Elk pastrami
Wildlife recipes Wildlife recipes
Elk pastrami on bread with sauerkraut and sauce

Elk pastrami

A recipe from Executive Chef Chris Taggart, Uintah Basin Technical College

Elk pastrami on bread with sauerkraut and sauce

In fall 2022, the DWR Northeastern Region office partnered with the Uintah Basin Technical College culinary program to host a wild game cooking seminar featuring recipes using elk. The elk pastrami was one of the attendees' favorites. Thanks to EBTech Executive Chef Chris Taggart for sharing the recipe.

Elk pastrami

Quantity: Makes approximately 3 pounds of pastrami


For the brine

  • 3 pound elk roast or one elk tongue
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup pink curing salt (also known as Insta Cure #1 or Prague Powder 1; available online and at some butcher shops)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice mix
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Chef Chris Taggart and Anthony Christianson in a kitchen with elk pastrami brine
Small heap of coriander powder, ground from coriander seeds

Rub for brined meat

  • ¼ cup ground or cracked coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika (optional)


Step 1
Chef Chris Taggart pouring a small cup of honey into a pot of elk brine mixture on a heated stove

Mix all brine ingredients in a large stock pot and heat just until the salts and sugars dissolve. Do not boil. Remove pot from heat and cool the liquid to room temperature, and then refrigerate until the liquid is cooled to 40°F.

Step 2

Add the roast or tongue to the cooled brine. (If using a tongue, skin the tongue and remove connective tissue before adding it to the brine.) Refrigerate for 4–6 days or until the meat is pink all the way through.

Step 3

Drain off the brine. Combine dry rub ingredients. Evenly coat the surface of the meat with the dry rub mixture.

Step 4

Preheat the oven to 225°F. Place the meat in a shallow roasting pan and cook the elk until the internal temperature reaches 155°F.

Chef Chris Taggart cutting an elk tongue into thin slices
Step 5

Using a sharp knife or meat slicer, slice the pastrami across the grain into thin slices.


Watch the video for elk tongue pastrami and corned elk roast.

Watch additional elk recipe videos from this DWR and UBTech partnered event:
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