Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. What better time to smoke some corned beef brisket. This recipe is not a traditional corned beef but more of a corned beef pastrami hybrid.
The pepper crust and the smoked flavor of the pit elevates this brisket above the traditional boiled or braised corned beef.
After a good hit of smoke this corned beef is drowned in stout and covered to keep the brisket moist. Whether you're making sandwiches or serving this brisket alongside cabbage and potatoes this method will elevate your corned beef to another level.
What you'll need to smoke Corned Beef Brisket
Corned Beef Flat: The flat is leaner and better for slicing whereas the point tends to shred and crumble.
Whole Grain Mustard: any mustard you like will work. Stay away from a sweet mustard because the sugars can burn.
Stout Beer: we won't tell you which brand of stout to use but we recommend buying extra just to be safe.
Coarse Ground Black Pepper: Arron Franklin says that 16 mesh black pepper is the perfect size and we're not gonna argue with him.
Aluminum Half Pan: if you smoke bbq often these are essential for keeping your meats moist and makes for easy clean up because they are disposable.
What to look for when Buying Corned Beef.
Most people prefer a corned beef brisket that is fairly lean and slices into uniform cuts. At most grocery stores you will find 3-6 pound brisket portions that have been trimmed down from a much larger piece.
This makes it a lot easier to cook because it requires almost zero trimming ahead of time. The only trimming I recommend is if you see any oddly shaped pieces hanging off or a hunk of fat that wasn’t removed.
When looking for a brisket at the store look at the bottom of the brisket in the packaging. It should look lean with a thin fat cap.
It should be flat and squared off. If the corned beef looks like a rounded misshaped hunk of meat it will cook and slice unevenly.
Depending on how many portions you will need will determine how large a section to buy.
If buying and smoking multiple pieces try to buy similar sized pieces so they cook in roughly the same amount of time. Also remember that you will lose about 40% I total weight after the corned beef is fully cooked.
My 4 lb hunk of brisket ended up weighing in at 2 pound 10 ounces when I pulled it off the smoker.
I recommend a least 6-8oz of cooked brisket per person so factor that in when figuring out how much to buy.
Keep in mind leftover smoked corned beef is never a bad thing because there are so many things you can make with the leftovers.
How to Slice Corned Beef
When using small sections of a whole brisket it can be a little tricky on what direction to slice the corned beef. You want to slice across the grains of the beef otherwise you will have stringy slices of meat.
The best way is to turn the corned beef upside down on the lean side to see which direction the grains are heading on the brisket. Then flip it back over and make ⅛ inch thick slices.
Feel free to cut them thicker if you feel the brisket crumbling or thinner if you feel like the smoked corned beef isn’t as tender as you would like.
Smoked Corned Beef Recipe
1- 4-5 lb. Corned Beef Brisket Flat
¼ cup Wholegrain Mustard
1 pint Stout Beer
2 tbsp Coarse Ground Black Pepper (16 mesh)
Remove the corned beef from the package and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
Brush mustard on all sides of the corned beef then season with coarse ground black pepper.
Place the corned beef on the smoker set at 250 degrees F. Smoke for about 3-4 hours until the corned beef reaches an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees F.
Place the corned beef in an aluminum half pan and pour over about ¾ of a pint of your favorite stout. The rest is for the cook!
Cover and return to the pit. Raise the temperature to 300 degrees F. And continue cooking until the corned beef reaches an internal temperature of 205 degrees F. This should take about 2-3 hours.
Once the corned beef is fully cooked vent the pan and let the brisket rest in the juices.
Slice brisket against the grain. Make the cuts approx. ⅛ inch thick (about the width of a pencil) Take a test bite to check for tenderness. If the brisket crumbles make thicker cuts and if the brisket sees tough make thinner cuts.