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help! Montreal smoked meat from scratch!

biggreenmattbiggreenmatt Posts: 67
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum

My Montreal inlaws are coming into town this weekend and I'm attempting Montreal smoked meat on my large BGE, and what's more, I'm doing it from scratch.

As it's a first attempt, I'm using a 5.5 lb "flat" of brisket, rather than the full 12 lbs of a full double-brisket. I'm aware it may not be as heavenly fatty as would be on a double, but it's also a less-expensive mistake to make if I screw it up, which is a distinct possibility.

This is my plan of attack, for which any advice, tips or warnings would be greatly appreciated.


To my 5.5 flat, adding the following cure:

4c water;
1c Tenderquick (nitrates)
3tb pickling spices;
6-8 cloves of garlic.

Refrigerate for 24 hours. Flip and refrigerate again for 24 hours. Flip and refrigerate another 24 hours. Remove and throw away cure. Rinse well. (I assume I can skip the soaking part, as I'm using nitrates and not salt- please let me know if I'm dreaming)


Set the egg for 200-225, using mesquite. Top the brisket with equal parts cracked coriander and black pepper. Throw it in the egg. After 4 hours have passed, no need to replace chips and/or chunks (if I can find chunks in Toronto on short notice). Smoke until internal temp of 180-185 (about 8-10 hours? Montreal smoked meat should collapse). Let rest for a few hours or overnight.


Steam for 3 hours. Hand-slice. Serve on rye with mustard.

I adore and despair for finding a proper source of Montreal smoke meat. Egghead opinions appreciated.

And for anyone who's never been introduced to the majesty that is the Montreal version of the smoked meat product, you may find your answers here:


  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,704
    Hard to find a recipe isn't it? I would lose the mesquite and go with maple for the smoke. You probably don't even need the smoke. I would use pickling spice and montreal steak spice. I would go to about 180 internal amd put it in a pan on a drip rack and put beer and beef stock in the pan and steam it to around 200. Montreal Smoked meat is always steamed. Slice it as thin as you can by hand or use a meat slicer. Not sure on the quantity of curing salt but I think that sounds heavy for 5.5 pounds.



    Caledon, ON


  • Very hard to find a recipe, so I'm trying to work with the cooking principles more than focusing on finding a recipe.

    The cure is what I understand as being industry-standard at a 4:1 ratio of water to cure. If it sounds heavy, what would you suggest? Will a soak make a difference?

    I think you're right about the maple smoke, though. I'mma try that, instead.

    Man, it's killer- now I'm craving smoke meat.
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,704
    I am not sure having never cured anything. I thought it was lower but someone else should chime in. Where are you located?



    Caledon, ON


  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Tenderquick is a premixed cure, not straight nitrite/nitrate. It is mostly sugar and salt. The amount sounds about right
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • CPBCPB Posts: 133 can I make it from the typical packaged corned beef and how different is is from MSM?
  • MCRMCR Posts: 270
    Smoke meat and pastrami still on my list of thing to do. So these comments are not from experience but rather than from observation.

    A typical deli would use cold and vacuum seal meat. The steam is mainly to warm and moist the meat as prep. Most of the time the curing and smoking would be done prior and off-site. The atmosphere would not be the same if I would see my pre-slice smoke meat going into a microwave before been serving. At the speed they are serving the meat, I don't think it in the steamer anything close to 3 hours. Personally, you could probably serve the meat after the smoking stage. If you refrigerate, them the steaming would be required. But reading the mentioned website, the steaming is part of the process.

    If they are coming from Montreal, I would ask them to get me some Montreal smoke meat.

    Please, document and post the experience.

    Good Luck.
  • Done and done, Marc.

    Today is Day One: meat meets cure in the proportions I already mentioned.. Today, Wednesday and Thursday are curing days (flipping the meat morning and night). Soak on Friday (dry overnight and add speck- cracked coriander, black pepper and something- maybe brown sugar). Smoke with maple on Saturday and steam and serve on Sunday.

    If it works out, I'm going to try it with a full double, but I'm going to have a problem finding a container big enough to hold it. Might have to pull a Jeff Steingarten and empty out a vegetable crisper to pull it off.
  • nuynainuynai Posts: 101
    Type this in on your search engine-Daigle's Montreal Smoked Brisket. The recipe is posted on Never tried it but it may be helpful.
    Sorry, I"m not sure how to post it on this site.
    Let us know how it turns out. Good luck.
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 26,704

    Apologies for the cure thing. I have read a fair bit about curing and I guess, as stike pointed out, that I was thinking about straight curing salts.



    Caledon, ON


  • sbmfjsbmfj Posts: 37
    any updates biggreenmat? I wanna tackle this as well over the summer, even though I live in MTL and can get the real stuff 24/7!
  • Finished the smoke meat this weekend- good first attempt (and certainly edible) but it didn't turn into the moist, fall-apart goodness that I was gunning for.

    Am consulting with an expert in the field for a bit of forensic cooking advice, trying to figure out where things might've gone wrong and how to make it better next time.

    Will advise.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,244
    when you cook pastrami some will finish in a pressure cooker or foil with a little liquid. that will get you moist and fall apart if you go long enough. might be something to try
  • nuynainuynai Posts: 101
    Just changed places I get my pork belly from. This commercial guy told me 6 days of brining, which I did and it came out salty is too long. He does 3 and it was much better. IMHO, reason it was too dry is, as the salt dries meat out. Hope this helps.
  • Tried out the recipe this weekend: didn't produce the outcome that I was gunning for and the recipe needs fine-tuning. Decent product, but not the sublime excellence that is proper smoke meat.

    Have consulted with an expert in the field about the smoking and steaming process (which is where I think the experiment went wrong) and shall advise once I get a reply.
  • sbmfjsbmfj Posts: 37
    please keep us posted biggreenmat. I wanna tackle a smoked meat brisket this summer as well...

    What kind of brisket did you get, full or half?
  • Right. After a consult with the company that makes ReadyCure (the nitrate powder-solution) and doing more research online, I'm trying it again this weekend.

    Again using a half brisket (I asked for a point- they gave me a flat, the dirty bastards, and for sbmjf, I'm using halves for now because it makes for a less expensive fuckup) with a wet brine made up of a 1/2 gallon of water, 0.2 lb of ReadyCure (, 0.3 lb of kosher salt, a small handful of pickling spice and 5 garlic cloves.

    The plan is to cure for 3 days (flipping it 2x/day), steep in cold water for 12 hours (changing the water a few times to get rid of the saltiness), smoke over maple overnight at 250 to an internal temp of 190. The speck will be 5 parts crushed black pepper, 4 parts crushed coriander, 2 parts brown sugar, 1 part each of garlic and onion powders.

    I'm smoking it on Saturday night and I'll let y'all know how it goes.


    ps: there are very very very few MSM recipes online- there are, however, lots of smoked corned beef recipes, which appears to be the closest recipe analogy to MSM. Main difference, I think, is the maple-smoke and the spicy speck.
  • Tried it again this weekend- another partial fail.

    What worked: the cure was fine, resulting in a deep red colour and the 3x dunk in water made it much less salty than the first time. The egg performed brilliantly on the overnight smoke- it was locked at 225 all night. The fatty parts of the brisket were pretty good and had moments of greatness- nothing like maple-smoke infused fat. Those parts were decent enough but not so good as to make the real smoke meat joints worried about losing marketshare. The speck was decently peppery, but I'd almost think to increase that too, next time.

    What didn't work: I think I was stupid with the cut- the thickest 1/2 of the brisket was a good 3-4 inches; the thinnest only 1.5, so the internal temp varied significantly. The lean parts of the meat weren't good- tough, smoked meat, and wasn't appetising.

    All in all: disappointing.

    I'm wondering if the problem isn't the cut of meat I'm using- the halves instead of the full. With a full, proper brisket, there's the fat-cap on top and the middle layer of fat there to keep the meat moist. I think I'm going to give it one more shot- a full brisket on a full-day smoke, up to 190. See if that won't make a difference.

    I'll let anyone who's still paying attention know when I do.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 16,244
    did you finish it in a pressure cooker or steamer, pretty sure you need to do that, even pastrami is served steamed in the better places. if you have some left put some slices in a big coffee cup 3/4 full, add a quarter inch or so water, place a plate on top and put it in the nuke and steam it.
  • New breakthrough in the Quest for Montreal Smoke Meat, courtesy of Chowhound!
  • Right. I've got my THIRD brisket in a month curing in the fridge. Fortified by a trip to Caplansky's (one of the only restos in Toronto who can even come close to making proper smoked meat), I have a new plan of attack.

    First, I'm dry-curing a full 12 lb double brisket for just under two weeks with the following mix:

    1/2 c Readycure (1% nitrate)
    1/4 c kosher salt
    1/2 lb cracked black pepper
    1/4 lb sugar
    1/4 lb cracked coriander
    3 tb bay leaf powder
    3 tb clove

    I don't have a pan large enough to fit, so I threw it in an XL ziploc bag, actually meant for household storage.

    Curing for 10 days, flipping twice daily.

    On the 11th day a 3 hr soak, changing water every 1/2 hr to get rid of saltiness. Dry. Cover in rub that's 2:1 cracked pepper to cracked coriander, wrap in saran and refrigerate overnight.

    On the 12th day, smoke for 4 hours over maple at 250, then foil for another 5 hours. Let come to room temp and then refrigerate.

    On the 13th day, steam for 3 hours and then serve.

    I have a very, very good feeling about this one.
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