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How-to: Smoked Corned Beef

The end of the rainbow isn't a pot of gold, it's this juicy homemade smoked corned beef brisket. 

You don't need any Irish blood to enjoy a hearty platter of corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. In fact, you don't even need to wait until St. Patrick's Day. Salty, smoky corned brisket is great any time of year and is easy to cure and smoke at home. In our version, the brisket flat is cured with our No. 815 kit, then smoked and braised in mustard and beer until fall-apart tender. Pour yourself a tall glass of green beer and let's get started. 

What You'll Need

  • 5 lb. Beef Brisket Flat
  • 1 package Corned Beef Kit: This kit is pre-measured for 25 lbs. of meat, so you'll need to measure out 3.2 oz of Maple cure and 1 T + 1 tsp of seasoning
  • 25.6 oz Cold Water
  • Plastic Tub 
  • Plastic Wrap and/or Aluminum Foil
  • 1/4 cup Whole Grain Mustard
  • 2 Bottles of Beer: One for the recipe, one for you to enjoy. 
  • Smoker or Grill: For this recipe, we used a pellet grill
  • Time: Plan on 4-7 days for curing prior to cooking. 

What is Corned Beef? 

Corned beef is a salt-cured brisket which goes through a long curing process using large grains of rock salt, or “corns” of salt, and a brine with various seasonings. It’s then slowly cooked, turning a tough cut of beef into one that’s super tender and flavorful.

Selecting Your Brisket

As always, we recommend purchasing brisket directly from your local butcher. However, you do find a prepackaged flat, try to squeeze the brisket in several areas, to make sure it's firm. If there is too much give, there is likely a line of fat going through the middle that you won't see until you cut into it. You can choose to leave a 1/4" fat cap on your brisket or trim clean. The brisket we got from our butcher came pre-trimmed. 

Prepare the Brine

Season brisket flat with the included packet of corned beef seasoning. Place in a plastic tub, or deep pan. Whisk together cure and cold water in a glass bowl or mixing cup and pour over brisket. 

prepare the brine

To ensure the entire brisket is submerged, cover the top of the brisket with plastic wrap, then place a shallow pot on top of the wrap to keep the brisket submerged in the brine. Cover the tub tightly with foil and refrigerate for 4-7 days. 

Flip brisket over every 24 hours. The brisket will have absorbed half of the brine by the time you are ready to cook it.

submerge brisket

Rinse & Dry

The day of smoking, remove the brisket from brine and rinse under cold water, removing any whole spices. Blot dry with a paper towel and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Smoke 

Preheat your grill or smoker to 250° F. If using gas or charcoal set it to low, indirect heat. Transfer the brisket flat directly to grill grate and cook for 2 hours. In either a disposable aluminum pan or a foil-lined metal pan, mix together 12 oz. of beer (we used Spotted Cow, but Guinness or a lager would work) and 1/4 cup of whole grain mustard. Remove the brisket from the grill and place it in the pan with the beer mixture. Cover the pan with foil and return to the grill to braise.


 

Increase the grill temperature to 275° F, and cook an additional 1 hour, then baste brisket with pan jus. Cook the brisket for another 1 hour, or until the brisket is tender and reaches 202° F.

baste

Remove from grill and allow brisket to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice thinly and drizzle with mustard pan sauce. Serve with braised cabbage, roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, and roasted or mashed potatoes. 

 slicing

 

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