Great fortune befell me! Friends gave me a brisket. They raise their own cattle and this was from a smaller animal than we are used to. As such the brisket was a little smaller and quite lean, very nice! As they gave it to me I decided I should make something I could share with them and I decided to make Montreal smoked meat. I have posted this before but my method has evolved over time and this is my current method for making it.
I must advise that you can’t mess with the amount of Morton’s Tenderquick you use. If you don’t have enough, the meat will spoil. If you have to much, there will be too much nitrates in the meat which can cause health problems. Stick to the amounts in the recipe.
I started by cutting the brisket into 2 pieces so it would fit in Ziploc bags. I weighed each piece. One weighed 1.6 kg (3.5 pounds). The other weighed 1.3 kg (2.9) pounds.
You need to make a curing rub for the meat. For each 1 kilogram of beef you need:
- 30 grams of Morton’s Tenderquick
- 9 grams of Kosher salt
- 30 grams of pepper corns, roughly cracked (I use a coffee grinder)
- 15 grams sugar
- 15 grams coriander seeds, roughly cracked (I use a coffee grinder)
- 5 ml powdered bay leaf (if you can’t find powdered, run dried leaves through a coffee grinder)
- 5 ml ground cloves
If you are using the archaic pound system, you need the following for each pound of meat:
- 0.5 ounces of Morton’s Tenderquick
- 0.14 ounces of Kosher salt
- 0.5 ounces of pepper corns, roughly cracked
- 0.25 ounces of sugar
- 0.25 ounces of coriander seeds, roughly cracked
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
It is important that you get the right ratio of spices and cure to each piece of meat. So, multiply the number of kilograms or pounds of meat for one piece. For example, 1.6 kg of meat needs 48 grams of Tenderquick (1.6 times 30). If using pounds the 3.5 pounds of meat needed 1.75 ounces of Tenderquick (3.5 times 0.5).
Do this calculation with all the ingredients and mix them in a bowl. Put the meat in a pan and rub the curing mix over all surfaces. Put the meat in a large resealable bag and put any curing mix that is in the pan into the bag. It is important to get all the mixture in the bag.
Now, move onto the next piece of meat and repeat the process.
Put the bags in the fridge for 10 days, rotating and massaging the spices into the meat daily.
Take each piece out and brush the peppercorns and coriander off. Put the meat in cold water for 60 minutes, changing the water once.
Put the meat on racks in the fridge, uncovered to develop pellicle (a dry surface) overnight.
Make sure the surface of the meat is dry. Put it in a 210 F smoker over your favourite wood. I used pitmaster blend pellets in my pellet smoker. I cooked it to an internal temperature of 160 F. As the brisket was a tad smaller, that only took 3 hours. A larger brisket would take longer.
Let the brisket cool.
Unless you are just doing a brisket flat, the meat will have a line of fat through it separating the brisket point from the flat. The grain of these two pieces do not run in the same direction and will be hard to cut against the grain if you do not separate them. I worked a sharp knife between the two pieces by pulling it through the fat streak.
I gave the 1/2 piece of flat to the generous donors of the brisket with instructions on how to cook it. I took one of the other pieces, wrapped it and froze it for future use. The third piece was for today!
I put the meat on a rack over (not in) simmering water for 3 hours. You can do this in a stock pot with a colander in it to hold the meat out of the water of in a large electric fry pan with a rack holding the meat out of the water. It just has to be exposed to moist heat for 3 hours without sitting in the water.
Try and slice the meat to about 1/8 inch slices across the grain.
Here it is, a plate of delicious.
We put ours on some marble rye bread with deli mustard.
If you have never had Montreal Smoked Meat, you have missed something. This is rich, flavourful, tender, salty, spicy and just so good!
The Old Fat Guy