Happy St. Patrick's Day! This week we are going to learn how to make smoked corned beef quesadillas.
I am going to show you how to make some of the best smoked corned beef or pastrami you have ever eaten and then we will slice that up thin and use it to make some extraordinary quesadillas that your family and friends will be talking about for weeks to come.
Let me show you how to prepare and smoke up a corned beef to perfection then I'll show you how to make them into quesadillas below.
With the corned beef brisket in a foil pan fat side down, or laying on a cutting board or counter if you don't have a foil pan, apply about 1 heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard to the top of the meat.
Spread it out with your hands or use a brush to make it easy. Be sure to get some on the sides as well.
Flip the corned beef over to fat side up and repeat the steps with the Dijon mustard and my original rub.
We are going to be placing the corned beef directly on the smoke grate for maximum smoke penetration but the pan makes a great way to carry the meat out to the smoker.
Tip: You can also use a Bradley rack for this purpose (which I love) and you never have to remove the meat from the rack until it's done cooking and ready for slicing.
At this point the corned beef brisket is ready for the smoking part of this recipe. If you have not done so already, go get the smoker ready.
Getting the Smoker Ready
I opted to use the Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain smoker (GOSM) for this recipe so I filled the water pan with about 1 gallon of hot water and lit the burner. I also filled the chip box with pecan pellets and set it aside.
As I have mentioned before in previous articles, I have been using pellets instead of wood chips/chunks in this smoker and I am consistently getting 3-5 hours of smoke out of a single fill.
I am going to be shooting for about 250°F so I turn the gas knob to HIGH and that is where it will stay untit the meat is in place on the bottom grate just above the water pan where it will get plenty of smoke as well as steam action which I hope will help to make it tender and tasty in the end.
Once the smoker is heated to 250°F and climbing, I add the wood chip box to the smoker which gives me just enough time to go get the meat and place it on the grate before the smoke starts.
The meat is placed directly on the grate, fat side up.
If you are using the Bradley rack, lay the rack with the brisket fat side up on the grate of the smoker and close the door.
If you are using the propane smoker like mine, leave it on set on HIGH until you see smoke coming out of the top.
If the smoker starts getting too hot, you can crack the door open just a bit to keep it at bay while the smoke is getting going.
Once the smoke starts and the smoker is up to temperature, you can back the heat off enough so that it maintain 250°F throughout.
Below are some other wonderful and recommended smokers that I use regularly and have written information about..
Information on Popular Smokers
Here's some information that I have written on various smokers. I hope to include more very soon.
Big Green Egg – Ceramic cooker that uses charcoal. Add lump charcoal, light it and add some wood.. set the top and bottom vent and you're good to go for hours on end due to the thick walls that hold heat incredibly well.
Note: In colder weather, it is advisable to preheat the smoker at least an hour or more before you are wanting to use it. Keep the door closed as much as possible and even skip basting if necessary to maintain proper smoking temperatures.
You can expect this corned beef brisket to take about 7-8 hours to finish but if you are using an electric, charcoal or gas smoker, you only need to apply smoke for about the first 4 hours.
After that, you can finish with just heat if you so desire.
To help the brisket to tenderize and to help power it to the finish line, you can place it in a foil pan fat side up once it reaches about 160°F.
Leave it in this configuration until it reaches 195-200°F.
Let it rest for about 30 minutes before attempting to slice it.
Slicing for Quesadillas
Slice the corned beef into 1/8 inch slices using an electric slicer or a very sharp knife.
Tip: Keep everyone out of the kitchen while you are slicing. I ended up being a little short on slices due to everyone grabbing slices and stuffing them into their mouth as it came out of the slicer.
Apparently the smoky flavor of the corned beef with the crusty mustard/rub exterior made it impossible to wait!
Smoke, 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.