch, cut out a 12” x 24” piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (double that up if using lighter foil) and place about a cup of wet wood chips on one end of the foil. Add a handful of dry chips to that, then fold the foil over the wood chips.

Homemade Smoked Bacon | thehealthyfoodie.com

Fold all four edges toward the center at least twice, then poke holes on the top and bottom of the pouch with a fork.

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

Take your chicken out of the hot water bath…

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

Lift the grill that’s above the lit element and place a pouch directly on the heat source. Close the lid and wait until smoke starts to come out of the pouch.

Place the turkey breasts on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid.

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

Smoke the turkey breasts for a total of 2 to 2½ hours, replacing the wood chips pouch with a fresh one every 30 minutes or so. If necessary, crank up the heat under the new pouch until smoke starts to come out then bring the heat back down to low.

Try and keep the heat inside your grill as stable as possible, at around 275°F. Note that it’s not necessary to get huge amounts of smoke in order to get good flavor from it. However, if you feel you are not getting enough, feel free to add more dry chips to your foil pouches, or place an aluminum container with a handful of dry chips next to your smoldering foil pouch.

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

Wrap your turkey breasts in aluminium foil for the final 45 minutes of cooking; your turkey pastrami will be ready when the internal temperature of the meat registers 170°F

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

Allow the smoked turkey breast to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes then refrigerate until completely chilled; slice thinly and serve as desired.

See? It wasn’t that complicated was it? Now your very own homemade smoked turkey pastrami will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Perhaps you should get another batch started right away though… I doubt it’ll last that long!

Smoked Turkey Pastrami by Sonia! The Healthy Foodie | Recipe and step-by-step instructions on thehealthyfoodie.com

Homemade Smoked Turkey Pastrami

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Curing time: 5 days
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Making your own Smoked Turkey Pastrami at home isn't quite as complicated as you may think, and is so rewarding! Check out how it's done...
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 2 medium skinless boneless turkey breasts, (about 900g | 2lb each)

For the brine

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredients for the brine to a large stock pot and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the salt is completely dissolved.
  • Remove the brine from the heat source and let it come to room temperature then place it in the refrigerator overnight or until completely chilled.
  • Once the brine is ready, transfer it to a food grade container that's large enough to hold both the meat and the brine.
  • Plunge the turkey breasts side by side in the cold brine, making sure that they are not stacked, and then place a heavy object such as a plate over them to insure that they stay submerged for the entire curing time, 4 to 5 days.
  • Transfer this whole rig to the fridge and check on it daily to make sure that the meat is completely submerged at all times.
  • After the turkey breasts are done curing, rinse them thoroughly under cold running water and place them in a large stockpot; fill with enough water to cover the meat completely. Bring to a boil then kill the heat and leave the breasts in the hot water for 15 to 20 minutes, which which will help raise the internal temperature of the meat and draw some of the salt out.
  • Meanwhile soak about 4 cups of wood chips in water for 10 to 15 minutes and preheat your outdoor grill to 275°F. Turning on a single burner to low should do the trick.
  • Make 4 wood chip pouches out of aluminium foil. For each pouch, cut out a 12” x 24” piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (double that up if using lighter foil) and place about a cup of wet wood chips on one end of the foil. Add a handful of dry chips to that, then fold the foil over the wood chips. Fold all four edges toward the center at least twice, then poke holes on the top and bottom of the pouch with a fork.
  • Lift the grill that’s above the lit element and place a pouch directly on the heat source. Close the lid and wait until smoke starts to come out of the pouch.
  • Take your turkey breasts out of their hot water bath and place them on the unlit side of the grill; close the lid.
  • Smoke the breasts for a total of 2 to 2½ hours, replacing the wood chips pouch with a fresh one every 30 minutes or so. If necessary, crank up the heat under the new pouch until smoke starts to come out then bring the heat back down to low.
  • Try and keep the heat inside your grill as stable as possible, at around 275°F. Note that it’s not necessary to get huge amounts of smoke in order to get good flavor from it. However, if you feel you are not getting enough, feel free to add more dry chips to your foil pouches, or place an aluminum container with a handful of dry chips next to your smoldering foil pouch.
  • Wrap your turkey breasts in aluminium foil for the final 45 minutes of cooking; your turkey pastrami will be ready when the internal temperature of the meat registers 170°F
  • Allow the smoked turkey to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes then refrigerate until completely chilled; slice thinly and serve.
  • Your turkey pastrami will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 75g, Calories: 145kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 873mg, Potassium: 344mg, Vitamin A: 35IU, Vitamin C: 0.6mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 0.8mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!

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