If you are passionate about barbecue and see the summertime as an excuse for extended grilling, then you probably know just how enjoyable a nice smoked brisket can be.
And if you live in Canada, or have spent time in Quebec, you are probably familiar with the legendary smoked brisket recipe has given its name to an entire style of brisket smoking: Montreal smoked meat.
Associated with famous restaurants like Schwartz’s Deli on Montreal’s St. Laurent Boulevard, recipes for Montreal smoked meat go back to the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe who migrated to Canada in the early twentieth century.
While the Montreal smoked meat recipe Schwartz uses is top secret, it is possible to make your own Montreal style smoked brisket.
Below, we’ve included two Montreal smoked meat recipes, one for beginners and one for experts. Montreal smoked meat takes time to perfect, but with enough patience (and the right smoker!) you can prepare gourmet smoked brisket in your own backyard.
If you’ve never smoked meat before, trying out recipes for Montreal smoked meat is a great way to start. Master basic smoked brisket recipes will teach you the ins and outs of smoking, and help you get a sense for what the seasoning and smoking process involves.
The first thing you will need to do, if you haven’t done it already, is purchase a smoker. There are plenty of great electric smokers under $200 for sale, so you don’t need to drop a lot of money to get started.
Check out Fire Food Chef’s electric smoker reviews to find a model in your price range that is large enough to handle a full brisket, and you’ll be ready to go!
The first step of making Montreal smoked meat is curing the brisket. This gives the meat its unique flavour. Fill a plastic Ziploc bag and fill with the following:
Add the brisket to the bag and shake until it is coated in spices. Let sit for twenty-four hours, flipping it over occasionally.
Fire up your smoker, and pre-heat to 225 degrees. While the smoker is heating up, wash the cure from the brisket thoroughly, pat dry, and coat in a dry rub made from the following ingredients:
When the smoker is ready, add several chunks of hickory or cherry wood and get an even stream of smoke going.
Place the brisket in the smoker fat side up, and let sit until an internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached (this will likely take five to six hours).
When the brisket has finished smoking, it is ready to be steamed. Place it in a roasting pan with a v-rack and an inch of water in the bottom, put the roasting pan onto the stove top, and heat the elements up to high. Make sure the water is regularly replenished.
After two hours of steaming, the brisket’s internal temperature should be 180 degrees. Remove from the roasting pan, let it rest for twenty minutes, and it is ready to carve!
The big difference between an introductory and advanced Montreal smoked meat recipe is basically the time involved: while you can, in a pinch, prepare a passable Montreal smoked meat recipe over the course of a weekend, if you really want to get that authentic Montreal flavour, you’ll need to put the time into preparing the brisket.
You’ll also need to make sure that you are using a premium smoker that will ensure your meat takes on all that rich flavour while cooking as evenly as possible.
For example, one of the things that makes high end Pit Boss smokers different from entry level electric smokers is the sturdiness and durability of these machines, which use wood pellets to generate reliable amounts of smoke for hours on end.
The recipe below definitely benefits from a heavy duty smoker like the Pit Boss, but it could also be a Montreal smoked meat recipe for the Big Green Egg — the legendary ceramic kamado-style charcoal smoker famous for its egg-like shape.
In a large pot, combine the following ingredients:
Place a trimmed brisket in the brine mixture and refrigerate for six days, flipping the brisket over twice daily.
The day before you plan on smoking the brisket, empty the brine from the pot and replace with fresh water. Wash the residual brine from the brisket, and soak it in the fresh water for two hours. Every half hour, empty the water out and add more fresh water to get the salt out of the meat.
Meanwhile, mix together the following ingredients to make the rub:
When the brisket has been washed, pat it dry with a towel, coat it in the rub, and set it aside for the night.
When you are ready to start smoking, heat the smoker up to 225 degrees. When the wood pellets start producing smoke, place the brisket in the smoker fat side up.
Smoke the brisket for six hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, then remove.
Place the brisket on a tray in a large roasting pan and steam the brisket for two hours, adding new water as needed.
When the internal heat reaches 180 degrees, the meat is ready to be cooled and served.
You may never be able to quite replicate the Montreal smoked meat recipe Schwartz uses, but by mastering and adapting these two recipes for Montreal smoked meat, you can carve up a similarly delicious Montreal smoked meat recipe all your own.
And if you want to make sure you have just the right smoker for the task, check out Fire Food Chef’s extensive product reviews to find the smoker that works best for you.
This post was last updated on August 22nd, 2019 at 02:28 pm
William Clay is a BBQ enthusiast dedicated to sharing his grilling (and overall cooking) expertise with FireFoodChef's readers.