Smoked Corned Beef Brisket

Smoked corn beef brisket for St. Patrick's day is not only traditional.. it's melt in your mouth good. In this recipe I will show you how to cook it up right. My original rub recipe (purchase recipes here)  is the seasoning to use on these for a perfect exterior on every slice.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Soak Time: 4+ hours
  • Cook Time: 6-8 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 240°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 195°F
  • Recommended Wood: Hickory/Peach mix
What You’ll Need
Soak in Water

The process of corning a beef brisket flat adds a lot of salt to the meat.

Some of this excess salt can be removed by soaking it in water for at least 4 hours (overnight is even better).

Simply place the brisket flat into a container and cover it with cold water.

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Place it in the fridge while it soaks.

When it is finished, remove it from the water and dry with paper towels.

Season for Excellent Flavor

The flavor we are going after on this smoked corned beef brisket needs only a little Dijon mustard and my original rub recipe (purchase recipes here).

Note: It's a great idea to put the meat down into a foil pan at this time. This contains the mess and allows the juices to collect around it while it's cooking. This also makes it easy if you decide to cover with foil later in the cooking process.

First, cover the meat with Dijon mustard

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Then add enough of my original rub (purchase recipes here) to cover generously and massage it in to make a thick paste all over the meat.

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The mixture of the mustard with the rub will create a delicious crust on the outside of the meat.

Smoke the Meat

Set up your smoker for cooking at about 240°F using a mixture of hickory and peach smoking wood or whatever you have available.

Set the pan with the corned brisket on the grate once the smoker is ready.

You can expect about 6-8 hours to reach 195°F depending on how thick the meat is, how well your smoker holds the temperature, and other variables such as wind and ambient temperature.

I recommend keeping the smoke going for at least 4 hours.

Once the brisket reaches 160°F, you  have (2) options:

Leave as is:

Don't change anything– just let it keep cooking as is until it reaches the desired temperature and tenderness.

Wrap with foil:

If you placed the meat in a pan, this will be an easy task. Just cover the top of the pan with foil and let it continue cooking until it reaches the desired temperature and tenderness.

If you chose to put the meat directly on the grate, wrap the meat in foil or place it into a foil pan at this time and let it continue until finished.

Note: I get this question a lot: Can you move the meat to the oven now that's it just needs heat to finish? Well of course you can and it will do just fine.

Cook to Temperature.. NOT time

Use a digital probe meat thermometer such as the Maverick ET-733 to monitor the temperature of the smoked corned beef brisket while it is in the smoker. This type of thermometer allows you to know the temperature of the meat without having to open the door of the smoker.

Note: You can also use the Mk4 thermapen to check the temperature of the meat once it is close to being finished. 

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Baste the Smoked Corned Beef

When the meat is almost finished, I like to baste the meat with a tasty sauce made by mixing Dijon with my barbecue sauce at a 1:1 ratio.

I use ¼ cup Dijon mustard and ¼ cup of my barbecue sauce (purchase recipes here) and mix it up real well.

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This sauce is brushed on when the meat reaches 180°F and then once again when it reaches 190°F.

Be gentle and try not to disturb the crust too much during this process.

Finished

When the meat reaches about 195°F and you have ascertained that it is tender to your liking, you can remove it from the heat and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes with foil tented over the top of it.

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If you wrapped or covered the meat with foil and have the time, place the wrapped brisket flat into an empty cooler. Place a towel or two on top and then close the lid.

Let it stay in this configuration for 1-2 hours for further tenderizing.

Once the meat is finished resting, slice it about ½ inch thick across the grain and serve right away.

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Serving suggestion: place a container of warm Dijon barbecue sauce (recipe above) on the table for a dipping sauce.
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Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

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Printable Recipe

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3.17 from 6 votes

Smoked Corned Beef Brisket

Smoked corn beef brisket for St. Patricks day is not only traditional.. it's melt in your mouth good. In this recipe I will show you how to cook it up right.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • Corned beef brisket flat (((uncooked)))
  • Dijon Mustard
  • (1) batch of Jeff’s original rub

Instructions

  • Soak corned beef in water to remove excess salt for at least 4 hours (overnight is better).
  • Dry meat with paper towels and place into a foil pan.
  • Cover meat with Dijon mustard and Jeff's original rub.
  • Massage the rub/mustard to cover the entire brisket flat.
  • Set up smoker for cooking at about 240°F with a mix of hickory and peach or other smoking wood.
  • Once smoker is ready, place pan with brisket onto grate and keep the heat and smoke going for at least 4 hours.
  • After 4 hours the brisket can continue to cook with just heat for an additional 2-4 hours or until it reaches 195°F in the thickest part.
  • Baste the meat with a mixture of ¼ cup Dijon and ¼ cup of Jeff's barbecue sauce when the meat reaches 180°F and again at 190°F.
  • When the meat reaches 195°F and is tender to your liking, remove from the heat and allow it to rest for at meat 30 minutes tented with foil over it.
  • Slice the meat across the grain into ½ inch pieces and serve.

19 Comments

  1. Steve B July 7, 2021 at 6:48 am - Reply

    4 stars
    The flat seems to dry out. The point should have more fat inside to avoid being so dry. Maybe need to steam it before slicing like Katz's

  2. Mark Atkinson March 18, 2018 at 7:08 am - Reply

    Hey Jeff, I own your book and happened upon this wondering if I could even smoke a corn beef. This started as an experiment to see if it was possible but, ended up being the brisket of the day out of the 5 we cooked. Smoked a small 2.5# with apple and cherry chunks in a 8×8 pan and it worked out really well. Simple mixture of mustard and a pretty made seasoning was all it took. Thanks for the advice and tips for cooking this. Delicious!

    • Mark Atkinson March 18, 2018 at 7:13 am - Reply

      Sorry, pre-made seasoning.

  3. Mike March 5, 2018 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    I've made this a few times now. It's really delicious. I don't use the bbq sauce at the end, just the dry rub and mustard.

    Letting them soak probably removes some of the salt, but the corned beef can still be quite salty. I suppose that depends on the brand and your taste for salt. For me, I like them just fine after soaking for 4 hours.

    I'll be filling my chest freezer with more corned beef briskets this year during st. patty's day again.

  4. James cable March 16, 2017 at 9:46 am - Reply

    For your smoked corn beef how do you cook veg

  5. ken laduc April 3, 2016 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    3 stars
    Definitely different, not beef brisket, not corned beef, not pastrami, yet similar to all. Personally for me, I really liked it, wife not so much (likes brisket, not corned beef). It was VERY salty, but probably my own fault, I only soaked for 4 hours. I saw the meat getting pale at 4 hours and didn't want it “watered down”. Guess it also depends on the processor of the corned beef. Bought it for under $2/# @ st. Paddy's day, figured why not, beef brisket is closer to $5/#. It was tender!!! Melt in your mouth tender. Bought rye bread with good deli mustard and replicated Katzs deli in NYC. 6 hours for 3.3 #. Smoked with 50/50 pecan & apple, great flavor. Hit 160° @ 4 hours. Covered alum pan with foil and cooked another 2 hours. Did not use mop sauce, didn't want to add more sodium. Didn't need it. I would do it again, just soak all night. Corned beef hash for leftovers (don't add any salt!) later on week, I'll just let my sodium levels drop beforehand.

  6. Wendall Lawrence March 25, 2016 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Did one up for St. Paddy's day. Came out so good, I was asked to do another that Sunday!

  7. Rich March 22, 2016 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    2 stars
    Tried this last Saturday and it was tremendous. Another home run recipe Jeff! I was only able to soak the brisket for 3hrs but it was only slightly salty. I put a little less salt in the rub. I used Cherry wood as well. Amazing!

  8. Mark March 13, 2016 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    Did this recipe yesterday. Very good, I did not use the pan and put it right on the racks so that it caramelized all the way around. Good choice of wood smoke was nice and we'll be doing it again!

  9. Adam March 13, 2016 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Do you leave it cooking in the pan the entire time? It appears there is a lot of liquid that is in the pan now and I don't want it to steam or get soggy.. Should I take it out of the pan and leave it on the grate for a few hours?

  10. Ron March 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    One thing is, how much salt and other spices to add to the water to brine the meat? The usual 1 Qrt. water, 1C salt? This is one recipe that I would love to try.

    • Jeff Phillips March 10, 2016 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      The water in this recipe is not to brine the meat but rather to help remove some of the salt.

  11. Tom March 10, 2016 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    2 stars
    This may be delicious but there is nothing here that makes it “corned”. No pickling spices, no sodium nitrite,

    • Jeff Phillips March 10, 2016 at 11:24 pm - Reply

      In the meat called for in this recipe, the “corning” process has already been performed whether you've done that yourself or purchased one already corned.

      • Daryl King March 14, 2016 at 5:39 am - Reply

        5 stars
        We smoked a 5# corned beef brisket flat over the weekend, and it turned out great. I was out of hickory and peach chips, so I used pecan, and cherry. I only soaked the flat for three hours, but it wasn't too salty for the very tasty Rubens we made with the finished product. We sliced the meat very into very thin strips on an electric slicer.
        Question…doesn't smoking corned beef turn it into pastrami?

        • Jeff Phillips March 15, 2016 at 9:19 pm - Reply

          Sounds like a delicious meal! You are correct.. smoked corned beef brisket is pastrami.

    • Don March 16, 2020 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      That's a bit unfair to give 2 stars because you misread the recipe. This is a recipe to smoke corned beef, not a recipe to corn(brine) a beef brisket.

  12. Chet krys March 10, 2016 at 7:42 am - Reply

    I purchased the sauce and rub a while back. In the peocess of moving I can not find my copies of the recipes.And no longer have the comp that i dowloaded them on. Tried to go by what i remembered but seems like il missing something. Could you please resend them. Chet Krys

    • Jeff Phillips March 10, 2016 at 11:25 pm - Reply

      Chet, I will send copies of the recipes to you right away.

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