Pastourma – Salt, Air & Spice Cured Pastrami, but better



The grandma of Pastrami, the grand daddy of Beef jerky, Pastourma (or basturma in Turkey) is salt and air cured beef covered in delicious spices that serve to protect the meat from spoilage and which add such immense flavour it will make your toes curl.
Unless you have access to a walk-in fridge Pastourma should be made in winter.
Prep Time21 d
Total Time21 d
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle East
Keyword: Beef, Cured Meat, jerky, pastrami
Servings: 3 kilogram
Cost: 20-25 Euro


  • 1 flat tray I used an oven tray, covered in baking paper
  • 1 casserole tray The casserole tray is to catch the juices that run of the meat. More on that later
  • 5-8kg Anything heavy I used stones but you can use bottles of soda, water or even books


  • 3 Kg Beef Rump Steak A single lean cut, free from fatty skin and connective tissue.
  • 10 Kg Course Sea Salt Can be iodized or not. I prefer no additives, i.e. kosher.

Spice Mix

  • 6 tbsp ground fenugreek
  • 6 tbsp ground (sweet) paprika Balkan or Hungarian varieties are best. You can also use smoked paprika powder.
  • 2 ts fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground dried garlic use a brand that does not have added salt
  • 4-6 cloves pressed fresh garlic garlic lovers might want to add a little more
  • 2 ts ground all spice a.k.a. Jamaican pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp sumac this under appreciated spice has a citrusy tartness, similar to lemon or lime
  • 1 ts ground Coriander seeds Don't use fresh coriander, it won't work


  • Visit your butcher and ask them to prepare you a single cut of rump/round steak, by:
    °removing all fatty membranes and connective tissue,
    °slicing the steak, lengthwise, through the middle so you actually end up with two pieces
    Here is a picture of the finished product.
  • Slice the rump steak lengthwise through the middle
  • get out your flat (oven) tray. Cover the tray in 1 cm or a ¼inch of salt, place the two halves of steak on the salt covered tray. Then cover the rest of the meat with salt till all you can see is salt. You want every piece of meat covered.
  • Place one end of the oven tray, with the salt covered meat, into the casserole tray in such a way that the oven tray is slanted. This way the juices that run off get caught in the casserole tray.
  • Place a wooden board or similar onto the salt and place the weights, whether these are stones, soda bottles or books, onto the board. The weight presses the meat and that way the juices are removed.
  • I recommend leaving the meat covered, with weights, for up to 8 days in a cold place. I used my enclosed balcony.
  • After a day of 8 remove the meat from the salt and soak the meat in fresh water for about 24 hours. While soaking you'll need to change the water several times. The purpose of this exercise is to remove much of the salt that has made its way into the meat. The longer you soak the meat, the more salt is removed
  • After soaking, hang the meat to dry either using string or a meat hook. The meat needs to hang in a draughty place (which is why balconies are good places). If the place does not have adequate air circulation then point, as I did, a fan in the direction of the meat.
  • Leave the meat to dry and hang for around 6 more days.
    When properly dried the meat should look like in the picture
  • On the 5th day you mix all the spices with some water into a paste. The paste should neither be too wet or too dry, the paste needs to be able to stick to the meat without falling or running off.
    Leave the mix to set, in a fridge, for 1 day.
  • On the 6th day, cover the meat in the spice mix and then hang to dry, again, for 6-8 days. The spice mix must be allowed to dry.
    During this time the spice mix flavours intensify and penetrate the meat giving it amazing texture and flavour.
    TIP: in order to get a smooth texture, wet your hands and gently massage the spice mix all over the dried meat


In order to be enjoyed to the fullest, pastourma needs to be cut wafer thin.
It can be used as an appetizer and is a great accompaniment to red wine or some raki. Other uses are on sandwiches and, when finely chopped, used to flavour sauces or used as toppings on pizzas and burgers.

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