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Montreal Smoked Meat at

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.

Day 1

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.

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Put the bags in the fridge for 10 days, rotating and massaging the spices into the meat daily.

Day 10

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.

Montreal Smoked Meat 2016 2

Day 11

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.

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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.

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Day 12

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.

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Try and slice the meat to about 1/8 inch slices across the grain.

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Here it is, a plate of delicious.

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We put ours on some marble rye bread with deli mustard.

Montreal Smoked Meat at

The Verdict

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

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23 Responses

    1. OK, here’s the deal. We prepare a meal each. You use the pressure cooker and I’ll use the smoker. Sounds like everyone wins to me!

    1. Thanks, Sam. It is a famous dish in Quebec. It is similar to pastrami but way better! If you are ever in Montreal, you must try some.

    2. Montreal Smoked Meat is now being offered in some Subway sandwich shops around my area!
      I get it with some bacon, a bit of Mayo, and loaded up with black olives on flatbread!

      I could live on that stuff! MMMMM……

  1. That pinwheel marble looks good, BUT…… I get that Special Reserve pattened Disco Rye woulda been pretty buena too!

    Really nice color on that meat

  2. Hey OldFatGuy!
    nanuk here from SMF, and I was wondering if you found Morton’s TQ too salty.
    I have made a few products, and unless I missed my weights, I find them very salty, even after a 30 minute flushing with cold water.

    I’m going to try it once more, and this time, I’m going to trim the meat to 1kg, and use EXACTLY 30grams TQ (30g per KG)

    I have used BearCarver’s recipes and while tasty, I am finding them very salty.
    If I can’t figure this out, I may revert to Pops’ low salt brine

  3. Tried the smoked meat this weekend. Family thought I was nuts trying to recreate a Schwartz style Smoked Meat over a 12 day period…but it came out awesome to the point where they said it was well worth it and that it was as good as the original….high praise from a super critical /health conscious group.

    I did try a couple of adjustments to your recipe.
    1. Did a lengthier flush on day 10 : 2 hrs changing the water every 1/2 hou. It just seemed the water on the 4th flush was less cloudy and more of the cure was washed off.
    2. I also did add a rub on the brisket before it went into the fridge to develop the pellicle and kept it on as it was placed on to the smoker. rub consisted of equal parts cracked black pepper, cracked coriander seeds and standard Montreal steak spice.

    I think the Salt in the steak spice balanced out the extra water flushing.

    All in all, fantastic results and thanks for the recipe.

    1. I really appreciate you letting me know how it turned out. As for rinsing for longer, it shouldn’t change the flavour much and is fine. As for adding a rub before putting it in the fridge, I love it when people add their own twist to my recipes. That is how great new recipes are made! Enjoy and keep smoking!

  4. Hi there.

    I’ve just finished dry brining my brisket, and soaking it. I’m now drying it in the fridge. Question – what purpose does the drying serve, since it’s going to be smoked and then steamed anyway? I’m trying to cut a bit of time from the process so I can smoke it this evening and steam it tomorrow morning.


    1. The drying process has three purposes. First, it allows the rub to draw some moisture from meat for better adhesion as the liquid mixes with the rub and then dries. This gives better bark. Also, the salt in the rub actually changes the make up of the meat a bit.

      Second, most of the smoke flavour is taken in the beginning of the smoking process. Smoke adheres to the dry surface better.

      Third, liquid can tend to build up on any low areas or divots in the meat. If moisture builds up in these areas, it prevents good bark formation. Drying first helps mitigate this.

      1. All makes good sense, thanks for the fast reply!

        I’ll dry it for 5 or 6 hours. One thing though – your recipe doesn’t use a rub, does it? I dumped all the dry brine, so I have a “bare” brisket now.

        1. Sorry, you are right. I was thinking of cooking a regular brisket, not Montreal smoked meat. It’s what happens when you respond from email without going to the post. Sorry.

          The reason you let it dry is so it will take more smoke flavour. A wet surface doesn’t take the smoke well and lets bad flavours ash and creosote on the surface.

          The curing process lets all the salt changes take place.

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