Smoked Lamb Pastrami (Recipe)

Homemade lamb pastrami is delicious, and something anyone can make with a smoker. There’s just something about how the smoked meat combines with the brine, and the crunchy, slightly spicy coating of coriander and black pepper on the outside that just makes it so irresistible.

Smoked lamb or goat shoulder pastrami sliced cooked in a cast iron pan.
Sliced smoked lamb pastrami.

Fresh from the smoker, still warm and dripping delicious juices, I’d be hard pressed to tell you there isn’t a better smell in the world.

Smoked lamb shoulder pastrami on a cutting board next to a knife.
Smoked lamb pastrami ready to slice.

Pastrami is typically made from beef brisket. A leg will also work and contains more meat. Doing a pastrami from the shoulder makes for a slightly more challenging piece of meat to slice, but cooking it on the bone keeps the meat tender and juicy, just like a bone-in ham. Whatever cut of lamb or goat you choose (venison is good too), the proportions in my recipe and knowledge of the basic preparation will give you a good starting point.

How to Make Lamb Pastrami

Just like corned beef (or corned lamb) you start by boiling a brine. After the brine is cooled, you put the lamb shoulder in the brine and allow it to sit for 5  days. After brine curing, you take the shoulder from the brine, coat it completely in crushed peppercorns and coriander, and smoke it nice and slow. After it’s smoked, I like to chill the pastrami before slicing, but there’s nothing wrong with cutting a few slices off hot from the grill, and I recommend it as there’s something really special about meat straight out of the smoker.

Smoked lamb or goat shoulder pastrami recipe
To make slicing easier, cut the whole muscles off the bone.

You can do all kinds of things with a smoked lamb pastrami, but as it’s a special product, I like it the best simply by itself, warmed up and added to things like breakfast, although it does make a killer sandwich.

Cutting smoked lamb pastrami into thin slices with a knife.

Chef Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo, The Forager Chef



This recipe is by Chef Alan Bergo, the Forager Chef, a chef from Minnesota and author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora. Learn more about Chef Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at 



A smoked lamb pastrami reuben sandwich.
Corned or smoked lamb makes a great sandwich.

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Smoked lamb or goat shoulder pastrami recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Smoked Lamb Pastrami (Recipe)

Delicious smoked pastrami made from grass fed lamb or goat shoulder.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Brining Time5 days
Total Time5 days 2 hours 15 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Goat, Ham, Lamb
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 247kcal
Cost: 20


  • Smoker
  • large stock pot


For the brine

  • 3 quarts water
  • 260 grams salt roughly 1 cup + 2 tablespoons
  • 1 oz pink curing salt sodium nitrite
  • 3 Tablespoons pickling spice
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 bulb garlic halved horizontally

Spice coating

  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole black peppercorns



  • Combine the ingredients for the brine and bring to a simmer in a stock pot. After the mix boils, chill completely, then immerse the lamb in the brine and weight it down in a container large enough to fit the ham. Keep the shoulder in the brine for 5 days, then remove.


  • Transfer the lamb to a 250F smoker for 2-2.5 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150F. From here, the ham can be chilled until the day it will be served, and will keep refrigerated for 5 days.
  • To make slicing easier, cut the whole muscles off the bone.
  • To serve, using a sharp, long knife, cut thin slices of the pastrami. Heat the pastrami in a pan for sandwiches, serving alongside eggs, or whatever else you like.


Lamb or goat shoulder can be smoked just like a ham, but will have slightly more fat.


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 300mg | Potassium: 250mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 133mg | Iron: 2mg