|Elk Pastrami Sandwich|
I realized this year that if Dante had been around to experience the joys of Thanksgiving, he would have worked into his Divine Comedy, somewhere in the first 5 Circles of Hell (reserved for the self-indulgent!) a punishment similar to contracting strep throat the day before Thanksgiving, meaning you can neither eat, drink or be around others the whole day. Now I'm not saying I've done anything deserving of this punishment, but it did happen to me a few weeks ago, and I missed out on partaking in the freshly-cooked 10-pound elk pastrami roast I spent most of a week preparing (I did get some later, but I'll get to that).
The trick to a good pastrami is giving yourself enough time to properly brine and roast a beautiful piece of meat. Ideally, you would soak your roast in brine for 10 days, but you can speed things up if you use an injector during the process. I did, and I was able to properly tenderize a 10-pound roast in five days.
Of course, I had not planned to get sick when I committed to preparing this course for Thanksgiving (which, thankfully, was being hosted by our friends), but we play the cards we're dealt. On Thanksgiving morning I started the long, slow process of oven-roasting the brined meat, with plans to finish it off at our host's house, but since I wasn't there to monitor its process (and probably since I didn't start it early enough) it ended up being finished in a deep fryer that was present for deep-frying a turkey. Now, I certainly don't mind a little hot oil on meat, but it meant that I couldn't snap a photo of the finished product (hence the snazzy pastrami sandwich above). The result of the half-roasted / half-deep-friend pastrami: totally, epically delicious according to my friends and family! After lots of medication, I was finally able to eat solid foods by Sunday afternoon, and the first morsel in my mouth was a slice of my elk pastrami - and yes, it was epic!
There was so much meat that I ended up freezing about half of this roast to be consumed on a later holiday - I'm thinking St. Patty's Day! But in case you would like to get started today brining your own pastrami roast, you have exactly 10 days before Christmas, so get going!