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Can you smoke a corned beef?

I had the genius idea to make corned beef and cabbage for the first time ever while at the grocery store. Unfortunately, when I got home my husband told me the smell of cooking corned beef makes him nauseous. Soooooo I am toying with the idea of trying to smoke it outside next weekend instead. It is a 4 pound cured brisket. Am I crazy?

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  1. You are NOT crazy. I've done it, and it turns out beautifully. I actually rubbed mine with cracked pepper and coriander seed and called it pastrami, but whatever you call it, it's delicious. You might want to soak some of the salt out before smoking, though.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Wahooty

      Wahooty-- how long did you smoke it? I would love to try this as I bought a smoker and hubby loves corned beef but not cooked in water.

      1. re: dimsumgirl

        I hate smelling it too, which is why I cook it in the oven, braised in Guinness!

        1. re: dimsumgirl

          No idea, honestly. I do my smoking on a kettle grill, and just fiddle with it trying to keep the fire going but the temperature low until the meat thermometer says it's done. Sometimes that means finishing the cooking in the oven...it's not the most reproducible method, but it's fun. :)

        2. Just bought a couple of lbs from our local BBQ place. He did it very subtly though.

          1. Njchicaa, this may be too late for the "wearing of the green", but here is a link to a discussion, I had with fourunder, about my different experiments with making smoked/barbecued corned beef: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/838041

            The pertinent subthread starts about halfway down and goes on for quite a bit. There's also some more when I came back some time later. Hope it it helps.

            5 Replies
            1. re: MGZ

              Thanks. I am planning to do it either tomorrow or Sunday so it isn't too late.

              1. re: MGZ

                MGZ and scoobadoo97,

                Have either of you uses Woodburner's approach?


                1. re: fourunder

                  Short answer: "Yes and No"

                  It's fundamentally the same technique we discussed the past couple years in the thread I linked above. It seems I have needed longer cooking times, which is most likely borne out of not maintaining the temperature of the chamber (or a faulty thermometer). I have not, however, tried woodburner's "pastrami rub" having opted to try more barbecue-y flavors.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    Woodburner advocates a straight smoke at 250f to an internal of 185-190.

                    I've done that but finish higher at 200-205

                    I still advise a steam finish which I think keeps it moist

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Spoken by a truly good and experienced grill man.

                2. This is the Weber Smokey Mountain recipe, but I've done it on a Weber Kettle using the charcoal snake method (stack two rows of briquettes around the perimiter of the grill, pile two more rows, and pile lit ones on the end of the "fuse." Lumps of wood on top of the snake.


                  1. I smoked some a couple weeks ago. Delicious.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Drool. Could you elaborate on everything please? Rub, temp, time. I WANT this, scoobie. Thanks.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        The first pic is a brisket I brined for 10 days using Rhulman's corned beef recipe. The second one was a Mosy brand prepared corned beef from Costco. Made a pastrami rub of ground coriander, mustard seeds, black pepper and salt. Used yellow mustard as the glue. The meat was coated for a day after a day of purging and a day of drying in the fridge.

                        Smoked at 225-250 over pecan wood until it hit 180 then steamed in the oven until it was 205 internal

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          Thanks. With the Costco one, did you rinse off and toss the included seasonings? I've FINALLY found a source for brisket out here on the Left Coast. It's been a challenge.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Soaked in water for a day. Didn't need the spice packet. The Mosy brand had a little over 1000 mg of salt per 4 oz. some of the ones I picked up yesterday had 450-500 mg and I usually soak those 8'hrs or so. Over night

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              Good advice; I appreciate it. Can't imagine not having a smoker now that we have one :)

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Steaming apparatus. Boiling water in the pan and in the oven at 250

                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                  Not quite getting these pix re asparagus.

                      2. Have 2 points in the smoker at the moment. Murphy brand on sale for $1.97 a pound. Gave them a thorough rinse and two soakings in water, tossed their spice packet, and gave them a rub of fresh ground pepper, coriander and Szechuan peppercorns. They are getting 2 hours of alder and hickory smoke and will be brought up to 160 in the smoker before being steamed to 195... Wish I could hurry the process up!

                        7 Replies
                          1. re: c oliver

                            big pot with a lid and a rack to keep them out of the water.

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                Scuba, you are too modest. Your smoked pastrami a week ago Sunday is still resonating in my cranium!

                                1. re: Veggo

                                  Just snacking on some of the cheeses you left behind while making dinner tonight.

                                  The pastrami is a favorite of mine. I love making it. It's so darn easy and so tasty. Glad you and Stefan enjoyed it

                                2. re: scubadoo97

                                  An asparagus steamer might work for beef sticks, but a tamale steamer or my pressure cooker with the inserts to hold the points out of the water work great... Most Mexican markets sell some big inexpensive steamer pots that will fill the bill.

                                  1. re: NVJims

                                    I was teasing c oliver but you are correct

                            1. I soaked it overnight in water, let it air dry in the fridge this morning, and coated it with yellow mustard, ground coriander, mustard seeds, kosher salt, and ground black pepper. We shall see how it turns out tomorrow!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Njchicaa


                                How did this work out for you? I want to try the same and could use some pointers on how long to pre-soak.


                              2. Usually I make pastrami every year or so from scratch. Corning the beef with cure and spices first. Then the spice rub and smoking.

                                Today I'm making "Quick" pastrami. The past few days there was a sale on thick, 5 lb., flat, corned beef briskets at the local A&P. Normally $5.99 lb. (Crazy price) on sale for $1.99, with $2 off coupons as well. So I got 10! five pounders for apx. $8 each.

                                I soaked two in several changes of water for 36 hours. The rest I froze as is, in the package. They keep forever and defrost just fine.

                                Then dried them and coated them heavily in a fresh ground black pepper/coriander seed mix, plus a bit of assorted herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, bay, etc.

                                I then vacuum packed them and let them sit dry marinating in the fridge for 48 hours.

                                I then pulled them out and let them air dry for several hours, and to come up to room temp.

                                I also put in a tray of partially smoked kosher salt. (Light.) And a tray of almost fully smoked sugar. (Dark) Since I hate to run the smoker without it being fully utilized.

                                I just put them in the smoker for 4 hours of hickory, and 1 hour of apple wood smoke. The smoker cabinet temp. is at 160F, with the controller set to get an IT of 150F and hold it until the smoke is done and it gets to temp.

                                Then I'll pull them and oven steam one and vacuum pack the other and freeze.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: JMF

                                  I can't believe you just posted this! I came on here looking for a tip or two on smoking a brisket like a pastrami! Thanks for the good advice!

                                2. Wahooty is more on than they apparently realize, if you take a corned beef put a pepper and spice crust on it and smoke it, you can not only CALL it pastrami, it IS pastrami. That's the only difference between the two.

                                  I actually pressure cook (pre-cook) the corned beef in my pressure cooker, then put a crust on it, then finish in the oven, but now that I've got a pressure smoker, I'm going to have to do it in there instead.