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making montreal smoked meat at home

I suspect the consensus is that there's no really outstanding smoked meat joints in Toronto, if not in Ontario. Yes, there are notable places like Caplansky's, et al, but none can truly hold a candle to the really outstanding Montreal restos, like Schwartz's or (my favourite) Smoke Meat Pete.

So since we can't find anything decent here, has anyone tried making MSM at home? I've made a couple of attempts that've turned out so-so, and I'd like to know if anyone out there has tips or could swap stories.

I'm smoking, obviously, on a Big Green Egg, which I adore.

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  1. I've had moderate success but would like to get input to improve my product.

    I brine for two weeks with prague powder #1 (1 tsp for every 5 lbs brisket), then drain the meat and add a rub I have modified from some old posts on making MSM. I can post if you like. I like to let the meat sit for 2 days, with the rub on.

    I then smoke at 200-220F for 16-18 hours. The meat's internal temp gets up to 160-170F.
    I thinly slice the meat on an electric slicer and steam to heat up.

    Overall I'm pleased with the recipe, although it is different than Schwartz to some extent. The main difference is that it is less moist.

    I haven't tried Smoke Meat Pete's, will have to give it a shot next time I'm near Mtl.

    1. My method was to wet-brine too, using the standard Readycure formula proportions of water, cure and kosher salt, mixed in with a handful of pickling spices and garlic, cure for 3 days, rinse for one, add the spek and then smoke for about 13 hours over maple at around 225 (though it was only a point brisket, not a double) to an internal temp of 185.

      It was good. Not great, but good, and my big problem was that lack of moisture- it didn't fall apart like smoke meat should, though the fattier parts were tasty. I want that falling-apart texture!

      Oh, and Smoke Meat Pete is ridiculously good. Best meat in Montreal- and I mean it!

      5 Replies
      1. re: biggreenmatt

        I don't see steaming in your process. I don't recall the finishing temps, but I have never smoked a brisket for 13 hours with the intention of making pastrami. With that approach, you end up with a cured Texas-style brisket, if you know what I mean. When I've done it in the past, it's been smoked to a lower temp (I believe) and for a shorter period (100% sure). And then you steam it to 185 or whatever. The steaming process achieves the fall apart texture you crave, while also keeping it moist. Lastly, using a point will result in a drier piece of finished product.

          1. re: porker

            That's AWESOME! As it so happens, I'll be in CSL that weekend!

            Coincidence? I suspect not!

            1. re: biggreenmatt

              I'd suggest to check out Delibees in Pointe Claire just for comaprison sake - they're not too far from SMP anyways (but closed Sunday).

              1. re: porker

                ah gawd dammit... every time someone mentions them I have to stop on the way home.

                Will try and remember to take a pic this time.

        1. GG is right. Brining should be longer, smoking shorter. Assume 1" salt penetration per week at 39 F.
          MSM does not have a strong smoky flavor, like Texas brisket, but short smoking followed by steaming retains moisture.

          I really pack on the pickling spices before brining, smoking and steaming, because I really want that Romanian flavor.

          Finally, I now have two sources for brisket: Costco AAA at $12/kg which tends to be overtrimmed; and Skyland packer brisket, AA for $7/kg at 3715 Lawrence Av East http://www.skylandfoodmart.com/

          2 Replies
          1. re: jayt90

            My first MSM was steamed- this one I didn't bother.

            Re: curing process: I used Readycure (http://www.foodwithlegs.com/?p=789) on both my briskets rather than Prague Powder. After mucking up the first batch, I called the nice people at Canada Compounds, told them what I was doing and asked how long was best for a five-pound-and-change brisket. They told me 3 days, give or take; five pounds for a full brisket. Which is good, since I frankly don't have the patience to wait for weeks.

            Re: final product: good, but not sublime. Like something you might get at the grocery store labeled as "smoked meat". That said, I'll try reducing the smoke and increasing the steam. The briskets I got were from Highland Farms (since the Scarborough location is near my place), but next time I'll shlep out to Nortown and get a proper piece of meat.

            Man, between the curing, smoking and steaming, what a pain in the ass process!

            1. re: jayt90

              Hi Jayt90,
              I've seen a lot of recipes that call for very different curing times, ranging from 2 weeks to 4 days. I have a couple of 8 lb briskets that I'm ready to turn into delicious smoked meat (my wife is from Montreal). Does the 1" rule really work?

            2. Don't know if you ever saw the DDD episode from Brewburgers but there's a recipe here.

              http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/br...

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNmihp...

              1. After a few tries, I got it comparable to a cross between Schwartz and Quebec Smoked Meat.
                I started with a 6kg brisket and dry cured:
                1lb peppercorn, ground
                1.5lb coarse salt
                1/4lb sugar
                1/4lb coriander seed, ground
                3TBL clove, ground
                3TBL bay leaf powder
                4TBL instacure (pink salt)

                I hand-ground to keep a coarse texture of spices (except bay leaf which was purchased in ground, powdered form).
                I used half this mix (saving 1/2 for next time) and rubbed into brisket, wrap with plastic wrap, place in pan in fridge and weight down with a 12 pack of beer.
                Turn the brisket 2x a day for 9 days (it will exude moisture - you need the pan)
                Rinse off all cure and soak in cold water for 3 hours, changing water every 1/2 hour (to get most salt out).
                Prepare "old fashion" spice blend: 2 part peppercorn, 1 part coriander seed into blender and pulse until seeds are partially broken up (maybe 2lb peppercorn/1lb coriander seed)
                Pat brisket dry and rub with lots of the spice blend, wrap in plastic, into fridge overnight, weighted down with a 12 pack again.
                Next morning, unwrap, put in smoker, apply smoke for 3-4 hours at 250F. Wrap in foil (to keep from oversmoking and to retain moisture) and continue at 250F-265F for another 5 hours (this can be in the smoker with no smoke, or simply in your oven).
                Remove and let come to room temp. Wrap the whole works (foil & all) in plastic wrap, put in fridge overnight.

                Next day, unwrap and put in steamer for 3 hours, slice and enjoy.

                Time consuming? Yes.
                Lotsa steps? Yes.
                Labour intensive? Slightly.
                Ingredient intensive? Certainly.
                Worth it? You better believe it - your friends and family will not believe you made it.

                I first did this specific method (after many other tries - wet cure/no steam/longer/shorter times/etc etc) september 04, 2008. My notebook page ends with:

                *FANTASTIC*Deeeelicious*
                Some of the best smoked meat we've had, similar to Schwartz!! Cured through and through. Oh my God, good! Gave some to Joseph @ Fairmont - he was totally surprised and happy! (note Joe is my butcher)

                With a final note added sometime later:
                2nd time around, instead of steaming, placed on a rack in a pan with water. Covered well with foil, into 250Foven 6 hours. *nice*.

                Which is an option if not using a steamer.
                I would post photos, but they're in another computer...will post later.

                112 Replies
                1. re: porker

                  Okay, I'm game. Where do you pick up instacure? And where did you pick up the recipe?

                  1. re: biggreenmatt

                    Instacure in Canada seems to be about as illegal as a Cuban cigar in the US - kinda like you gotta know someone who knows someone...

                    For the long answer...
                    Perhaps in GTA,
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/791524
                    or another crazy thread I was on recently,
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/624191
                    Or ask a friendly butcher who makes his own sausage

                    For the short answer, order it from
                    http://www.sausagemaker.com/meatcurin...

                    Theres alot of misconceptions, misinformation, and lack of knowledge on curing compounds (nitrates/nitrites/saltpetre/prague powder/instacure/Morton salt, etc etc). If you don't know about them, learn a bit first, as there are proper handling practices, possible health concerns, etc etc. Not to scare, but simple advice which can be said of many things (like matches, medications, cleaners, etc).

                    OK, howd I come by the recipe? I'd love to say something like a great uncle on my mother's side worked at Schwartz in the 50's. He went on a working vacation in the Amazon basin to search for gold and was never heard of again. Years later, I was bequeathed a simple envelope from my great aunt. Inside was a recipe for smoked meat written in my uncle's hand with a simple black fountain pen.
                    Alas that was not the case (although I had a great uncle on my fathers side who did disappear in South America, never to be heard from again... but thats another story).
                    I would also like to say that I got it here
                    http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/...
                    The recipe is indeed in this thread, but as I glanced through it now, the post seems to be from 2010. I first made this version in 2008 (as confirmed by my notebook and digital pictures...), so I must have come across it from somewhere else, but the noggin ain't what it used to be. Regardless, I think the thread makes for fascinating reading.\

                    Pictures
                    1. after 9 days of curing
                    2. into the smoker
                    3. after steaming
                    4. between a couple slices of kimmel rye

                     
                     
                     
                     
                    1. re: porker

                      With more online research (http://www.urbanhippy.ca/making/bacon), I've determined that the nitrate difference between readycure and instacure is about 6:1; since I've got a kilo of the stuff already, I'll just change the proportion and use that instead. Plus your version doesn't look as red as I want mine to be, and that I got from the readycure. Plus I don't want to bother with the shipping. Plus I'm making mine in about 2 weeks and can't wait.

                      Going into this project, I assumed that the Montrealers wet-cured their meat, on account of the faster turnaround time. I find it a little difficult to believe that the average restaurant would have the floorspace to keep essentially 2 weeks of progressively-curing smoke meat in the back, but I've certainly been proven wrong before.

                      In any event, I'm game. I'll be serving it on the 23rd, which means the process needs to start on the 11th (9 days cure, 1 day soak and dry, 1 day smoke and rest and next day steam and serve. I'll let y'all know how it goes.

                    2. re: biggreenmatt

                      Oh yeah, if you make it, please report back. A running commentary would be entertaining!

                      1. re: porker

                        Thanks porker, for your excellent instructions and photos.

                        I did something similar but different for St. Pat's day this year.

                        Stores were selling Maple Leaf corned beef brisket (boil in bag) for $4/lb, so I chose a couple with good marbling; I knew from past experience that this would be a bland corned beef.

                        Rinsed off the curing gel;

                        Rubbed with hot paprika and a generous layer of pickling spice;

                        In the fridge for 2 days;

                        Added a layer of cracked peppercorns, then wrapped well in a double layer of foil and slow cooked 3 hours @ 250 F in a convection oven. (Because of March weather, I did not hot smoke it, but that's an option.)

                        The result was sublime: tender, juicy and well spiced. No one believed it was a Maple Leaf cured brisket, but it was!

                        Since then I have struggled with BBQ'd brisket, but cannot get close to B.R.'s .
                        My enhanced Maple Leaf brisket will remain a staple until I master MSM or Texas BBQ.

                        1. re: jayt90

                          I never persued Texas brisket enough to get something special.
                          Your method takes out the waiting time of curing
                          About every 2nd St. Patricks day, I'll make corned beef from scratch - a simple wet nitrite (instacure) brine, rinse, then a long boil with onion and plenty of clove in the water. Comes out great.
                          About every other time, I use a store-bought. Sometimes I'll be in the US (Plattsburgh or Champlain or Burlington) and their corned beef is like 59c /lb.

                        2. re: porker

                          Yeah, will do. Per the instructions, the process'll begin on Monday.

                          I was thinking about it again this morning, and I'm still having a problem accepting that at any given time, the Big Boy Montreal delis have twelve days' worth of brisket at different stages of prep in their back rooms. I mean, y'all see how high those sammiches are stacked- you're looking at a half-pound to a pound (I suspect) for the ordinary and jumbo/extra-hungry/fresser sandwiches. If they sell 200 sandwiches a day (let's split regular/jumbo in half for easy math), that's 150 pounds of meat or about 12.5 briskets. On that same fuzzy math, the average shop curing that amount of meat for 12 days needs to have 150 briskets in the back at any given time, which I find improbable. And then, God forbid, you run a restaurant and you run out of meat! Happened to Caplansky's in the opening days at their new location.

                          I'm going to bug David Sacks on the Save the Deli FB page and see if we can't solicit some input.

                          (This is to say, btw, my good porker, that I fully intend to try your recipe- I just wanna know how the big guys do it.)

                          1. re: biggreenmatt

                            If my last time sitting at the counter is correct, you're off on your brisket count for a place like Schwartz's by a factor of at least 2.

                            1. re: wattacetti

                              I don't disagree. Hence, some insight into the biz is required.

                            2. re: biggreenmatt

                              An apology is in order.

                              All this talk of smoke meat got me hankering and I went off to Caplansky's for lunch. Credit where credit's due: that was a fine sammich. More than that: an *outstanding* sammich, different but equal to Smoke Meat Pete. And keeping on topic, one of their signs says that it took God 1 day to make the world but it takes 14 days to make a brisket. Maybe they do store their dry-cured meat for 2 weeks+.

                              Who knew?

                              1. re: biggreenmatt

                                I really don't kniow how they do it commercially. I assume that a wet brine would be more economical as you can cheat a bit with injection (I do this with ham) and you get curing from both inside and out. I assume commercially made, vacuum packed, ready to go smoked meat (I'm thinking Lesters Foods, Pillars, Levitts, etc) is done this way as faster means cheaper means lower costs means lower competitive prices etc etc.

                                I don't know if delis doing their own smoked meat dry- or wet-cure. I will ask next time I'm at Schwartz (or drinking across the street - hehe). I found this

                                http://www.torontolife.com/features/h...

                                which says of Caplansky's

                                TORONTO SMOKED MEAT: At Caplansky’s (12 Clinton St., 416-500-3852), Zane Caplansky rubs his briskets in spices he picks up in Little India, cures them in barrels for up to three weeks, then hardwood smokes them until the meat is deep maroon and super-tender. Imagine Schwartz’s famous product married with Texas-style barbecue brisket.

                                Not quite specific if liquid enters the equation (barrels)...

                                I also assume that wet, barrel curing was a way of preserving (and perhaps storing)meat before refrigeration, so it may be more 'traditional' than dry curing. Again, only guessing.

                                Don't worry, in a coupla weeks it'll all be academic as you make your own *outstanding* sammich!

                        3. re: porker

                          Right, matey. The brisket went into the fridge to cure this afternoon. Used the same recipe with the one difference being that I used Readycure (1% nitrates), which means I put in a heaping 1/2 c Readycure (should be about 1 1/8th c if you're making a double-batch for future use, as in your recipe) and a heaping 1/4 c of kosher salt (just shy of 2/3 c if double).

                          My brisket is a 11 1/2 pound whopper that doesn't fit into any pan I happen to own. Instead, I've cured it and stuck it in a gigantic ziplock bag, food grade but meant for clothes and bulky items, and sucked out as much air as I could. Need to pick up a twelver tomorrow to weigh it down.

                          Tell me more, if you would, about the juices that come out during the curing process. I'm thinking that under the circumstances, it might be a good idea to poke holes in the bag so it can properly drain, though I'm keen to head about your go at it.

                          1. re: biggreenmatt

                            Maybe a cup or so of water will be drawn out. Even though I wrap with about 10 yards of saran, it still seeps out, thus the need for a pan or even a plastic tray.
                            Your hermetically sealed contraption sounds good, I don't think drain holes would be needed - then you'll have to worry about catching the juice in the fridge. The stuff will rinse off later anyway later. After a good rinse and scraping to get all the spice off, I soaked the meat in a clean sink, changing the water every 1/2 hour.
                            There will be shrinkage, but only after smoking/cooking, so you'll still need a vessel of some kind to steam. No cake or roasting pan?

                            1. re: porker

                              Duh. I threw it in my biggest roasting pan, but hells bells, I can use a cookie sheet or even just lay it down flat on the bloody shelf, since there's no runoff. As for a big-enough steamer, well, I guess I'm just going to have to nip off to Nella and buy myself a new toy. I think a ginormous roasting/hotel pan with a steam tray on top should do the trick.

                              Oh, and for next time, I used one of these, available at any big supermarket: http://www.ziploc.com/Products/Pages/.... I lied, by the ways: it says it's not for food, but neither are big, new, clean garbage pails which I use to make party-sized amounts of sangria. Given that I'm curing the hell out of the meat, I don't think there's any danger.

                              1. re: biggreenmatt

                                Hey, I've never seen them before - looks good.
                                I do have a steamer like this
                                http://www.bravoparty.com/popup.php?i...
                                I see, by the way, you can rent from Bravo.
                                but its a bitch to clean.
                                To avoid the cleaning part, I put a rack into a roasting pan, put water in the pan just below the rack, plop the brisket onto the rack, wrapped up tight with plenty of foil, and into a 250F oven for 5-6 hours. This works well too.

                                1. re: porker

                                  Not sure where I saw it, but someone suggested doing the same process with beef ribs (smoked meat Popsicles). I tried, but wasn't happy enough to repeat. Now mrs. Porker shows me this
                                  http://ruhlman.com/2009/07/homemade-s...
                                  I'll have to give it a try sometime...

                          2. re: porker

                            Hi porker. someone just sent me this link. I was looking for a MSM recipe. God, I love this site, so many willing to help.

                            Is that Instacure # 1 or # 2? Do you use a whole double brisket? Where is your butcher? I need a good source. tks

                            1. re: carl333

                              Hiya carl. Its Instacure #1.

                              I use the whole brisket and usually order it from Joe at Fairmont Butcher.

                              Boucherie Fairmount, 3833 St Laurent, Montréal H2W 1X9, QC 514-288-8046

                              I just tell him I want a full brisket and it arrives in a few days in a cryo-vac. When I first starting ordering stuff from him, he usually asked for a small deposit.

                              I just happen to like Joe and his shop, but if its not convenient, maybe do a CHOW search for other butchers.

                              1. re: porker

                                ok, here's my 4 lb. flat that I started today. Salts and sugar added 1st followed by the spice rub. Packed tightly in a heavy duty freezer bag, and now onto the 8 day wait. Wish me luck. More photo's to follow.

                                 
                                 
                                 
                                 
                                1. re: carl333

                                  I have failed miserably with my 1st attempt. I had great color right through but is was very dry and crumbly and also was way too salty to eat. Not sure what hapenned. To much spice rub, too long a smoke that may have caused the dryness. I didn't skip the steam process in the oven. hmmmmm....Not sure what to correct.

                                  1. re: carl333

                                    I'm guessing the cure time was too long for a thin piece of meat. This would make it too salty.
                                    Did you rinse/soak the brisket after the cure? I rinse then soak the brisket for 3 hours, changing the water every 30 minutes. I'm told this gets rid of some salt (I don't know if it truly works or not, but its always part of my process).
                                    A long smoke time might contribute to dryness, but it also looks like you have an all-lean piece of brisket. Theres a thin fat cap, but I'm thinking you need the intramuscular fat of a whole brisket for real moistness. Maybe something like this
                                    https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/im...

                                    I know it sucks to buy a whole hunk of meat only to have it spoil on you (I'm doing a piece of eye of round right now - its been cured, now to dry for 4-5 months. I'm thinking its too salty as well....I'll see).
                                    I also overcured beef ribs (either up- or down-thread) and did not enjoy them - too salty.
                                    But if theres another attempt, I'd suggest going with a whole brisket . Its more forgiving to curing(sometimes its undercured, but not a big deal here), to smoking, and not as dry.

                                    1. re: porker

                                      You can check salt levels before cooking/smoking. My stuff generally goes for an hour soak, then I'll carve off a small piece, fry it and check for salt. Soak in 30 minute increments (I just load up the ziploc bag with water and let it sit in the sink), retesting till I get a salt level I like.

                                      About the dryness, it may be also that you're getting the real deal compared to the brined/injected stuff you may be used to at La Belle Province, etc.

                                      Not to worry, you can stew/braise the meat if you think it's ruined, just don't add salt :)

                                2. re: porker

                                  Yo Porker!! I'm a Canadian expat in Northern California trying your recipe for MSM so far seems to be right on. Its in the steamer right now I used pecan wood cause they didnt have maple at my local store and added some montreal steak seasoning to the pepper coriander rub before I smoked it. I also added some Warkworth Ontario maple syrup to the water pan in the smoker. I always bring back the Smoke meat petes packets whenever im in montreal and folks out here go crazy for the stuff. Thanks for your recipe and all your feedback to everyone on this site. I'm having my father (born and raised in NDG) and my Brother (6 years at Mcgill University) come over and take a taste to see if I got it right. I'll report back.
                                  Cheers,
                                  Lex

                                   
                                  1. re: lexxxluthor

                                    Looks good, maybe include a coupla picts of the sliced product if possible!
                                    The addition of Montreal steak spice might make for a saltier version.
                                    I went to high school in NDG, but I'm a Concordia guy, not a McGill guy, hehe.

                                    Coincidently, while visiting a town-wide garage sale in Hemmingford (QC) this past weekend, I came across a smoker/BBQ guy. We shot the breeze for awhile and he mentioned wanting to try his hand at MSM. I told him of this site in general, and this post in particular. He's likely gonna look us up.

                                  2. re: porker

                                    DUDE!!! Your recipe is the REAL DEAL!!!!! Perfect texture nice and moist perfect spice mix... Thank you for sharing this with the world. YOU ARE DA MAN. Pecae, Love and respect from Northern Cali

                                     
                                     
                                    1. re: lexxxluthor

                                      That looks fantastic! Beautiful cured color through & through, nice coriander/pepper smoked cover. Great sense of accomplishment when slicing it up and watching everyone eat, wide-eyed, eh?

                                    2. re: porker

                                      Mr. Porker,

                                      Much respect - you are the only one I could find that had a recipe for MSM. Very much appreciated. I'm in the process of making MSM for the first time with your recipe.

                                      Do you have internal meat temperature readings during the cooking? Instead of smoking for 3-4 hours, then 5 hours wrapped, then steaming for 3 hours; I was hoping to use internal temperature as a gauge instead of time.

                                      Also, what do you think about cooking at 225F instead of 250F?

                                      Any info would be appreciated.

                                      1. re: BigRockingMike

                                        Its just "porker", hehe.
                                        Kind words. As I mentioned above, It's not an original recipe of mine, I'm just passing on what I learned.

                                        My method is a guideline which can be changed to personal taste. Also, MSM is simply a variant of smoked brisket, so the "low&slow" method applies.
                                        Yeah, 225F with a target temp of maybe 180F should be good, but again, I'd say do what you're comfortable with (or what you're used to) and take notes.
                                        MSM isn't something the usual guy makes every week. When trying to improve, the notes are handy when trying to remember small details 8 months later.

                                        The meat is cooked and ready to eat out of the smoker, so why the fridge overnight and long steam the next day? Technically, I could venture that the overnight improves the flavor and the steaming provides a moist heating environment, mellowing the smoke. Non-technically, its simply the way its done in Montreal.

                                        Where u from BRM?
                                        Are you related to biggreenmatt?

                                        Oh, can u post some pictures? Maybe the brisket, maybe your set-up, maybe the finished MSM?

                                        1. re: porker

                                          Porker,
                                          Your recipe was fantastic! It tasted great! There were 2 things I did that I will fix next time though.

                                          1. Because of space considerations in my fridge, I didn't weigh down the brisket with a 12 pack of beer. The result was, I think, that the cure didn't make it all the way down in the meat. A little spot of the meat was missing that nice red colour. I'll know better next time.

                                          2. I think I cooked it too long. I took it out of the smoker at an internal temperature of 190F. I was intending to take it out at 180F but it got away on me. The result was that the meat was a little too crumbly, but still a great taste.

                                          I'm in Ottawa, but I was born and raised in Montreal. No relation to BigGreenMatt, but I'm sure he's a nice guy.

                                          As for my setup, I'm using a charcoal Vision Grill S Series from Canadian Tire (www.visiongrills.com). I'm really enjoying it. For steaming, I used a turkey pan on the stove with a wire rack on some tin foil balls with water in the bottom and the lid snugly on top. Worked great!

                                          Thanks for the great recipe. You rock!

                                           
                                          1. re: BigRockingMike

                                            That picture looks fantastic - real food porn! (kinda sliced thick, though... just kidding!)

                                            1. There is a couple of replies on this thread discussing weight vs no weight (and as I said, its what I do as part of the method). Not being a molecular scientist, I can't say for sure if this would have solved the curing issue. It might or might not.
                                            I think theres a lot going on in the curing process thats very difficult to guage: nitrite distribution, salt absorption, porosity of the brisket, temperatures, absorption gradients, etc etc. I think curing is a factor time and all these items, any of which can be (somewhat) different from one curing to another.
                                            I'd be interested to hear if you do everything the same and weight it, if you get different (better) results.
                                            If you don't (or can't) weight it, simply let it cure a couple more days for a through and through cure.

                                            2. Yeah overcooking will prevent getting real thin slices - the meat will want to crumble as you say.
                                            Its brisket, so we want low and slow to make it tender. My method includes a long steam the day after (BGM says you could do same day) which adds to the overall cooking time ("tenderizing" the meat).
                                            So perhaps take the meat out of the smoker at 170F (well into the "safe" zone as "cooked") then let the steaming do the balance of the low&slow.
                                            At least this is the theory - play around with it to get EXACTLY what you want.

                                            I ask about the relation tounge-in-cheek: you're BigRockingMike and he's biggreenmatt.

                                            All this talk is giving me cravings....

                                      2. re: porker

                                        Just received my instacure today so started my first trial run based on your recipe! Will let you know how it turns out.

                                        1. re: Razhug

                                          Welcome, Razhug!
                                          Just curious how you came across this thread?
                                          Let us know how it turns out.

                                          1. re: porker

                                            Through google searching for montreal smoked meat

                                            1. re: Razhug

                                              I only ask as I see its your first post on Chowhound; you took the time and effort to sign up and post!
                                              Welcome again, merry christmas, happy new year, and I'm looking forward to hear about your smoked meat adventures (fails and successes alike).

                                        2. re: porker

                                          Hey All -

                                          Eric here from Northern California.

                                          Ok - this thread is awesome.

                                          Followed Porker's recipe, done curing, done rinsing, done smoking, and it is on my BGE for another five hours wrapped in foil at 250. Steaming tomorrow for 6 hours at 250 in a foil roasting pan - brisket above the water on racks.

                                          As I was just going back through everything it has suddenly dawned on me that I forgot to put sugar in my cure - arrgh! Is this going to be a problem and or will the curing process have been compromised??

                                          Also - there was one post that led me to believe that the brisket itself should be wrapped in foil while steaming in the roasting pan - is this the case, or should it be unwrapped (with the pan being wrapped, of course)?

                                          Lastly - given my fridge shelves are not high enough to accommodate a twelver on the meat - I just used flat weights from a weight set. Two, 10lb weights with another 5lb weight spanning those. Worked great.

                                          Please let me know thoughts on no sugar in my cure - thank you!! Hoping after all this effort, that sugar was not a absolute key ingredient in the chemical process!!!

                                          Here are the pics thus far. Will report on the final after tomorrow's feast.

                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                          1. re: EricBGE

                                            Sugar reduces salty taste in the final product but won't interfere with the cure. You may have to scrape and soak before steaming. But try a sample first, cutting off a corner and steam it, to see if it is too salty.

                                            1. re: jayt90

                                              Thanks - I did do the 3 hour rinse process - changing out the water every 30 mins. prior to smoking. You are suggesting another possible rinse?

                                              1. re: EricBGE

                                                It should be OK with your extensive rinse. But you should check anyway, maybe by pan frying 1 oz. If it tastes like a salt bomb, scrape and rinse the entire slab. Most of the salt overload would be on the surface, as the meat won't take excessive amounts, sort of a built in regulator.

                                                I suspect you will be OK, but do the test.

                                                1. re: jayt90

                                                  Snort. After waiting 2 weeks for the damn thing to cure, there's no point in not proceeding, and never mind the lack of sugar!

                                                  I just chuck my briskets in the steamer for a gentle treatment for 2-3 hours, unwrapped.

                                                  Good luck!

                                                  1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                    Oh believe me - no intention of NOT proceeding! Am psyched to see how it turns out. And this thing smells unbelievably great at this point.

                                                    Wondering why Porker did the steam for 6 hours (the roasting pan steamer method) as opposed to just 3?

                                                    But mine came out of the BGE hotter than I would have expected (190 degrees), so thinking only 3 hours tomorrow will be ok..

                                                    1. re: EricBGE

                                                      porker here,
                                                      sorry, I spent yesterday prepping for a dinner party (21 people, 2 slow-roasted prime rib sliced and finished on hardwood charcoal (balmy -7C and dark at 6:00pm) along with marinated asparagus, stuffed mashed potatoes, and pleurotte mushrooms, but I digress).

                                                      Missing sugar ain't the end of the world. It has some curing properties, but its the pink salt which does the heavy lifting. Like I always say, take notes on your method to improve and hone next time.

                                                      Steaming.
                                                      Unwrapped.
                                                      As I say, MSM isn't an exact science. Its a low&slow approach to make tender. Not enough of a steam, it'll remain somewhat tough. Too much steam, it'll be overdone and crumbly. Whats too much, whats not enough? Depends...size of brisket, prior handling (smoking/baking), etc.
                                                      3 hours may be what you're looking for; take it out and slice a bit. Too tough, put it back in the steamer.

                                                      I assume its a done deal by now, looking forward to your final results & thoughts.

                                                      1. re: porker

                                                        Thanks, Porker! Been in the steam for just over an hour. Bro-in-law, nephews showing up any minute to join me and my son for a meat-fest. It looked and smelled incredible when I pulled it out of the fridge...

                                                        Will certainly update!!!

                                                        1. re: EricBGE

                                                          yo eric, just curious, what brings a california guy to montreal smoked meat?

                                                          1. re: porker

                                                            Ok All - here is the report!

                                                            First off, Porker - to answer your Norcal question. I saw a piece about MSM in the latest Saveur magazine listing the top 100 food-related items for 2012. It featured the the guy in NYC who came from Montreal and opened a restaurant that serves MSM. Sounded so friggin' good that I started researching and came across this most excellent blog. So thank you again!!

                                                            So I limited my steam to three hours, which was perfect. Texture was amazing and everyone was blown away at how good it was.

                                                            But being my own worst critic - it was too salty and a bit too strong in the pepper department. And I am a big fan of salty and savory flavors.

                                                            We served on marbled rye - which was a great thing given there was a slightly sweet flavor in the rye which totally complemented the salty/peppery/pickle/sauerkraut/mustard flavors. Served with roasted potatoes and kale sautéed with bacon and onions - wicked good meal!!!

                                                            Here are the final pics!

                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                            1. re: EricBGE

                                                              The pictures look fantastic! Cured through & throuh, deep red. I especially like the 3rd picture with the streaks of fat. My favorite prep is on steamed kimmel rye (with the seeds) and mustard. The marbled rye looks cool.

                                                              Saltiness still challenges me;
                                                              Sometimes the balance is very good, sometimes very salty and with the same recipe/method/size. I am generally lowering the amount of salt in the cure recipe as I go along.

                                                              I assume the NYC place is Mile End? I followed it on CH for awhile.

                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                Yes, Mile End is the place.

                                                                I neglected to include this pic in the others. You want fat streaks - here you go!!

                                                                 
                                                                1. re: EricBGE

                                                                  This thread is over a year old, so I don't remember every word I posted, but your last picture reminded me; slicing a whole brisket can be tricky.
                                                                  Ideally, you want to cut across the grain, but the muscle groups run different ways so its impossible to get consistent across-the-grain slices. basically I do my best and choose the largest muscle in the slice to determine cutting. When the piece gets whittled down, I'll flip and turn until its across the grain as much as possible...

                                                                  Just FYI (maybe its in the Saveur article) Mile End is a neighbourhood in Montreal. Funny thing is the two most famous smoked meat joints, Schwartz's and The Main are south of Mile End in the Plateau-Mont-Royale area. I don't even know of any smoked meat joints in Mile End...
                                                                  But then again, Mile End is a much better restaurant name in NYC; I can imagine New Yorkers getting pissed off at the pronounciation of "Plateau-Mont-Royale" - hehe.

                                                                2. re: porker

                                                                  Solution to the salt problem: soak in a bigger vessel. When I changed from pouring H2O into the (gigantic) ziplock to filling and draining my oversized sink, it made a world of difference. Trust.

                                                                  Speaking of higher temp smoking, I was dumb and let the temp creep up (I no longer do half smoker/half oven- strictly smoker now), so it was a little overlooked, but with one massive advantage: MSM burnt ends. Ridiculously incredibly staggering good.

                                                                  1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                    No lack of vessel at this end. I rinsed in a big farm sink and was changing the water out every 30 mins - per El Porker. I definitely plan on cutting back on the salt next time. Still stupid tasty though - and I am going to do make the burnt ends happen next time!!

                                                                    BTW, Matt - I use something that really works well on my BGE to regulate pit temp and monitor meat temp. Called the BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2 - Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/amsb534

                                                                     
                                                                    1. re: EricBGE

                                                                      Heh. My response was for Señor Porker- your issue was the lack of sugar which, as previously mentioned, cuts the salt.

                                                                      And a BBQ Guru's been on my list for a while- however the missus bought us a copy of Modernist Cuisine at Home, and my dollars have gone towards toys to stock my"modernist" kitchen. Soon, though.

                                                                      1. re: EricBGE

                                                                        I don't have a BGE, but I saw you showing off your gadget in the 5th picture of your first post!
                                                                        It did not go un-noticed, sly dog Eric - hehe.
                                                                        {;-/)

                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                          I would LOVE to have one, but damn are they expensive...

                                                                          1. re: Zalbar

                                                                            Without devolving into hyperbole, BGE's have to be seen as an investment due to their versatility and durability.

                                                                            Durability: they last forever. Only thing you'll have to change is the gasket, from time to time.

                                                                            Versatility: the BGE isn't a barbecue. It's an ordinary grill (lid open), a smoker (low temp), a coal-fueled convection barbecue (lid closed), a coal-fueled convection oven (lid closed, place-setter on) and a high-temp searer (I've buried the dial at over 900F). Damn thing's amazing and is the best cooking tool I've bought in the last 5 years.

                                                                            And what's more: I smoke my MSM on it!

                                                                            1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                              Oh hell ya, I know. I love the things to death. Wish I had a place for one, but ground floor apartment, no way am I leaving something like that lying around. Granted you'd need a truck to haul it off, but still...

                                              2. re: porker

                                                I know it's late in my process to ask...but would like advice as to the wood to use.

                                                I screwed up and do not have maple.

                                                I have alder and hickory.

                                                Should I use one, the other, or a combination?

                                                The rinsed/dried/re-peppered brisket is tucked in for the night.....and tomorrow, we smoke!

                                                1. re: Monch

                                                  I would use hickory. Be sure to post pics

                                                  1. re: Monch

                                                    You did not screw up. I use maple 'cause I like maple. Use *your* favorite; alder, hickory, or a combination.

                                                    And yeah, post picts, please.

                                                    1. re: porker

                                                      Maple is mild compared to hickory or alder. It is generally too subtle for my taste.
                                                      I would start with hickory, and try adding alder when the hickory expires.

                                                      1. re: porker

                                                        Many thanks.

                                                        Hickory it shall be. The brisket is going into the smoker shortly. Attached is a pic.

                                                        The meat is longer than the Bradley is wide. I will be using my bacon hooks to smoke it vertically...thick side down.

                                                        More later

                                                         
                                                        1. re: Monch

                                                          Just my 2c; I like to whizz the peppercorns and coriander seeds in a blender or food processor (mortar & pestle seems to take forever) before rubbing the brisket. I get a coarse grind which helps to stick and no whole seeds in the final product.

                                                          1. re: porker

                                                            You know, I did that....

                                                            Two cups of peppercorns and one cup of coriander seeds into the Cuisinart.

                                                            Pulsed for a GOOD long while and that was the result.

                                                            On the grind for the brine, I got out my hand-cranked grain mill...from my home-brewing days...and sent the spices through that, at a set grind specification.

                                                            Should have done that here, but was too lazy to haul up the grain mill.

                                                            1. re: Monch

                                                              OK, from the picture, the kernels look whole.

                                                              Looking forward to picts when cut.

                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                Yes, a lot of them are whole....I'll get out the grain mill, next time!

                                                                In the Bradley as I type. Had to cut in half....too wide to go in horizontally and too long to hang....first world problems, here...

                                                                The cut ends look good, to me:

                                                                 
                                                                 
                                                                1. re: Monch

                                                                  In the big outdoor fridge (Wisconsin garage) since yesterday afternoon.

                                                                  Tonight....WE STEAM!

                                                                  1. re: Monch

                                                                    You *can* cheat and taste a bit of it now.

                                                                    I'm getting a hankeing for MSM now...

                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                      Dude! I should have cheated fresh out of the oven, yesterday!

                                                                      I thought that these were hard, fast, inviolable rules!

                                                                      (Wink, wink)

                                                                      My preference will be to pile slices onto a hearty, seeded rye bread...topping with stone ground mustard.

                                                                      What is the authentic presentation? My memory is not perfect, from my travels.

                                                                      1. re: Monch

                                                                        Authentic presentation is rye bread and yellow mustard.

                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                            Much to the chagrin of most Americans, "authentic" (meaning the smoked meat in Montreal) is plain yellow mustard, something like French's.
                                                                            And yes, rye bread, although I prefer a seeded rye myself (kimmel).

                                                                            But have fun and use whatever you like.

                                                                            I see your fav meal is pastrami on rye....you should have a ball tonight.
                                                                            On the remote possibility of having too much leftovers, chopped up with potato and onion - a smoked meat hash - is also delicious.

                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                              There are two of us.

                                                                              The brisket started at 12.5 pounds. I trimmed about 1.5 pounds of fat, before brining.....there will be leftovers.

                                                                              Tonight will be sandwiches, from the thiner end of the brisket....the "flat"?....my terminology is not tuned, yet. The very much thicker end will be vacuum sealed for future enjoyment, and frozen.

                                                                              My wive loves hash and I'm sure tonight's leftovers will find a loving home.

                                                                              Oh, and no chagrin. Everything has its place, even plain yellow mustard.

                                                                              Final pictures to follow.

                                                                              1. re: Monch

                                                                                The flavor was fabulous!

                                                                                My wife absolutely loved it and my sandwiches were fantastic.

                                                                                Not too salty, but could still taste the salt. Nice!

                                                                                Like a cross between a delicately corned brisket lightly smoked as pastrami....wow!

                                                                                I think I screwed up the cook, though. It would NOT slice, despite using a sharp carving knife. It wanted to shred, instead. I am afraid that I let the temp get too high, while it was in the oven.

                                                                                When I took the halves out, the five-hour temp of the thicker portion was 195F. That is at least ten degrees higher than I would have let a pork shoulder get. Not sure if that translates well to beef.

                                                                                It was like I allowed all the connective tissue, that would have held the slices together, to cook away. Any thoughts?

                                                                                In any event, we have some DAMN tasty beef for sandwiches and hash!

                                                                                Here are the pics:

                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                1. re: Monch

                                                                                  I had the same problem as you. I found the flat shredded whereas the fattier point could be cut. It will be interesting to hear whether the point slices better once you cut it. I think it gets shredded because there isn't enought fat and/or it is over cooker. I don't think your internal temp is too high, from what I read with usual bbq brisket the IT should be around 200-203. Poker is the expert, so we'll see what he thinks.

                                                                                  1. re: setton

                                                                                    "...Poker is the expert..."
                                                                                    I assume you mean me...I'm flattered, but I'm by far not an expert. I just happened to come across this technique years ago and responded to biggreenmatt's quest.

                                                                                    Anyway, I don't have a definitive answer to why the meat crumbled. I *think* its a combination of the cut of meat (the flat) and the cooking times.
                                                                                    Its also not an exact science as briskets are not created equally.
                                                                                    I would say to choose a whole brisket with the most marbling (as opposed to a lean one) and go with that. But its not that simple. Usually whole brisket is sold in cryovac and theres no way to see the marbling. Sometimes you have to order the brisket from a butcher and you get what you get. Sometimes you don't want to use a whole brisket...
                                                                                    Perhaps if you ask for USDA Prime or Canada AAA, you may get the marbling? Or, just fiddle with your technique until you get what you want...

                                                                                    In one of my first posts upthread, I suggest smoking for 3-4 hours followed by another 5 hours at temp. The next day 3 or 6 hours steaming.
                                                                                    This is a total cooking time of 11 or 12 or 14 or 15 hours depending on various times.
                                                                                    Perhaps I should have noted internal temps to better quantify the process, but alas, did not (but I plan on this next time around).

                                                                                    This is for a *whole* brisket and it generally came out
                                                                                    good. I start slicing from the fat end and work my way to
                                                                                    the thinner (flat) end. Sometimes the flat is somewhat
                                                                                    crumbly.
                                                                                    The same smoking/cooking times with a thinner, leaner flat portion might be the cause of crumbling.

                                                                                    In general, this is how I feel;
                                                                                    3-4 hours of smoke isn't overly long to flavor the brisket, so maybe don't skimp on this.
                                                                                    There should be a balance between the after-smoke cooking time and the steaming time.
                                                                                    You want to steam a) to re-heat and b) to do the final cooking/tenderizing. However, steaming tends to wash out the smokiness. Too long a steam you lose the smokineness. Too short a steam may affect tenderness.

                                                                                    For your same cut, I would suggest a 3-4 hour smoke followed by a foil-wrapped 4 hours at about 220F-250F. 7 to 8 hours for an initial cook might be good.
                                                                                    Give it a test-slice and get a feel for it.
                                                                                    Next day, maybe steam for an hour and test-slice it. Continue until you're happy with the texture.

                                                                                    However, your curing looks fantastic: rosy red throughout. Plus you're approaching the flavor profile you're looking for.

                                                                                    I know this is an involved process, not something you'll do every week until you get it exactly as you want. This is why I always suggest making notes. They'll pay off six months down the line when making another trial run.

                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                      Many thanks for the thoughtful and thorough reply, Porker.

                                                                                      It sounds like I'm close to "spot on", from a flavor profile perspective. It's just a little peppery and the coriander comes through nicely.

                                                                                      (Coriander is, I am finding, a very common spice for cured meat. I made "biltong", a South African jerky-like product, and coriander was the spice.)

                                                                                      I am fortunate that I have the point, un-steamed, in the fridge. I will play around with the steaming on that.

                                                                                      Through all of this, the ONLY...ONLY....problem I have had is the texture.

                                                                                      The details:
                                                                                      - Cryo-vacced 12.5# brisket from Costco
                                                                                      - Trimmed a good amount of surface fat to expose the muscle to the brine
                                                                                      - Brined for two full weeks, weighted...forgot to turn on several of those days
                                                                                      - Rinsed and soaked per instructions
                                                                                      - Dried and peppered/coriandered per instructions, weighted and fridged
                                                                                      - Cut the brisket in half, to fit in the Bradley smoker
                                                                                      - Three hours of hickory/alder smoke at a 250F setting....though the smoker struggled to get/stay there in the Wisconsin winter temps.
                                                                                      - Out of smoker, foil wrapped, into a 250F oven for five hours
                                                                                      - Out of oven, point at 195F internal, for an overnight chill
                                                                                      - Steamed one hour next day...flat only....so far.
                                                                                      - Cut and eat....DELICIOUS!

                                                                                      1. re: Monch

                                                                                        Sooo, you don't have to make notes - just hope this thread does not disappear into the ether by next time. Hehe.

                                                                                        If the ONLY problem is texture, I'd say it was a success.

                                                                                        So the point underwent the entire process except steaming?
                                                                                        Just for the hell of it, try test-slicing cold to see where you're at (maybe do it without the wife knowing...eat the slices yourself).

                                                                                        I mentioned in some other thread that I found Katz's pastrami similar to Montreal smoked meat. Another poster said no way, MSM packs a powerful clovey/coriander punch which he did not like. This may be true and partially what makes the two different.
                                                                                        I like the clovey/coriander punch.

                                                                                        I'm really starting to jones homemade MSM now.
                                                                                        Alas, I think my next cure will be plain corned beef for St. Patricks.

                                                                                        Off topic, I have a pork tenderloin air drying since November as capicola. A nice white mold is starting to take.
                                                                                        I also have a rib roast going on 60 days dry aging.

                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                          Clove also....YES!

                                                                                          I agree with the flavor description, Porker. That's what I'm getting. Even MORE ratification of the sucess....texture aside.

                                                                                          Yes, both flat and point got the exact treatment...they only parted ways prior to their trip to the Bradley. But the flat was steamed and the point was just fridged.

                                                                                          I think that's brilliant...I will slice some point and see what I get....without steaming. Maybe put the slices on the griddle and cover with an SS bowl after hitting with some water...defacto steamer!

                                                                                          More later!

                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                            Yep - this is getting me all fired up to do it again.

                                                                                            I am going to have to look into the process of the air-dried loin - love capicola.

                                                                                            What I just got done doing on Super Bowl weekend was curing a 5lb pork belly, and then smoking for 9 hours over mahogany. The resulting bacon is fantastic. Had to include some in the Bloody Caesars on the stem which I served up. Otherwise, vacuum-packed the rest!

                                                                                             
                                                                                             
                                                                                            1. re: EricBGE

                                                                                              Looks great!

                                                                                              Speaking of belly (and off-topic again), I'd suggest making this roast belly recipe by Derek Dammann:
                                                                                              http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/C...
                                                                                              D-E-C-A-D-E-N-T

                                                                                              As for the capicola (or as they say in The Sopranos gabagool
                                                                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5fmz5...
                                                                                              )I didn't make a true version. I think real capicola is from the shoulder, seasoned, shaped and formed into a beef bung to cure.
                                                                                              I seasoned a loin and used this in the bung, pressed for some time, put into netting and hung to cure.
                                                                                              Probably give it a try next month.

                                                                                    2. re: Monch

                                                                                      How long did you steam? I have had that happen with corned beef. I lucked out with my MSM, stayed sliceable...

                                                                                      1. re: EricBGE

                                                                                        One hour, per instructions....right on the nose.

                                                                                        1. re: Monch

                                                                                          Interesting - my (Porker) instructions say 3-4 hours? But I would think it would potentially break down even further if you would have gone that long, if there was a tendency towards flaking...

                                                                                          1. re: EricBGE

                                                                                            You're right...the instructions say three hours of steam, and I only did one hour.

                                                                                            I will steam the point longer, when I get that far.

                                                                                            1. re: Monch

                                                                                              Maybe you only have to steam enough to re-warm. Maybe try it after an hour and go from there?

                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                Maybe after the smoke, cook it less, maybe 2 hours. Then steam 2-3 hours to break down connective tissue.

                                                                                                Also, MSM does tend to fall apart a bit. They use all the odds and ends in poutine, spaghetti, hash, pizza, etc.

                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                  Mmm. Now I'm getting a hankering, too. Still convinced that an overnight in the sous vide will do more for the brisket than steaming, but Imma have to try it to find out.

                                                                                                  Sigh. Meat.

                                                                                              2. re: Monch

                                                                                                Sorry, me again.

                                                                                                Night and day; flat to point.

                                                                                                Just steamed and cut the point. In the steam, I brought it just up to 190F and turned off the heat.

                                                                                                Let it rest for about a half hour and the result was even better than I could have hoped.

                                                                                                Juicy, with enough structure to allow for slicing. Still all the spice notes that were in the flat.

                                                                                                The first thing my wife said was "That first piece can go for hash"

                                                                                                I cannot thank everyone enough for the information that they donated to this thread...with an obvious special "click of the sharpening steel" to Porker.

                                                                                                This was NOT easy...it was not cheap, but attention to the details and a rock solid recipe turned out some great results.

                                                                                                Photos attached

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                 
                                                                                                 
                                                                                                1. re: Monch

                                                                                                  I found the same thing with my point vs the flat. I think next time I may cut it like you did and cook them based on IT and assume the flat will be ready much quicker since it is almost half as thick

                                                                                                  1. re: setton

                                                                                                    Could not agree more.

                                                                                                    The differences in the two outcomes is stunning.

                                                                                                  2. re: Monch

                                                                                                    Now THAT is a beautiful thing;
                                                                                                    fantastic, fully cured reddish color.
                                                                                                    glistening, juicy meat.
                                                                                                    great band of intramuscular fat (lotsa flavor there).
                                                                                                    blackened, "old-fashioned" exterior.
                                                                                                    Food porn plain & simple.

                                                                                                    My only complaint is that raggety-ass line of mustard, WHADDYATRYING TO DO MONCH?
                                                                                                    Just kidding, hehe, everything looks great!

                                                                                                    It IS quite involved, but I don't think its very difficult. The multi-step process is more a pain in the ass.

                                                                                                    Good job Monch!

                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                      Thanks for the good words...It's great to have the feedback.

                                                                                                      You're spot on...none of the steps are particularly difficult...just lots of them...

                                                                                                      Point = sammies
                                                                                                      Flat = Hash
                                                                                                      MSM = Deliciousness
                                                                                                      Deliciousness = Happy wife!

                                                                                                      Later.

                                                              2. re: porker

                                                                Hi porker, and Hi all!
                                                                I have read your recepe and just one think i want to make sure i have understand.
                                                                you don't marinate your meet right? you only put your rub on and rap with plastic and put on fridge. And you place a pan because the moisture gonna pass truth the plastic film and drop on the fridge. That's correct?

                                                                Sorry, I'am french canadian and my english is not so good :)

                                                                1. re: Jonney

                                                                  Jonney,

                                                                  Don't apologize...my French is terrible, so I won't even try.

                                                                  Yes: Only rub and wrap in plastic.

                                                                  Correct: Because you cannot completely seal the brisket, by wrapping, you must put in a container/pan.

                                                                  Follow Porker's recipe....to the letter...and you'll be amazed!!

                                                                  C'est tres bon!!!!!!

                                                                  1. re: Monch

                                                                    Thanks for your help!
                                                                    On one hand i know i can use plastic wrap like porker and it will work. But on the other i'am still confuse.

                                                                    What exactly is the goal of the wrapping?
                                                                    Retain moisture? But not all? Remove air exposure?

                                                                    When using plastic wrap the moisture goes out a bit with time, that really what we want? if i use a big vacuum bag it will be better?

                                                                    And why not just put in the fridge without any wrap, just like ( i think ) they do with jerky and other kind of curing.

                                                                    Biggreenmatt: When using ziploc, i you try to remove maximum air from it? And if i understand, you use a pan only in case the bag broke?

                                                                    I just order instacure, I can't wait to start curing!

                                                                    And just for fun, there is a picture of my poutine with Schwartz's smoke meet! also caramelized onion, red pepper, peperoni, cheese curd topped with spicy meet sauce and gratin with mozzarella :) mmmmmm

                                                                    Thanks for help!

                                                                     
                                                                    1. re: Jonney

                                                                      The reason you wrap it is because you want the meat to be soaking in the brine. This is also why you need to be flipping it every other day at minimum. You do want to get as much air as possible out of it. Vacuum sealing is even better.

                                                                      Without a sealed environment you are drying out the meat, which isn't what you're going for. That's fine if you're making/hanging saucisson sec, bresaola, etc but not for bacon.

                                                                      1. re: Zalbar

                                                                        Thanks Zalbar!

                                                                        So its like a cross between dry curing and wet curing. The goal is to let the meet sit in is own juice, with no air contact.

                                                                        Thanks!

                                                                        1. re: Jonney

                                                                          Bonjour Jonney,
                                                                          I've been working alot lately and don't get to CH much these days (In fact just finished work and its 3am...).

                                                                          Anyway, it seems like these fine folks answered your questions.

                                                                          I'll add my 2c...
                                                                          I like to weigh down my curing smoked meat (put weight on it while in the fridge). It may or may not be required, but I feel it helps curing by physically stressing the meat. Again, this may false, but I do it.
                                                                          If the meat was not wrapped, the weight (case of beer, plywood with a coupla 10lb weights, flat of diet pepsi, whatever) will come into contact with the meat - BAD. The cure would also be rubbed off to some extant.

                                                                          Plastic wrap or giant ziplock, your choice.

                                                                          Bon chance!

                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                            Thanks for your advice.
                                                                            I receive my instacure yesteday, and i go to my favorite butcher to buy a 21 day aged whole brisket. Its already in the fridge with the rub.

                                                                            I'am surprise by how much rub i get with your recipe!
                                                                            One small concern about the rub, i crush the pepercorn but not the coriander seeds...i hope this is not a big deel??

                                                                            A+

                                                                            1. re: Jonney

                                                                              Hey Jonney,
                                                                              I prefer to crush the coriander as I feel it releases more of its oils, aromas, etc.
                                                                              But hey, its not a big deal for the curing aspect. Maybe consider crushing (pulsing in a blender a bit) the coriander/peppercorn final rub.

                                                                              Just a thought; this type of prep, I believe, was created to help preserve meat at a time when refrigeration wasn't around. Those early folks perhaps did not worry too much about aging or Grade AAA - they were just trying to save the meat.
                                                                              Now I'm not saying a dry-aged brisket won't work, I'm just wondering if the added cost would be justified.
                                                                              Maybe, if you are happy with the results and repeat this little experiment, try it with a run-of-the-mill brisket next time and compare with your dry-aged brisket. I'd be interested in the results.

                                                                              Try to take notes of your steps along the way, they'll help out next time.

                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                Good idea, i will crush the coriander for the last rub.

                                                                                I'am not suprise you tell me this about the aging of the meat. I feel its nice to use, but the main reason its because its the only one my butcher have when i go there.

                                                                              2. re: Jonney

                                                                                I think it is a waste to use a nice aged brisket for this. The whole purpose is to use a flavorful but tough cut of meat.

                                                                    2. re: Jonney

                                                                      God I wish my French was better; your English is far superior to my French.

                                                                      No marinade or liquid brining- it's a dry-cure, which will leach moisture out of the meat, requiring the pan. Also, it goes into a gigantic plastic ziploc bag, not wrapped in plastic-wrap.

                                                                      Good luck!

                                                                      1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                        Now I'm getting a hankering for brisket..... may need to call up my butcher to order me some...

                                                                        1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                          BGM,

                                                                          In general, where do gigantic zip bags come from?

                                                                          I'm in Wisconsin, and the largest I can find are two-gallon, at my local large grocery store. They are GREAT for brining porkbelly, for bacon.

                                                                          However, I'm quite certain that my Costco brisket would not fit in a two-gallon.

                                                                          1. re: Monch

                                                                            I go to Walmart and pick up their XL and XXL ziplock storage bags.

                                                                            Do they say "food safe"? No. Can I imagine that there's any difference between the food safe stuff and the non? No.

                                                                            1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                              Resourceful AND practical!

                                                                              I'm impressed.

                                                                              1. re: biggreenmatt

                                                                                Actually there is difference between food safe and ones that don't say food safe. They are made of different types of plastic.

                                                                                I have a box of the extra large storage bags and it says "not safe for food" on the box in tiny print. So I looked it up and found that you have to make sure you use food safe bags, especially when salts, cure,oils or acids are in the bag with food. Or for extended periods of time. (More than 30-60 minutes.)

                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                  You do need to be somewhat careful, but as far as I know Ziplock (that specific brand) are all food safe.

                                                                        2. re: porker

                                                                          Basically did this recipe though with a point cut brisket, used the oven to steam and added a little mustard powder and smoked paprika to the rub. Smoked with mostly hickory with a little mesquite mixed in.

                                                                          I'm trying to do a Toronto smoked meat since Caplansky dropped the ball. I miss those Monarch sandwiches. The next one I do I'll mess around with the rub some more and tweak the smoking.

                                                                          So thanks for posting the recipe! It worked nicely.

                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                           
                                                                          1. re: lister

                                                                            Glad things worked out.
                                                                            Thats the beauty of tinkering; you can get what YOU want.