Montreal smoked meat is Canada’s answer to the pastrami sandwich. It’s a seriously great sandwich.
I love sandwiches. Seriously. It’s a bit of a sickness. And my absolute favourite? The Montreal smoked meat sandwich.
Luscious smoked beef piled high on rye bread and slathered with ballpark yellow mustard. Kosher dill on the side. Maybe a Cott’s cherry coke. Sandwich nirvana.
Montreal smoked meat is bullet proof BBQ brisket
My second favourite thing to do with a brisket is to smoke it Texas style. Real BBQ brisket is one of the truly great things in this world. I think anyway.
Texas brisket is not an easy thing. Hard to get right. Really hard. Overdone. It’s dry. Underdone. It’s dry. Seriously annoying.
But if you nail it. Then you’re in this wonderful place. A place where BBQ brisket jiggles when you poke it. Where the collagen runs when you slice. A magical place.
I’m getting pretty good at it. I’ve smoked more than a few. I am not scared to plan a party around it.
But I do hold my breathe. Every single time. I still get nervous. 15 people for dinner. And I’m betting I’m going to nail Texas brisket. It’s a little stressful.
Montreal smoked meat though? I sleep easy. It will work. I can make Montreal smoked meat work every single time. And so can you.
It’s a culinary campaign. Epic really. Takes 10 days start to finish. And you give up a big chunk of your fridge.
You have to tend to it every day. Smoke it then and then steam it. Real work. But it is so unbelievable worth it. And it’s pretty much bulletproof.
Montreal smoked meat is different than BBQ
Montreal smoked meat is cured. Then smoked. Then steamed. Same as pastrami. But it’s a different cut. Beef brisket. Pastrami is made with the navel. And that changes everything.
You want a high quality, untrimmed brisket. If the fat cap is any less than 3/8 inch stay away. Fat is critical. Fat tastes good. Don’t kid yourself. This is not health food. No doubt about that.
Curing salt is key
A little food science. Montreal smoked meat is cured. Step number one. The first step is to cure the meat.
That’s probably sounds more intimidating than it actually is. Toss a few ingredients together. Rub it on the beef. And wait. For 8 days or so.
It’s a little crazy sounding. I know. But this is the only tricky bit. And it’s not really that tricky.
This recipe uses pink salt or prague powder number 1.
Number 1. That’s a thing. It means it has 6.25% sodium nitrite in salt. If it doesn’t say number 1 us the instructions on the package. It’s a minor adaptation. But it matters. A lot.
More is not better here. You want to use what you need and no more. These are nitrates. Those scary things everyone is always worried about.
Pay attention. Maybe don’t eat this everyday. But once in a while probably won’t kill you.
Montreal smoked meat is a long game. An 8 day cure. It’s a long time. There are no shortcuts though. You just need to want it bad enough. And you should want it bad enough.
Wrap it up. Make room in your fridge. And flip it every day. That’s it. Not hard. Just slow. The ultimate slow food.
Eight hours in the smoker comes next
This is why it’s bullet proof. You aren’t trying to hit perfectly done in the smoker. Just trying to give it some good smoky flavour and a nice bark.
Pull it after eight hours and put it back in the fridge. Don’t worry. You’ll finish it in a steamer. A big steamer.
Montreal smoked meat is finished in a steamer. For 2 to 3 hours. This is where you get that wonderful jiggly texture. That perfectly juicy beef.
Once it’s rested all you need to do is slice it thin. Across the grain. And pile it high on good rye bread. A smear of ballpark mustard. That’s heaven in sandwich form.
The king of sandwiches
There’s this place in Montreal. Called Schwarz’s Deli. It is Canada’s Katz’s. Seriously. The single most famous deli in the whole country.
It’s not the best smoked meat in Montreal. Not anymore. But it is pretty good. In person anyway. And it’s a fun experience. If you ever get to Montreal you should go.
But they got too big. Too famous. It’s not the same as when I was a kid. Or maybe I’m just remembering through a nostalgic lens. I don’t know.
What I do know is you can do better. And you can do it in your own backyard. It’s a journey. But it’s not hard. And it’s guaranteed to please.
Montreal smoked meat. Only in Montreal and your backyard…
montreal smoked meat
- 12-14 lb beef brisket flat and point with fat
The curing mix
- 8 oz black peppercorns cracked
- 4 oz coriander seed cracked
- 4 oz white sugar
- 3/4 cup kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp whole cloves
- 10 dried bay leaves crumbled
- 3 tsp pink salt - prague powder number 1
- 6 oz black pepper corns, cracked
- 3 oz coriander seed cracked
Cure the brisket
- Trim the brisket, removing pockets of hard fat and trim the fat cap (or just don't) to no less than 3/8 inch. Best to google this looking for "trim texas brisket".
- Combine all the cure ingredients and coat the brisket. You want to use all of it because you have included your curing salt in the mix and you need all of that. Wrap the brisket in plastic bags and place on a large cookie sheet. Refrigerate, turning the brisket over 2 times per day for 8 days.
- On the eighth day, soak the brisket in a sink of cool water for 30 minutes. Drain the water and refill, continuing to soak the brisket. Repeat this for 3 hours (6 water changes), dry the brisket and coat it with the pepper corn, coriander seed rub. Back into the fridge it goes.
Smoke the brisket
- On the ninth day smoke the brisket for 8-9 hours at 225-250F with maple if you have it. You may need to separate the brisket into the flat and the point to fit it onto the smoker. You should just be hitting the stall at this point. You are looking for an internal temperature of 155-165F.After 8-9 hours remove the brisket from the smoker, let cool slightly and refrigerate overnight.
Steam the brisket
- On the tenth day, set up a steamer that will fit all this wonderful brisket. Outside is better. This is going to smell. Plan for this step. You are going to need a big steamer. I use a turkey fryer with an inverted strainer and about 3 inches of water to steam my smoked meat.
- Steam the brisket gently for around 3 hours. Don't let it boil dry. You are looking for a couple things. A 195-200F internal temperature will ensure tender Montreal smoked meat every time. Probe tender is the other key indicator. Take the opportunity to figure that out by getting a feel for it when you hit 195F.
- Probe tender means when you insert your probe you don't feel any resistance in the meat. It's like pushing a hot probe through warm butter. It just slides in. This is a good to learn if you are going to do briskets or pulled pork - it's how the pros figure out what's done and what's not.
- Once you hit 195F and probe tender pull the brisket and let it cool to around 160-170F. This can take up to an hour.
- Once it's cool enough to handle slice thinly against the grain with a sharp knife. Serve a mix of the flat and the point in each sandwich. Pile it high on rye bread with yellow mustard and you'll have a sandwich worthy of any of the Montreal smoked meat shrines in Montreal.
341 thoughts on “montreal smoked meat”
great recipe did it 3 times now a great change from a regular brisket great for get together easy clean up after too did a half brisket and have done whole briskets
thanks for sharing :-]}
WAS AMAZING every time 3 time doing it done half brisket and whole briskets change from just a brisket so easy when a crowd is coming and easy clean up after supper too takes a bit of planning [10 days ] but worth it :-]}
Thanks for a great recipe
Delighted you (and hopefully some guests) enjoyed it. It’s an epic undertaking it but I think it’s totally worth it!
where can i find diamond crystal kosher salt in canada
I can usually find it at any “fine foods” grocer, Italian delis and some middle eastern grocers in Ottawa. Prices vary wildly though so once you find somewhere that has it for $5 or so remember that place. I googled and it looks like Costco Business Centre stocks it if you have one of those near you. Maybe google it so you know what the box looks like. Worst case – use half as much regular table salt.
I have a question: why wait a day after smoking to steam?
To let the meat rest. And to make your fridge smell like a smoked meat restaurant:-).
Where do i find pink salt prague powder number 1 in Manitoba – Amazon?
Amazon or if you have an Eastern European deli nearby you could ask there…
This was just fantastic! Thank you! Also managed to find Black Cherry soda – Cotts was sold to Sobeys and so bought Compliments Black Cherry. Here’s a Twitter thread of the cook. Only modification was an extra hour of desalting as I used Windsor Kosher and it’s more potent than Diamond: https://twitter.com/YoniFreedhoff/status/1628751775808331776
Looks awesome. I didn’t know Sobeys had purchased Cotts. Will try that. Rideau bakery didn’t seem to survive the FB acquisition so fingers crossed.
Nice to see someone from Ottawa on glebekitchen:-).
Getting ready for a pond hockey tourney this weekend with your MSM as the food headliner.
Question, during the smoking process, is 8-9hrs or 155-165F the more important number? Sometimes a find it takes a shorter amount of time to hit the 155-165 mark.
Enjoy the tournament! Temperature is the important number. Time is a guideline that depends on the size of the brisket and the temperature you are running your smoker…
I’m in Colombia right now and might open a Poutine Smoked meat resto. The brisket I find here is pretty thin, about an inch think and not very fat. I tried a piece and it tasted better than any smoked meat I ever had but it came out dry. I’m not sure where I messed up. I did the bath right but I didn’t let it rest overnight and I smoked it for 8-9 hours in an oven but the temperature was not 160 when I checked.
i increased the heat a bit and it went a bit above so I pulled it out and tried to steam it right away. I left it to steam about 3h and it came out on the dry side
I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve never worked with brisket butchered like you describe. If you are going to open a Poutine smoked meat restaurant (how great it that!) I think you’re going to have to work on timing if you can only get 1 inch thick pieces. You can cut down the cure time some. The internal temps should still apply although you will need to perhaps adjust them slightly. I would expect the smoke and steam times to drop considerably. Watch your internal temps!
Thanks for the previous reply. I’m considering my options for steaming. I have a large turkey pan with a rack that I could use if I cover it with foil,and then thinking I’d put it on my grill. I have a vertical smoker and I was wondering if I could use that with pans of water. I might just buy a steamer pot (like used for seafood?) Thanks.
I use a turkey fryer set up – big pot and burner with a rib rack to hold the brisket out of the water. You want to do this step outside unless you like the idea of your house smelling like Schwartz’ for a week:-)
That set up is great to make a lot of fries to go with the sandwiches as an added bonus.
I finished my first batch a few days ago. It was too salty so I thought I’d post.
Based on a recommendation for less salt in a previous post, I used only about 3/4 of the amount of salt since I used Morton Kosher.
Not a “sink,” my rinsing and soaking occure in a food grade tub, about 5 gal?
After completing the recipe and too salty, the next day I boiled it for about 1 1/2 hours hoping to remove salt. Some of the fattier areas disintegrated, but what was left was great. A friend says more like corned beef.
I plan to try again with less salt, but wanted to share this.
I bought a restaurant pan at a restaurant supply store. Get the deepest one you can find. Usually 6”. Then you get the perforated one that fits in it, 4”, fill the bottom with water and cover. Put it on your cooktop across 2 burners to get it to boil. Then put the brisket in the top part, reduce heat so it simmers and cover. If the brisket is too big, take heavy aluminum foil to get a proper seal. Check your water level ever 45mins to an hour so it doesn’t go dry. I leave 2 meat thermometers in that I can remote monitor to check temp. One in the point and one in the flat. Let cool and enjoy!
My MSM is curing. A conflict has come up. Can I wait an extra day after smoking before steaming? Just refrigerate an extra day, or what can I do? Thanks.
MSM is a tricky thing that way. Life gets in the way. I haven’t done it like this but I’m going guess this is no problem. Just keep it in refrigerated the extra day and proceed with the steam.
Is it okay to let the meat cure for a few days more? Long story short, I wasn’t able to rinse and soak it on the day I needed to, and my schedule is totally booked up for the week. Can I just add a few days of curing and then process with the rest of the recipe?
I’ve cut it short to hit a schedule but I’ve never pushed it longer so I’m afraid I don’t know what will happen. Sorry…
Question – I have a 4 lb brisket. Would you cut this recipe in half? Or by 2/3? Also how would this impact the curing time?
First time using Prague powder, want to make sure I do it right .
I’ve never done such a small brisket so I’m only guessing but maybe cut the recipe in half and maybe go a 5 day cure?
Hey not sure how to post a comment…should the meat be a really dark red colour after the 8 days dry brining…I made this 2 years ago and it was awesome but this year my dry rub seemed to get wet while In the fridge for the 8 days (flipped twice a day) ..is this normal…worried I screwed something up
Without being there in the room it’s really hard for me to tell what’s going. Wet in the fridge is normal with any dry brine as water is first drawn from the meat and then drawn back into the meat as equilibrium is reached. Google osmosis if you want to know more.
Smoking the brisket now, but its been on for like only 3 hours and already at 140 degrees..
The temp. has been steady at 225.
Maybe the brisket was smaller than I thought originally – butcher said 12 lbs.
Will update tomorrow after I steam it..
It’s going to be awesome! Just watch your internal temps.
I tried your recipe and finished it this past weekend…let’s just say I don’t think I could get any closer to the real thing! I would probably add a few more water changes to remove a little more saltiness, but it was spectacular. I was nervous about the end result but in the end it was so worth it. Amazing! thank you for this incredible recipe.
Awesome! The world needs more MSM!!!
Just finished!! Can’t be-lieve how amazing!!! Wish I could post a pic!! Thank you so much for your recipe ❤️
Delighted you liked it!
Thanks for the wonderful smoked meat recipe.
I have a question about the type of kosher salt you use. Is it Morton or the Crystal brand ? Their level of saltiness is quite different, Morton being much more salty (twice the saltiness of Crystal I read somewhere).
Thanks for your time,
I use Diamond Crystal exclusively.
If I may comment on this salt subject. For 1/4 tsp of salt:
Windsor Kosher salt = 480mg Sodium
Kirkland Sea Salts = 380mg
Crystal Diamond Kosher = 280mg!!
No offence to anyone, but I’ve been finding things a little salty, and now I know why. My Kosher salt is almost double the CD standard which is used for these recipes…
I will use what I have but half the amt specified and add later after cooking it necessary..
INCROYABLE!! I jumped in this with fear and doubts…but i ended up been totally blown away!! I am so greatlfull for your incredible recipe. I was called a genius by my family!! Merci mille fois!!
Bienvenu! Delighted you and your family enjoyed it.
Bravo l’ami, welcome to Romains MSM.
This is easily my favourite recipe, it turns out beautiful every time.
My inlaws have very sensitive tastebuds and unfortunately, it doesn’t appeal to them. So be wary, it is chalked full of flavour, and won’t appeal to everyone, but it is still godly.
I have sensitive tastebuds and I love it:-)
I followed this recipe to the letter and was rewarded with a Montreal smoked meat sandwich that was just as good as any I’ve had in Montreal. If you follow the directions exactly, you cannot fail. My only irk was that the ingredients listed for the recipe jumped between weight and volumes which made adjusting the cure and seasonings a pain in the butt but other than that, I have zero complaints. I’ve sent this link to anyone and everyone who asks me about my smoked meat. It’s an absolutely amazing recipe! Well done Romain!
Thanks! Delighted to hear you nailed it.
I too was buffaloed on the measure used for the pepper corns and others, In the case of the pepper, are we talking about volume as if it’s weight, I can’t believe it. Nothing would take a 1/2 pound of pepper. To confirm I was looking for an email to request confirmation but you can help just as well.
It’s by weight. Any extra will just fall off.
Great recipe! I am on smoke day second time around. I followed your recipe exactly two years ago for my daughter and future son-in-law who were home for Christmas from Australia. They were going to Montreal for a few days after and I challenged them to compare my smoked meat to the real thing and after indulging in all the usuals in Montreal they honestly said mine was just as good and if they had to pick they would choose mine.
This go around I am smoking today and then bringing the brisket to Manitoba (I live in Alberta) for Easter so will keep it on ice and steam on Good Friday for all my in-laws to try. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe.
Delighted you enjoyed it. FWIW I have a buddy that lives on the Main in Montreal and he says mine is better too:-)
I have had the same praise about my smoked meat following this recipe as well! It truly is a winning recipe! So glad to see other people having such success!
I’m on day 5. Looks and smells fantastic. But some of the rub is clumping on the side. Should I re-bag it? Open it and re-rub? Also a bit confused about the 8th day. Do I finish the 2 flips then rinse? Finishing 2 flips on the 8th day, and soak on the 9th? Or is finishing the dry brine on the 7th day considered 8 days? Thanks for your recipe and help.
You can flip or not on the 8th day. I usually soak late in the day so I do at least one flip. Soak on the 8th day. Smoke on the 9th day. Steam on the 10th day. It’s a bit of a campaign but it’s worth it.
Re: clumping maybe just give it a bit of a shake when you next flip it. Probably not a big deal though even if you don’t.
I have the brisket trimmed and waiting for the pink salt to be delivered today. I have a question about the cloves. Just whole cloves? So there’s a bunch of cloves just sticking into the brisket randomly? Thanks.
Not so much sticking into as pushed up against but yes. Whole cloves. And I’m jealous. I need to get myself a brisket. I am jonesing badly for MSM…
Regarding the cure. Unless I’m misunderstanding something, it all adds up to about 22-23 oz of cure. I don’t think I used more than half on a 12 lb brisket and even that its not all sticking to the brisket. Should it be in a container sort of buried in the cure? I would say that maybe realistically I would have needed maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the cure mix to simply coat it.
I pack it on pretty good (or maybe you cracked a little too aggressively?). Using less this time around is a bit risky though because you will need the pink salt. Pack it on this time and adjust either your grind or the quantities next time?
I’m a bit unclear on the brine time. Is it correct to assume it should be in the cure stage for 8 full days (192 hrs) before rinsing?
8 days. 192 hours. Obviously it depends on the size of your brisket. I’ve cut it to 7 days and been OK but people have tried monster briskets (20lbs plus) and found it not quite enough. I’ve never even seen a 20lb brisket so I have no direct experience with this…
Best Montreal Smoked meat recipe I’ve tried yet. Will be my go to.
Awesome to hear. If it wasn’t so cold right now I’d be thinking about doing one myself!
Hi can you corn a inside round ?? From calgary
Never tried it. If you’re thinking of substituting an inside round for brisket and following the whole recipe I don’t think it would work out very well. There’s very little connective tissue in an inside round.
First time trying it and excited! I’m on day 10 (steaming) and I’m certain my brisket has a grey middle. I followed the instructions including size of brisket.
It’s been cooked to temperature – is it still safe to eat?
I can’t comment on food safety. I would guess that the grey middle is the result of the cure not penetrating all the way to the middle of the brisket. If the middle of your brisket is 190F+ then I’m having a tough time imagining any other explanation.
Giving this a try. Day 2 of cure currently. I am using a 5lb point cut, minus trimmings probably closer to 4lb. I will see if a 5day cure is sufficient. Halved the ingredients for the cure. Looking forward to the end product. Any recommendations on what pellets to use?
Good luck! I don’t use a pellet smoker so I don’t really have any firsthand experience but for a great Canadian sandwich I would think maple!
How did the 5 day cure work on a smaller cut of brisket? How long did you end up brining it?
The smoked meat came out great!
Awesome! Hard to beat good smoked meat!
Brisket Ready for the smoker- day 9 of dry curing ; now 8-9 hours of Maple & Apple smoke
– my first attempt (12 pounds)
It’s going to be awesome!
Fantastic recipe, I’m doing it now for the fourth time.
Question: I fell asleep last night and left the briskey in the water. I dried it off this morning and did the rub.
Do I have to leave it in the fridge overnight or can I smoke it today?
Sorry – I didn’t see this in time. I expect it would be fine to smoke although I don’t know what your salt balance will be like after “reverse” brining that long.
Hey Romain, thanks so much for the recipe. I’m currently backtiming from the Labour Day weekend for my MSM. Proper kosher dills are fermenting in the crock as I write.
Can’t wait to try it, and I promise a full review once it’s done.
Homemade kosher dills! There’s no stopping you:-)
This was unbelievable. What are your thoughts on trying a similar recipe with salm?
Glad you liked it. I have never tried it with salmon (or any fish – I am assuming you meant salmon and not salm) so I have absolutely no idea.
For those curious about a smoked turkey recipe, there’s one in the Franklin Barbecue cookbook. Also strongly recommend for his brisket cooking insights.
That’s my go to book whenever I do Texas brisket. Just a fun read overall.
Franklin’s beans are awesome too!
Favorite tips for cracking the peppercorns?
Between a cutting board and a pot. Start with the pressure on one side and roll the base to the other side. It’s a lot of work…
Or in a food processor per the notes. Takes a bit of finesse but it works.
I have a combination steam oven. Can that be used instead of a steamer? Thank you!
Sorry. I have no idea. I don’t have a steam oven so not really in a position to offer advice..
Did you use your steam oven and if so do you have any tips? I’m about to steam and reading these comments hoping to find some advice
My 2nd time following this recipe and again, just a STELLAR result. Top shelf smoked meat in all its glory. I even found some Cott’s Black Cherry Cola to pair with it, naturally with a side of full-sour deli pickles. I received many compliments and the real beauty of this stuff is how well leftovers freeze and re-steam so well. Just a grand-slam recipe all around! One point to make, if possible, find a baker who’ll make you some real good light rye bread the day you serve and have them slice it. For the amount of work and time involved, only the very best and freshest rye bread will do. Awesome recipe!
That is just awesome to hear! And yes, with the amount of love that goes into making MSM you do owe it to yourself to get the best light rye you can!
Hey Romain, I must be still sleepy . I meant to ask that after the water bath and the rub does the brisket go overnight into the fridge wrapped or not ?
It goes in wrapped. Too much danger for cross-contamination otherwise.
Hi Pomain , I am smoking my first MSM brisket of the year this Saturday. I smoked
2 last year and they were fantastic thanks to your recipe ! I meant to ask that , after the smoking, do you wrap it or leave it unwrapped overnight in the fridge prior to steaming ?
My brisket is only 5 lbs. Do I need to cure for 8 days?
I’ve never done a 5lb brisket so I don’t really know but I’m going to guess you can probably cut it back. It really depends on how thick it is. If the point is as thick as a big brisket it will take as long for the cure to migrate through. If you are cooking a flat then it will take less time. I don’t know how much less though…
The cure time should be the same but you need to ensure you scale the nitrite accordingly as too much can cause heart problems and too little won’t inhibit bacterial growth.
Just finished making it and it’s cooling down
Does any know how long it’s good for in fridge or can I freeze And reheat later.
Or are my friends and family going to be happy
If you have a foodsaver/cryovac it freezes pretty well. Just thaw it in the fridge and steam it gently to reheat. Works pretty well.
Or just eat it up and make everyone happy!
I’ve tried this recipe once before and it was fantastic! Getting ready to do it again…
I’m wondering though. I know that when I make bacon, I measure the curing salt very precisely, especially when doing an EQ cure. Your measurement of 3 tsp per 12-14 pound brisket covers quite a range. Do you happen to have weighed measures, or some way to calculate it?
Unfortunately I don’t. A rough guideline is a tsp per 5 lbs of meat.
Okay, thanks anyhow! I just weighed my brisket and it comes in at 19 pounds before trimming! I’ll weigh again after and adjust accordingly.
I have the real recipe used by the European meat market in St. Henry Montreal, My grandfather Paul Schewchuk got it from Mika the original owner of the European meat market who gave it to me, back in 1985 Paul Schewchuk and I made the Montreal smoked meat which is the best smoked meat in the country, It’s Montreal smoked meat that was sold at Bens restaurant on the corner De maisonneuve street and Mansfield st back in the 60’tes.
Are you going to share?
Hi , reading this with great interest getting ready to do
My 1st MSM. Can you share the recipe with me? I used to live around Atwater and miss a great smoked meat sandwich
Please share!! We would love to hear it and continue the history.
Good for you Red 👍
My uncle has the same recipe I’m working on getting it from him.
Bens was family owned on my moms side.
Sure would like that recipe to compare as this one has worked pretty good.
I don’t think it’s too likely that this guy is coming back.
A big thank you and shout out for this recipe!. I am enjoying the (meat) fruits of my 3rd brisket (in a 1.5 year period! …this is not everyday food). My most recent was a 18.5 lb feller so it took a few extra days in the cure but it came out perfect! You’re doing great work here. Cheers! Matt
Glad you’re enjoying it. It is not everyday food but it’s a wonderful treat!
Can I get the smoke meat recipe. I’m an expat living in new orleans, Louisiana..thanks
I’m starting to think he’s making stuff up. Hasn’t been back…
Just to let you know that briskets are on sale this week at Sobey’s ( Ottawa )
for $3.50 a lb ! Time to get ready for a smoke-off !
Haha. I have a 17 lb monster in the freezer but I’m thinking it will be Texas style brisket for a change. Going to pull out some of my best charcoal for that just as soon as it’s warm enough enjoy being outside. It will be curbside pick up for my neighbours soon. Think I’ll send them home with some beans and slaw as well.
This recipe is amazing thank you for sharing. Question : sometimes when I make it there is a grey “eye” in the center of the brisket. Did I just not cure it long enough?
That’s the only think I can think of. People are getting monster briskets these days. I developed this recipe with around 12 lb packers.
Hi Romain,just to let everyone know around Ottawa that briskets are on sale this week at 2.99 a pound at Independant Grocers, Wow!Time to stock up!
Thanks for the heads up!
I’m at the smoke stage of this project – steaming tomorrow. I’m using a Traeger pellet smoker that has the ‘super smoke’ function. Any thoughts on whether to use that function or just run it as is?
Mine is a 21lbs brisket; smoked meat for days!
Monster brisket! I don’t have a Traeger but I don’t think super smoke is necessary…
Hello, I would like to try your recipe, but I’m a little concerned about your instructions on how much pink salt to use. Most recipes say that sodium nitrite is a chemical that should be weighed by an accurate digital scale, to at least 0.1g increments, and secondly, most websites state that you cannot simply “half” the amount of pink salt, if you are curing a piece of meat half as big as the recipe you are given. There is a formula for how much pink salt to use, according to the size of the piece of meat you are curing. So, you state 3 teaspoons of pink salt… I am concerned that this is not an accurate way to measure such an ingredient as sodium nitrate.
All that being said, I can’t wait to try your recipe!
I used to live in Montreal, and yours is the only recipe I have found that seems legit!
Thanks for sharing!
Hi, not the op but am a butcher. 0.1 g variance is excessive, a 1.0g variance is fine and if you’re working with 10lb and up 2.0g will do the trick. 1 tsp is about 5g give or take 0.2g or so.
I’ve made this recipe and it’s was delicious,like Montreal smoked meat .
I did this recipe at least 5 time .
The only problem is that it was to dry and to red .
Sometimes once it reaches 195degree in the steamer it’s still not probe tender.
So what should I do?
Also if I want to make a whole brisket and then slice it and put under vacuum in small bags what is the best way to do it if I want to keep the moisture inside .
Thank you so much for thus recipe.
Looking forward to hear from you .
The red is from the cure (the pink salt). I don’t know how much you are using but for the amounts specified the brisket should look about like in the picture. Too dry sounds like either you are under or over the magic temperature. Usually it’s around 195-200F. Every brisket is a little different. I don’t know why that is but it is. There’s a point where the collagen is nicely broken down and everything is moist.
If it’s not probe tender at 195F then keep going. I don’t ever go above 203F because then you get to the other side and it starts to dry out pretty quickly. Sometimes it helps to cut the flat from the point so you can keep steaming the point if needed. That’s a call you need to make while cooking. I always keep an eye on the temp in both the flat and the point because you can run into trouble (dry flat) while waiting for the point to get to the right stage.
To cryovac I would cut chunks of smoked meat (not slices) and cryovac that. To reheat I take it out of the bag and steam gently. Note that your house will smell like smoked meat if you do this…
I am originally from Montreal and now live in Arizona. I look forward to trying your MSM recipe!
One question, do you have any recipe for making Smoked turkey that Schwartz’s made . I remember my father buying smoked Turkey as a treat once or twice a year. I wonder if it’s a similar cure mix before smoking?
I’ve never had the turkey at Schwartz’s. I have never managed to get enough of the MSM!
Maybe something like a shorter cure (with correspondingly less pink salt) and the same rub? Smoked to around 160F for white meat and serve (no steam)? If I could get to my smoker (winter here now) I would try that myself!
My memory of the smoked Turkey is that it was great cold!. A slight pink color and spicy smoke flavor. It had to be ordered weeks ahead.
Maybe other readers may know
As soon as this is all over I am going to Montreal to find out!
Smoking the brisket here in Gatineau tomorrow. I was wondering why you refrigerate the brisket for 12 hours after smoking? Can you go from the smoker to the steamer?
To give the meat a chance to rest. I’ve never tried it straight from the smoker to the steamer. I know it’s hard to wait but you’re nine days in already…
Romain, I want to thank you for teaching me so much about cooking. I grew up on Montreal smoked meat, love and miss it. It’s a lot of fun to try and make my own. I wouldn’t say what I made is exactly the same, but so close and just as delicious just a bit different. Could be because I use free range grass fed beef. The best part of this recipe though is what I learned from this recipe about food preparation and how dry rubs work and why that can be better. I have experimented with different meats, spices, flavors. I even tried this recipe with eye of round roast. I used regular salt, wasn’t sure how much pink salt to use and streamed it in an instant. Not the same flavor and effect, but what an incredible appetizer, sliced thin on sesame rice crackers with goat cheese and half a black olive. Thanks
That is so awesome to hear! I love that you are taking the concepts and running with them. Sounds like there’s no stopping you now!!!
I live in montreal and have a hard time sourcing whole packer brisket untrimmed. Any suggestions?
I’m in Ottawa so don’t really know my way around Montreal butchers but if you talk to your butcher I’m sure they could get one in for you. Any butcher that works with a meat packer should be able get them so long as they have some advanced notice.
They sell them at Costco now… and on sale at IGA this week!
First try at your recipe. Just hit 165 (after a long stall) and pulled my brisket off the smoker and was so tempted to go right to the steaming but will heed your advice to put in fridge overnight. I appreciate the importance of letting the meat rest. Give me time figure out something to steam it in. My first thought was steam on stovetop but you mentioned it’s smelly and my wife will not appreciate the house smelling like a the inside of my smoker😝. Will steaming on the side burner on my gas BBQ be ok even though it’s cold outside? Or maybe pull the grates and put the steaming pan right on the flavour bars above the burners with lid closed? Thanks!
Won’t smell quite like the inside of your smoker. It will smell like Montreal smoked meat. A lot.
If you can get water to boil you are golden. If you can’t you have a problem. Can you borrow a turkey fryer from someone by any chance? Maybe trade them a sandwich? That would be a good deal for them.
What difference would it make if I make a wet brime for this recipe?
I have absolutely no idea. This recipe relies on a cure, not a wet brine.
You can find the super large ziplock bags at Dollarama here in Ottawa, big enough for a 14 pound brisket !
Just did this last weekend. Used Masterbuilt electric smoker, 14 lb packer. I used an electric turkey frier to steam. Took about 4 hours or to steam. Came out so good. Everyone is loving the meat. I have been asked to do one for my wifes co-workers.
Can you recommend a large brining bag for next time?
Maybe note on the recipe that spices are by weight rather than volume. I did volume but works out pretty close anyway. Thanks for the recipe.
That’s the danger with making Montreal smoked meat. Everybody wants some.
I just wrap in a couple of plastic grocery bags on a sheet pan. Wouldn’t know where to even find a big enough brining bag…
Tried this as well last week, and the result was amazing. Used an electric smoker and while I can’t compare to other methods, there was no complaining. Thanks for putting this together.
My pleasure. My crusade to convince the world that Montreal Smoked Meat is the greatest sandwich on the planet!
I was an easy sell being from Montréal, but I also managed to get thumbs up from my (German) family members as well as a neighbor I invited to sample. As COVID-19 prevented us from our yearly summer trip to Montréal, I had to do something to satisfy that craving. Will be making this again soon. Was just happy I managed to find all the ingredients, from the meat to the spices.
(I also have to admit I was a bit concerned after smoking but before steaming when the meat is rather tough).
Nice! Yes, the meat is tough before smoking because it hasn’t been pushed to the magic internal temperature that makes BBQ what it is. It’s like underdone brisket or pulled pork. Until you get to the jiggly probe tender stage it just isn’t good…
Have you ever tried using a digital/electric smoker? I’m considering getting a MasterBuilt or Bradley digital smoker and just curious if they are good for smoked meat and this recipe in general.
(Ps. I tried your recipe a couple of months ago – it turned out Amazing!)
Never tried an electric smoker. I have charcoal and a real offset stick burner. For really long low and slow I like my kamodo with a controller. Set and forget.
I use my Bradley. It’s on right now. Works great. This recipe is awesome. I can’t thank you enough. Third time so far. I buy a whole brisket (16lbs), cut the flat off which fits perfectly in a x-large Ziploc freezer bag and coincidently fits perfectly on a Bradley rack. Use the point the day I start the cure, also on the Bradley. 1 brisket, 2 weekends. Have fun!
Just cut the recipe in half
You are very welcome. Your idea about 1 brisket over two weekends is a great one. Thanks for sharing!
Is the peppercorn measure by weight? So 8oz would be 2 cups?
Yes, by weight.
Made a 14lb brisket according to your recipe, cured for an extra day and smoked in my Weber Smokey Mountain for 8 hours (flat finished in 4 hours, I had to cut so it would fit in smoker), and steamed in a bamboo steaming rack (like the ones they use for dim sum) on a wok and had to use the wok cover to cover the steaming rack so it fits…4 hour steam for the point to reach internal temperature of 197 and probe tender and OMG THE RESULT IS INCREDIBLE!!!! Better than Schwartz and Sumilicious (opened in Scarborough by guy who worked for 17 yrs at Schwartz.)
Thank you so much! I honestly thought that a 14lb brisket would leave tons of leftovers and I would need to hand some out but it’s so good that I’m sure my wife and kids will devour it all before the weekend arrives! Thank you thank you thank you! Will definitely be making again and again.
One quick question: Steam with fat cap up or down? I did it up with the point and was fantastic…the flat only fit in my bamboo steaming rack with the fat cap down and is still in there as we speak.
Awesome to hear! Yes, I find it goes fast too. Never much in the way of leftovers, especially if like monster sandwiches like I do.
I tend to do fat side up but I’m pretty sure it makes very little difference. There’s no science that says fat soaks into meat so…
Can I steam after I smoke or is the rest in the fridge crucial to the recipe?
It’s always a good idea to let the meat rest. I have never tried skipping this step so I don’t know what impact it would have I’m afraid.
If I had to let this cure for 11 days would it be ok?
Should be. I have always timed it to follow the recipe so I cannot say for sure as I have never pushed it.
I used your recipe and served it for some friends and family last night. It was excellent! I do recommend using a deli slicer if you have one available. I cut with an electric carving knife and wasn’t able to get the slices as thin as I would like to. I also recommend steaming the rye bread before building the sandwiches. Excellent recipe, I will make this again!
Awesome! I like my slices a bit thicker so I go with knife cut (plus I don’t have a deli slicer – just a sharp knife:-).
So, recently, my wife bought me a Weber Smokey Mountain bullet and I started out with some simple recipes like bbq chicken, ribs, smoked turkey breast etc. Two years ago my wife and I spent a long weekend in Montreal and had the most amazing time. One of the best culinary adventures we’ve had in such a short period of time. Schwartz’s, Beauty’s, St. Viateur, Jean-Talon…you name it. Ever since that trip, I’ve been craving Montreal Smoked meat. Given my ‘amateur status’ as a smoker, I thought I would totally screw this up. I followed your recipe to the tee and it came out perfectly! I’m so happy you posted this along with the amazing tips and comments following!
Now I’m thinking, “Can I do this with with a turkey breast?”
Anyway, great recipe! I encourage all who are considering making this to follow your recipe. You are my MSM guru!!
All those places have a special place in my heart – Jean Talon at the top maybe but they are all wonderful. It’s actually the most bulletproof way I know to cook a brisket. I’ve never tried a turkey breast but a short cure followed by a smoke to around 160F could work. No steam though…
You can smoke anything on a Smoky Mountain. It’s a great piece of kit…
I didn’t steam the flat, just sliced it up nice and thin deli-style and, of course sampled some.It was just as tasty as the steamed point. I vacuumed sealed the rest in sandwich-sized portions. Yesterday I dropped a pouch in hot water ( not boiling )for about 2 minutes and presto hot MSM ! But like you posted before for my next brisket I will steam the whole thing and then slice it up the next day.
Made this and it is delicious however part of my brisket the cure did not go all the way through and I have a small grey strip about the width of a pencil. Maybe I should have separated the flat and made it thinner. Is it still safe to eat?
If I made this again I would cut all the spices to about 2/3 and use the same amount of pink salt. I had a hard time keeping all the cure on the beef and the rub I probably had half to a third left.
How big was your brisket? I’ve heard this twice now. People are getting huge briskets somehow and I think an extra day of cure would fix the problem…
Thanks for your recipe.
I have some salpeter home .I would like to know if I can replace the pink salt by salpêtre and if yes what would be the quantity of salpêtre please .
I’m afraid I can’t help you with this. I have never tried working with saltpeter (potassium nitrate). I would suggest you google and decide for yourself. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. As a rule I don’t guess on glebekitchen. Either I know or I say I don’t know. In this case I don’t know.
Hi Romain, thanks so much for this recipe. I’m reposting this message because it seems to have disappeared (but please delete it if you see it twice on your end. I’m from Montreal but have lived in Mexico for the last 6 years. Haven’t had smoked meat since…! My cure will be done on Tuesday and I can’t wait to smoke this baby.
I have 2 questions. Many recipes I found online have paprika, garlic and onion powder, dill weed, ground mustard, celery seed in the rub in addition to the coriander and black pepper (or a combination of some of those). I’m wondering if you have ever tried that, and if you think the Schwartz rub is more “simple” like yours.
2. Some recipes call for steaming like yours, other suggest steaming it in the oven over a roasting pan with a few inches of water until the meat reaches a certain temperature. What do you think? Same result probably?
I’d love the get your feedback. And thanks again for this recipe. I’ll be sure to post once I’m done.
I believe my cure to be pretty similar to Schwartz. I have a buddy who lives on the Main in Montreal who tells me this way is as good or better than Schwartz.
I haven’t tried it the oven way so I really don’t know I am afraid. Good luck and enjoy!
2 options.. Steam it right after smoking it
Steam it 3 days after smoking it…
Which one is better?
I haven’t done either. Sorry. Probably 3 days after if I had to pick. Do you have a way to cryovac the brisket?
I’m three days into the cure now. Thanks very much for the recipe and tips.
I have seen people online who end up having the center still brown (not cured).
Would it be advisable to cure for a day or two longer? I’m making a 15 and 12 pound at the same time.
I have never personally seen the brown centre but I have only ever done 12-14 lb briskets. I had someone make this with a 19 pound packer and they had that problem. I would guess the 12 lb one will be fine. The 15 lb one I’m a little less certain about. I don’t know where people are getting these monster packers. I have never even seen one over 15 lbs. I can’t really debug this as I can’t get these huge briskets…
Well to all those who wonder should I cure longer here is what I found inadvertently. 13 lb brisket, probably 11 pounds after trim on try 1. Cured in a vacuum seal and could not get home till day 10 to rinse ( work on the road came up😔.) To say the least came out as an awesome corned beef.
Second try at it soon.
If you were to freeze portions of the brisket, would you do it once it’s fully done (ie after it’s steamed and all) or would you freeze it after it smoked?
My thinking is to freeze after the smoke, then after I thaw it out, finish that portion with the steaming to make it “fresh”.
Never tried it that way. I have taken it all the way to fully steamed and then used my food saver to freeze small portions. Thawed in the refrigerator and steamed until warm. Has worked pretty well.
I haven’t tried this yet but I’m thinking if you have a sous vide that would work pretty well to warm it.
5 Lb Brisket Scaled-down recipe results.
Well, I just finished your recipe, however I scaled it down to a 5 lb double-cut brisket (a single hunk of the flat and point). This gave me best of both the lean and fatty “meatscape” options.
I followed the recipe to the letter with a couple exceptions:
1) I basically divided the original recipe by 3 and that was pretty much it. I was able to find me some Prague Powder #1 and kept it’s amount to the suggested amount on its packaging, which was in-line with the recipe here, and in my case it was 1 tsp per 5 lb. of meat.
2) For the curing process, I used a vacuum sealer which I felt helped keep the copious amount of curing spice rub stuck to the meat better, and made the “wrapping process” far less messy. To note, just as the author of this recipe stated above, there is an incredible amount of curing rub to use, even with a scaled down recipe, but I agree, it’s an important factor that shouldn’t be altered.
3) The final Pepper and Coriander rub. This is where I had to change course a bit. The final rub quantity is enormous and I literally had about half a container of rub remaining because there was just no room left for the rub to adhere. It would just fall off on in a pile. So I might suggest cutting the “final rub” quantity down by half and if you need more, then simply grind up some as needed.
Other than that, this was one of the most ambitious cooking projects this home cook has ever done and I couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out. I’m an avid fan of Schwartz’s in Montreal and Katz’s in NYC, and the flavour and texture I was able to obtain was spot on, if not better. It was just so damn delicious. When you do this, do it right. Seek out some very good light rye bread, deli mustard, full sour kosher pickles, and some Black Cherry Cola.
I couldn’t be happier with the results! Thanks so much!
That is just awesome to hear! And yes, a kosher pickle and black cherry coke is the way to go!
Born in Montreal, grew up and currently live in Texas. Spent summers in Montreal and visit family often and always enjoyed the standards (St. Hubert’s BBQ, St. Viateur’s bagels, Schwartz’s, Arahova’s).
I did an Aaron Franklin brisket for Mother’s day and it turned out fantastic, then pork shoulders and rotisserie chickens (with St. Hubert’s rub and BBQ sauce) for Father’s day. My dad swore he was back in Montreal.
Saw your recipe and I’m halfway through the smoke as I type this. I have all the equipment for projects like this but I had a question.
When I pull it and chill it, should it be wrapped? I have a roll of pink butcher’s paper and “hotel” pan with a lid (like the kind they put on a buffet line). I was thinking to wrap it in the paper and put in the pan to go in the fridge. Thoughts?
Heading to Kenny and Ziggy’s New York Deli in Houston to pick up two loaves of fresh Jewish Rye tomorrow. My brother and his family heading over tomorrow as well to enjoy what I hope to be an epic sandwich. Can’t wait!
Great site! Looking to try some of your Thai recipes next.
You follow the path of the brisket:-). I had the pleasure of eating Franklin’s brisket only once in my life and it was truly incredible. Even by Central Texas standards (I’ve eaten my way through Austin and Lockhart). Still have to get to Luling though.
I’d let it cool some and then yes, a wrap and an insert pan isn’t a bad idea at all. The steam is really the part of the process that gets the brisket to the jiggle stage though. Coming off the smoker it will still be somewhere around the stall so the wrap isn’t going to make much a difference but will help keep your fridge clean.
Steaming tonight. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Wish there was a way to post pictures.
I sent you an email. If you send me a pic I will post it to the glebekitchen Facebook page.
I now live in Virginia and miss my Schwartz smoked meat. In recent years when visiting Montreal I started eating at Smoked Meat Petes in Dorion (of all places!). I believe them to be as good as the original Schwartz. I think could do a side by side taste test.
A couple of weeks ago I made my own from this recipe. Ordered my pink salt from Amazon (do not use Himalayan Pink Salt). I was unable to find a whole brisket so I settled on a large 9 pound flat. I used whole spices and “Cracked” them in my little coffee mill. A half recipe was more than sufficient. I followed the recipe exactly and was rewarded with one of the best sandwiches ever. BTW, I made my own rye bread using light rye flour. Cannot have a real smoked meat sandwich without the rye bread!
Awesome! Extra awesome you made your own rye bread. Did you get your hands on a Putter’s kosher dill and a Cotts cherry cola as well?
I haven’t made it to Smoked Petes yet but I know this recipe makes MSM at least as good as what they serve at Schwartz’s these days. I hear Smoked Petes is the new king in Montreal.
As an ex-Montrealer now living in Ottawa I am craving my first try at smoking a brisket for MSM. After the smoking and leaving the brisket in the fridge overnight I wish to keep a part of the flat for slicing deli-style in my electric slicer with the rest going into the steamer. Is this OK or do I have to steam that portion as well? Many thanks for a great recipe and the blog.
I have never tried to do what you suggest so I’m not sure it would work. Brisket is typically cooked to around 185-195F to become tender. At the end of the smoke you should have been somewhere around 160-170 so not yet tender. But on a slicer I don’t know how much that would matter.
I will let you know !
Hi Romain , just to let you know how my last brisket turned out: I smoked the brisket using 2 temperature probes. The point reached 160 while the flat was at 155 degrees when I took it out. I left it in the fridge overnight, cut the brisket in half and steamed the point to 195. Delicious ! The rest of the uneaten point went back into the fridge. The next day I sliced the balance of the point on the electric slicer and vacuum sealed sandwich portions for another time. The flat got sliced very thin without steaming and vacuum packed as well for future lunches for work. It was excellent as well.I found a two-tiered lobster pot on Kijiji and it worked great for the steaming. Hope this helps others who cannot eat the whole brisket in one or two seatings lol.Thanks again for the great recipe !
Sounds like it worked really well. How will you finish cooking the flat?
Fat cap up or down, when smoking? Or flip?
I’ve always been told it doesn’t matter but I do it fat cap up anyway. If your heat source is from below (like a kamodo) maybe think about flipping it.
I’ll be using a pellet smoker with indirect heat
My full packer brisket came out almost as good as Schwartz. Definitely as good as (or better than) any other place in Montreal. Genius!!! Thanks!!!!!!!
Nice! Now you won’t ever want for MSM ever again.
Forgot to add my 5 stars!
Thanks! that’s appreciated!
I’ve never made MSM before. This turned out amazing! Perfect amount of smoke, spice and salt.
I split my packer so I could fit in the fridge better, it also made steaming easier.
I used the Traeger with Pitmaster Competition blend. I did one on the stove in a large roasting pan, the other using my old BBQ single burner, both worked equally well.
Thanks for sharing this recipe, I’ll be making this again!
I am always super happy to hear that. The world needs more MSM!
Thank you so much for this recipe. I started curing a 6 pound section of flat on Thursday so that I will be ready to smoke it next Friday, and steam and eat on Saturday. Since I cannot travel to Montreal to get my fix I’m really excited! My wife and I normally visit Montreal in late May every year and I pile through a LOT of smoked meat. I have the brisket wrapped loosely in saran wrap and then in a ziploc bag. Is this OK or should I have some air flow while curing in the fridge?
For the steaming, I am planning to use a covered roasting pan with a rack in it. I’d be doing this in the oven…any thoughts for an oven temp for the steaming?
The words “Large plate, fat” have come out of my mouth too many times:-)
Some airflow is not a bad thing. I usually use grocery bags to wrap mine. I have no idea how to steam in the oven and I’m not sure that’s a great idea for the brisket or for your oven. Thermostats are apparently sensitive to high levels of moisture and you really want your brisket to steam. I’d think about doing it the conventional way if I were you. I’m not even sure you could get enough steam in an oven even if you wanted to.
Oh…I would be steaming in a COVERED roasting pan in the oven, not trying to simulate a steam oven. One site I read suggests you can pour boiling water into your steamer and then run the oven at 200 F.
I have unzipped the ziploc bag to allow some air flow in the fridge.
Let me know if it works. I’m sure there are other people interested! You will have to adjust the steaming time I expect so be careful. I’d be sad if you went 10 days and didn’t get a brisket at least as good as what they are serving at Schwartz’s.
Hahaha…now you have me worried. I think I might steam stovetop instead. Then again someone above said that they put it covered in foil on a rack in a tray on their smoker to steam and it worked great. Is there any issue with cutting the brisket in a couple of pieces for the steaming phase in order to get it to fit in an available pot/pan?
Well Romain, my friend (yes, you will forever be a friend to me after this experience), I don’t know how you came up with this recipe but my wife and I are absolutely blown away! This is as good or better than anything I can recall having at Schwartz’s or the Main over decades eating MSM. The thin, 6 pound piece of flat I used reached 165F on the smoker at 250F in less than 4 hours…it sometimes goes this way with brisket, as you know. I ended up using a large dutch oven on the stove top with a couple of stacked racks and kept the lid cracked for steaming. It took nearly three and a half hours to get to around 200F and be perfectly probe tender in all sections. It sliced like butter, the fat cap was luscious and beautiful, and I was able to cut our piled-high sandwiches with a butter knife. Today we will be enjoying the leftovers after another steam session to warm it up. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
That is so awesome to hear! I came up with it to get my fix. You really can’t get a decent MSM anywhere but Montreal. Even in Ottawa it isn’t any good and that’s only 200km away.
Just tried this. Yesterday was steaming and eating day. It was amazing.
I had a smaller brisket – point for about 7 pounds. Halved every ingredients and worked beautifully. Not too salty either.
I smoked it for 8 hours on kamado at 225 with maple wood chunks.
I did the steaming on my BBQ with tin foil pans and aluminium foil to seal everything. Took exactly 3 hours.
Thank you very much. I will be doing this again.
Glad you liked it! I sometimes wonder if the people who find this MSM too salty have ever tasted MSM in Montreal…
Agreed. This is a treat and something that will make you drink water for 4 hours after eating. It’s part of the experience lol.
Do you happen to remember what temperature you used on the BBQ for steaming?
I let it heat up for quite some time before I put the brisket on. I didn’t want it too hot. I think I was at around 350 for the most part.
I’m getting everything ready to cure tomorrow and have a 12lb brisket but I’m just confused when it mentions wrapping it in bags. What kind of bags or can you wrap it in saranwrap? I assume you want it air tight correct? I’m really looking forward to this as I am from Mtl and every time I go back it’s the first thing I get bc I can’t find anything even close in Wpg. Thanks for the recipe and help. I’ll definitely write back with results.
I am going to have to find a way to explain that better I think. I just use a couple plastic grocery bags – one from either end. Loose is fine. It’s really to keep it from touching other things in the fridge and to keep your hands relatively clean when you flip it. It gets a bit messy.
I have a 20 lb packer that I’m ready to cure. My pellet smoker can handle the whole thing in one piece, but I was wondering if it would be better to split the point from the flat for curing? Would splitting the two make the flavour be better throughout or would it make much difference either way?
Wow. I’ve never even heard of a 20lb packer before. If the point is a whole lot thicker then it might be a good idea to split them so you can pull the flat before the point to even out the smoking phase. I don’t think it would make a huge difference in the cure except trying to handle a 20 lb packer might be tough.
I have a 19lber that has been curing for 8 days. Trimmed, it’s down to just over 17
This was absolutely outstanding! Unbelievable!
– didn’t have enough room on the smoker for a full packer so I went with the fattier point brisket and I am damn glad I did!
– cut the salt in half after reading a few comments and added mustard seeds to the rub (toasted all of them too)
– I let it get well into the stall on the smoker to get as good a crust as I could
– took about 4 hours on the steamer for whatever reason
I made Reubens out of it for the family but also had it straight up on the sourdough. My wife was literally in tears, bravo, worth every second of those 10 days!
Awesome to hear. It is an epic recipe but at the end you get the world’s greatest sandwich!
What a fantastic recipe. Just completed the steam and WOW ..THIS COULD GIVE CELINE A RUN FOR HER $$$
.. I use a pellet grill and it worked great.
On my next attempt I may decrease the salt level a nod edge back slightly on the cure as it was a little too salty. I soaked for 3 hours with 6 water changes but the salt content is high
. The flavour, the color, mouth feel and tenderness compares to Schwartz or the main..thanks remain..keep posting bro
There is no sandwich anywhere that is better than MSM!
The salt content is high. No doubt about that. I’m super curious to hear what you figure out.
First – can’t thank you enough for sharing this recipe. I grew up having Montreal smoked meat as an annual treat by our relatives who lived there. I’m now on day 6 of curing, looking forward to smoking this weekend. For the smoking phase, do you spray the brisket to keep it moist? I’m using a new pellet grill. Not sure if I can just close the lid and leave it until it hits temp or I need to periodically spritz it…
You are very, very welcome. I don’t spritz personally. Haven’t used a pellet grill myself but I am pretty sure you will be just fine putting it on to smoke until you hit temp.
As an ex-montrealer, this intrigued me, so I decided to give it a shot. I smoked it yesterday with Hickory (all i had on hand) and steamed it this afternoon for dinner….Dude!….this is AWESOME! A slight difference because of the Hickory I think, but my god, I will never by that Dunns stuff at Costco again! Great Job man!
Real Montreal smoked meat is the greatest thing ever to go between sliced bread. Glad to hear you will never have to eat that pseudo pre-fab stuff again!
I wonder if there is a way to vertically steam the brisket? Most pots are large enough in diameter for a 14lb brisket. Ideas anyone?
I did mine tonight in a very large pasta pot….covered the top with Tin Foil, and had about 3″ of water in the bottom. Took about 2.5 to 3 hours to get to temp. It worked like a charm!
Great tip. My pot is big enough to use the lid but if the one you have isn’t tinfoil would do the trick!
How did everyone manage to steam such a big piece of meat? What did you use?
I use a giant pot that came with a turkey fryer. I use the burner too so my whole house doesn’t wind up smelling like a big smoked meat sandwich. I invert a metal colander in the bottom of the pot to keep the brisket out of the water and top up as needed.
Instead of using bags can it just be wrapped in celophane
You want it to dry out a bit at this point so allow for some airflow.
I have a bag of READYCURE curing salt .
Do you know if this is equivalant to Prague powder or pink.
It is not the same. It is a much lower concentration. You would need to do some googling to figure out the conversion as I understand it’s not just linear and I have never tried it myself. As hard as it is to believe I can’t eat an infinite amount of MSM:-).
Or you could try calling up a local European deli to see if they would sell you some Prague powder?
On the 8TH day after the water bath and dry brisket, does it go back into a bag or just the way it is into the fridge, before the 9th day for the smoking, how long in the fridge is 8 hours sufficient
It can go back into clean bags certainly. I’ve never tried it with only 8 hours in the fridge. This step it to dry it out a bit before it hits the smoker so I’ve always gone the full day. It’s probably OK though…
Thank you I will give it the full day before going to the smoker It’s impossible to get prague powder #1 in Ottawa what is a good substitute or keep trying to get it from Amazon
I don’t know of a substitute. You could try reaching out to a local European deli that makes their own sausage to see if they would be willing to sell you some.
I got some at Cabelas in Ottawa by the Hockey Arena
I’m making mine with a 15 lb. brisket. I found the spices very generous, so you can probably cut back 25-30% with no problem (you can always grind a bit more if needed, but I doubt you will). I cut the brisket in two and smoked in a Bradley at 225 F. The meat hit 160 F. after 5 hrs. I dialed back the heat and smoked for the full 8 hrs. with the final internal temp hitting 168 F. It’s now in the fridge before steaming tomorrow a.m. Looks amazing so far!
Finding curing powder in Ottawa? A few years ago I bought some at Nicastro’s Fine Foods on Merivale Rd. Give them a call – maybe they still carry it. I’m in Edmonton, so no problem finding curing supplies out here.
Hope you love it! Sounds like you are on track for some tasty sandwiches today.
Nella Cucina in Toronto sells it. They may ship it to you.
Missed the soaking part of it and went straight on the smoker….
Might be a little salty…
Hi, thanks for sharing this recipe. I live in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and my wife and her family are from Montreal and Ottawa. Each time we go back to visit we have to go to Schwart’s. So good! We get regular cravings and have to miss it for more than a year in-between visits, so this might solve the problem!
I’m not familiar with steaming meat and am not sure what a turkey fryer is. Could you please elaborate a bit more on this step? Perhaps you can share a link to the fryer and inverted strainer that you use?
Would be much appreciated!
I have a friend that lives under a kilometre from Schwartz and he says this is better so I don’t think you will be disappointed. I’m in Ottawa and get to Montreal fairly often as well…
Steaming is a key step in this recipe (and for any MSM really) so don’t skip that step.
A turkey fryer is a high output propane burner in a metal frame. Typically they are sold with a large, relatively cheap pot and whole thing can be used to deep fry a turkey. I just use that with a metal colander that I flip over to keep the meat out of the water (this is really a jury rigged set up and not purpose built).
when I make this, I ask the butcher to cut my brisket in two (flat/point). I make half at a time and when I get to the steaming step I use my large cast iron wok and set a rack in it and since it has a large domed lid it works very well as a steamer. Maybe this will help you too.
Makes perfect sense. I’d like to be invited over on point day – that’s my favourite!
Is that a wet cure or a dry cure, I’m following the recipe and currently on the 3rd curing day, with water, and it just occurred to me that you might be referring to dry curing, worried that the salt quantities might not be sufficient for a wet cure.
Oh no. It’s a dry cure. The recipe doesn’t say anything about wet and I’ve added a note saying not to do a wet brine based on this. So sorry to hear this. Good luck!
where do you find bags big enough for a whole briskent
I don’t do the sous vide thing for Montreal smoked meat. I assume people are cutting their briskets up into manageable sizes. My food saver couldn’t handle a bag big enough to hold a whole brisket even if I wanted to try…
Hi, Aaron here…I have a 14lbs brisket water soaking as we speak. Is it possible to skip the fridge drying and go right to the smoking after the soak? Whats the potential harm? I want to get this right as I have many interested in swinging by to grab a sandwich.
I’ve never tried it so no guarantees but I think it will work. The smoking period might take a little longer as the initial moisture will take time to evaporate…
Hi, I’m on my way to cure my brisket. I was wondering if instead of steaming the brisket, I could cook it sous vide at 200 for 5 hours. Will it do the trick?
I’ve never tried so I have no idea.It sounds plausible. 5 hours might be short given the size and you’d have no way to actually measure internal temperature along the way. Maybe go with a small piece to start to see how it works the first time.
Amazing ribs has a sous vide and bbq pastrami recipe which is wonderful. The sous vide is post cure and soak and goes for 30 hours at 155. Then chill and retherm on the smoker to an IT of 125. Steaming is then done when you want to serve. I am going to try the same technique with your recipe because the pastrami was near perfect. Now to try and find a brisket during covid!
Can’t wait to hear how it turns out!
So after the water soak, back in the fridge uncovered for 24 hours or covered. I imagine uncovered so the water evaporates? I’m excited for this, btw. I love the sammiches from Montreal. Can’t wait
I would loosely cover it to minimize contact with other things in the fridge. I’m jealous BTW. I need to figure out how to get my hands on a brisket!
Chop up the small pieces and put them in a spaghetti sauce to make ‘Spaghetti Smoke Meat’.
You’ll find this really good.
I used to get this at a Greek restaurant in Montreal. Really special.
can i use montreal steak spice, instead of a rub, and cure the same way
There are two mixes here. The cure and the rub. The rub has no salt (it will be plenty salty enough at this point). The cure has salt. I don’t know the make-up of the steak spice you want to use. I’m guessing it will be OK for the cure but the proportions of ingredients matter so no guarantees.
Started this last week. Just threw it on the bbq for 9 hour smoke.
Question: can I up the temp to 275-285 to cut down on the smoking time, without jeopardizing quality?
Also, I found I had quite a bit of the rub leftover after coating the brisket. I ended up pouring it in the bag while it rested overnight. Is this common?
I would keep it under 275 but I have never tried running it hot like this so I am not sure what will happen. I’ve done Texas style briskets at 275 and that has worked.
The rub recipe is a bit generous. I just pack it on and what falls off falls off.
Made a double recipe this past weekend. It worked out amazingly! Great recipe, thanks from Bermuda.
Two briskets. You are hardcore! Glad you liked it.
Great recipe and we will be making this one again. Just finished our first sandwiches and will use some for poutine later this week.
Montreal smoked meat poutine. I’m going to go way out there and guess you are Canadian:-)
Now I want some smoked meat poutine…
That’s a great idea. Now that I purchased a propane burner for steaming, I can make fresh fries for poutine 🙂
I live an hour east of Toronto. Where does one find pink salt cure?
I get mine at a specialty food store in Ottawa. You could ask your butcher to point you in the right direction? Or there’s Amazon of course. Search for Prague powder.
Thanks for the reply. I look forward to trying this out.
My pleasure. Please do let me know how it works out for you.
Nella Cucina on Bathurst at has Prague Powder #1 (Insta Cure #1) for around $7 for 150g and a larger size for more money. The 150g should be plenty for quite a few cures.
Thanks for the tip. Tricky thing to find…
Butchers and Packers Supplies in Edmonton carries everything you could ever need. Cure is available in many forms. The easiest is is F. S.Cure. a 6.5％ nitrite that uou combine with table salt. You can order online and they will ship it.
Good to know. Thanks for the tip!
I got mine from Amazon but it looks like its not available.Its currently listed as unavailable but may come back in stock.
Check Princess Auto if you have one nearby. I was able to get small, 50g packages of 6.25% curing salt from them on-line.
This recipe turned out great! Bookmarked and will definitely do again.
Awesome to hear!
Just wondering if I make a 5lb brisket would I use the entire cure recipe for a 12 lbs brisket.
I think you could cut it in half and go with that. The cure quantities are quite generous.
No matter what you do, cut the pink salt in half. You don’t want to overdo that.
Meat turned out excellent. Really reminds me of Schwartz. I used cherry wood and added 1 TBSP each of garlic powder, onion powder and paprika and a pinch of celery seed to the rub.
I did find that the meat was slightly salty. Not sure if I should cut back the salt next time or pink salt. Any thoughts.
I wouldn’t roll back on the pink salt. You could roll back on the salt but I think the best thing would be to make sure to fully do the soak step. Smoked meat is really salty stuff. Like any cold cut really. Serving it warm makes the saltiness more apparent of course.
Put my 12.5 lb brisket in the smoker at 225f as noted in the recipe, and has been there for 6 hours reaching an internal high of 186f. Then I saw the first post that internal should be 155-165f is this correct??? Have I just ruined my brisket? I just turned it down to to reach the lower range for the final few hours.
Please ignore my post, keeping it at 225F, internal temp ~180F. Noticed the post wasn’t your comment.
Hmm… if you got to 186F for a full packer in 6 hours I suspect your smoker thermometer or instant read needs calibrating. I can’t imagine you can get there that fast at 225F. I’ve done Texas style brisket (whole packer) using a digiQ on a big green egg (so I know the temp was right). That’s a 14-16 hour smoke…
In any case I think you’ll be OK. Just make sure it doesn’t go above 195-200F when you steam it.
About to make this. How do you store if you don’t intend on eating the whole thing in one sitting? Would you carve a chunk off then steam that or steam the whole thing and store what is not eaten? Is it appropriate to vacuum seal the remainder and freeze?
Nice! I’ve never had leftovers (people go nuts) but I would steam the whole brisket and vacuum seal the rest in good size chunks. You can gently re-steam until warm to serve. Enjoy!
I have a 13lb packer curing and ready for smoking this sat. What are your thoughts on going from the smoker and into the steam phase without cooling over nite?
13lb packer ready to go. That’s music to my ears!
I have never tried skipping the overnight rest period. It’s coming out of the smoker hot. If you are going to try this without the rest maybe cut the steaming time? Or let it come down some before you start steaming? You are going for the brisket probe test in the end.
I’d love to hear how it goes for you. The cooling over night makes this recipe a bit of a hassle for weekend parties. You really need a 3 day weekend to make it work. Let me know please.
Followed these instructions completely. Just finished and it came out perfect. So excited to have the ability to make my own Montreal smoked meat. Thank you for posting.
My pleasure. Best sandwich ever IMO!
How much of pink salt in grams do you use for this recipe??
Google says 1 Tbsp (3 tsp) of table salt equals 17 grams. I imagine pink salt would not be much different. I don’t use grams when I cook though so no guarantees on the precision here. That said, I don’t think a 5-10% difference will make much difference in the final product.
Getting ready to smoke my second one – I wonder exactly what a “gentle” steam is?
Haha. That is a little ambiguous I guess. A moderate boil. Not a simmer but not a raging boil. Somewhere in between. Definitely not third degree burns/trip to Emergency steam…
On my second Montreal smoked beef
First was super!!
I cut brisket in half and am just in the rinse stage and found out my company was delayed by a day and there coming Monday rather than Sunday.
Want to serve one half right off the steamer.
When should I delay a day?
After the rinse or after the smoke?
I think you would be OK either way. If you are going to smoke all of it at once it’s probably easier to stop after the rinse.
Leaving the rub on an extra day is ok?
I’m more worried about an extra day of cure. I don’t think an extra day with the rub will make much difference.
Going to try this. As a Montrealer in the military, I miss my smoked meats (live 2 blocks from Ben’s) and my poutine!
Can I cure this for longer than. 9 days? And can I wrap it in saran wrap? I don’t think I can find a Ziploc large enough!
I sometimes use two plastic shopping bags on an insert pan usually. The goal is mostly to keep the meat from coming in contact with anything else in the fridge.
I have never taken the cure past 9 days. 10 is probably OK but I don’t know about longer than that.
I would miss my smoked meat and poutine too!
Do you wrap it for the final day?
For the smoke you mean? I never wrap anything.
Just finished making this today. Outstanding,,.
Awesome! You are hardcore!
I grew up in Montreal, eating smoked meat at Schwartz’s and Smoke Meat Pete many times over the thirty years living there. Having moved to the US, I long craved the fatty richness of Montreal smoked meat. Pastrami is made here, but I find it lacking in flavour and texture when compared to the smoked meat found in Montreal. So, I have been on a quest to reproduce this luscious Canadian masterpiece. I have tried many recipes found online from food bloggers to celebrity grill chefs. Many have come close to being perfect, but each has had its shortcomings. This recipe is a true keeper.
Awesome. Thank you.
I’m an Ottawa boy who makes the trip to Montreal regularly for my fix. You can’t get decent smoked meat outside of Montreal if you don’t make it yourself. I spent a lot of time (and ate a lot of smoked meat) trying to figure this out and now have Montrealer friends who live on the Main telling my mine (and now yours) is better than Schwartz’s.
And I totally agree. Pastrami just doesn’t come close.
Tried the recipe as described and the results were awesome. Cured an extra day due to some unexpected event but no biggie I guess.
Why cracked pepper and coriander rather than Powder or ground? Powder would stick a little better as lots fell off.
I vac sealed for the curing as well.
Great recipe nd must be foolproof as I turned heads when I served it!
Buying another brisket this week and this is my new go to.
Live in Canada and AAA brisket is 6.50 a pound, so going to buy spices in bulk to cut down on cost.
Thank you for sharing g a great recipe!
Cracked is traditional. I didn’t invent Montreal Smoked Meat. Just figured out a good way to make it at home. $6.50 a pound is pretty good. I’m paying more than that in Ottawa. But I hear you about bulk spices. I always do that.
I’m trying your recipe right now and can’t wait. I’m in Ottawa as well, just FYI I was able to get a whole brisket for $13.99 /kg, or $6.36 /lb over at http://www.lavergnewesternbeef.com , great place !
The Superstore ha AAA briskit on sale this week for 3.98lb
Mmmm… Christmas brisket.
This seems like an awful lot of coriander…..is it really a half pound or is this 8 fluid oz…measured in a measuring cup? Thanks!
It’s 4 oz of coriander seed for the cure and 3 oz of coriander for the rub. By weight. Not by volume. A whole brisket is a big chunk of meat.
I’m wondering if by weight it’s too much spice? 8oz of ground pepper was quite a bit … can anyone confirm it is really that much?
It’s not ground pepper – it’s cracked pepper. Think like 3-5 little chunks per peppercorn…
Hi there, sounds like you know what you are doing! I used to live in Montreal during the 50’and 60’s! (I know this really dates me) but I crave for this smoked meat, I always get it when visiting Montreal! I was wondering if there was a formula to cut down the recipe to a small piece of brisket, I live alone and would like to try this first!
I don’t have a smoker, but have a small grill, and am not sure if it would work to steam it on a stove top or inside the oven with water! Can you give me some hints as to what I might do a little differently than your original recipe that calls for a large size? I’d really appreciate it, and I will give it a recipe rating too!
I’ve never tried this so please nobody take this as anything but my musing on the question.
You could scale back the size of brisket some. I don’t think that will change much as long as you keep it to the whole flat or the whole point. Maybe you could cut down the cure to 5-6 days if you want to go smaller.
No smoker is trickier. A small grill is probably more trouble than it’s worth. Maybe 8 hours in a 275 F oven followed by the steam. When you can probe with a carving fork and it gives it’s done.
Good luck. Just about any Montreal smoked meat is better than none!
Just buy a chargriller kamado off amazon. Cheap!
How certain are you of the brinning & rub make up relative to traditional recipes? As a displaced Montrealer now living in California I’m taking a shot at making my own. I’m most familiar with Montreal steak spice and its evolution from Schwartz’s and look to this blend as providing some guidance. What are you referencing for your brine and rub and how close to tradition do you think it is?
Thx for detailing the process!
I have eaten at Schwartz’s many, many times. I’m in Ottawa so it’s not far. Across the street at the Main as well (I like the latkes there).
A buddy of mine who has lived his whole life within walking distances of Schwartz’s brought the rye bread in the picture from a bakery in Montreal. He says my smoked meat is as good or better than anything they are serving in Montreal today.
This is not the crap they serve outside of Montreal and call smoked meat. I do not think you will be disappointed…
Where do you get your curing salts? I’m in Ottawa too.
I got mine Grace in the Kitchen in Kanata but that was a long time ago. Somebody commented that they got it at Cabelas Ottawa more recently. Probably a better bet to check there.
I’m totally pumped to make this, born and raised in Montreal and even worked around the corner from Schwartz’s. Am now in Chelsea QC. I’m going to make this on the Big Green Egg I picked up this morning! Thanks for the recipe!
Awesome. Enjoy your egg!
Lavergne western beef in navan
This Recipe was amazing. I have done (tried+) many and I am an avid stick burner. Used Oak also did a Pork shoulder same time.
I used a 14lb prime packer. cured in fridge for 10 days, as stretched to do a friday steam. Was not salty at all. I am from Montreal and had friends over that are also from Quebec to judge. This recipe is going in my favorites.
Thank You very Much!!!
Awesome to hear. Love oak in my stick burner as well!
What temperature do you cook to when you smoke on 9th day?
I’ve added a target of somewhere around 155-165F for the smoke in the post. It’s not super critical if you are cooking a big packer (full brisket) as ultimately you want to get to around 195F during the steam step but be careful if you are trying this with a smaller brisket.
Thanks for pointing this out. I can see where one might get confused.
If you want to render out that fat and collagen so it is fall apart tender, you need to get it to between 200 and 205 degrees for an hour because that is the temp where the fat melts. However, if you do that, you need a razor sharp Japanese carving knife because anything else will just maul the meat.
This isn’t Texas BBQ brisket. Couple things to consider. A rolling boil steam is a lot hotter than 212F. You are going to get a significant rise in temp as the meat rest. It is going to be extremely difficult to keep a brisket at 200-205F for an hour during the roiling boil steam.
I am at the smoking part of the process and want to take my MSM for my brunch on day 1 of the trip which is 2 weeks from now. I will freeze the brisket but don’t know what is the best point to freeze; after the smoking and do the steaming before I serve, or should I steam it now, freeze it and carefully thaw and re-steam before serving?
Thanks for your suggestions!
I once cryovaced and froze a chunk of smoked meat from Schwartz’s (so after it was steamed). I thawed it in the fridge and re-steamed it just to warm it through. It worked pretty well. I think cryovac (foodsaver) was was made it work so maybe cut your brisket into chunks if you don’t have the ability to cryovac the whole thing?
Hello, I am doing a 3lb brisket to try. I reduced the amount to suit the weight. When I go to smoke, will it have to be as long or do i just reach the internal (165) temperature? As for steaming,once again reach the 195 degree when it is ready to remove?
You are going for temperatures. I don’t know how long a 3lb brisket will take.
You want it to be at that temp for an hour with a 3 pound brisket. Remember, it is already cooked. You are just slowly rendering out the fat. If you do not mind the fat, you can probably go with 30 minutes. If you have a whole packer, which is what I use for uncured smoked brisket, I leave it wrapped in foil at temp for 3 hours. I know I’m done when I poke a hole in the bottom of the foil and clear fat runs out. But do it on a rack. You do not want to lay the solid brisket on the pan. It will overcook and stick.
This isn’t BBQ. I love brisket but this isn’t the same thing at all.