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Montreal smoked meat is Canada’s answer to the pastrami sandwich. And it is a seriously great sandwich.

I love sandwiches. And my absolute favourite sandwich is the Montreal smoked meat sandwich. Piled high on rye bread with ballpark yellow mustard and served up with a kosher dill.

Montreal smoked meat is bullet proof BBQ brisket

My second favourite thing to do with a brisket is to smoke it Texas style. BBQ brisket is one of the truly great things in this world. In my opinion anyway.

But it’s hard to nail. Really hard. Overdone or underdone it’s dry. But there’s this point where BBQ brisket just jiggles when you poke it. Where it’s so juicy and flavourful. Magic.

I’ve tried many times. Sometimes it fantastic. Sometimes it’s not. But I can make Montreal smoked meat consistently. And so can you.

Making it is a campaign. Epic really. It takes 10 days start to finish. It takes up a bunch of room in your fridge. You have to tend to it every day. Smoke it then and then steam it. Real work. But it’s so worth it. And it’s pretty much bulletproof.

Montreal smoked meat is different than BBQ

Montreal smoked meat is cured, then smoked, then steamed. Just like pastrami. It’s made with beef brisket though. Pastrami is made with the navel.

You want to find a source for a high quality, untrimmed brisket. If the fat cap is any less than 3/8 inch stay away. Fat is critical. You want it. This isn’t health food. No doubt about that.

Curing salt is key

The first step is to cure the meat. So you need to know what you are doing. There are different formulas for curing salts. It’s important to understand the differences.

This recipe uses pink salt or prague powder number 1. It’s 6.25% sodium nitrite in salt. If you use a different curing salt follow the instructions to make sure you are using the right amount.

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.

It’s a 8 day cure. Seems like a long time. But it works. Wrap it up. Make room in your fridge. And flip it every day. That’s it. Not hard. Just slow. The ultimate slow food.

montreal smoked meat brisket

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.

Then it’s just a matter of letting it rest. Then all you need to do is slice it thin across the grain. And pile it high on good rye bread. A little ballpark mustard. Heaven.

Try this when you have a bunch of friends coming for a backyard barbecue. Tell them the good old boys from Canada let you in on their secret. Only in Montreal and your backyard…

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montreal smoked meat sandwich
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4.85 from 32 votes

montreal smoked meat

This is a true Canadian masterpiece. I think it's best sandwich in the world.
Course Main
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword bbq brisket, montreal smoked meat, pastrami
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 12 hours
9 days
Total Time 9 days 13 hours
Servings 12 big sandwiches
Calories 838kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

The rub

  • 6 oz black pepper corns, cracked
  • 3 oz coriander seed cracked

Instructions

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.

Notes

The prep time is about one hour but the cure takes 10 days so make sure you allow the time for the process to run its course.
This is a dry cure. I had a comment about somebody doing a wet brine. This is not a wet brine. You rub the brisket with the cure and refrigerate the brisket as is. Please don't make this mistake.
One easy way to crack the spices is to put them into a food processor and pulse until you get a coarse "grind". Fast and easy.

Nutrition

Serving: 12servings | Calories: 838kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 98g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 281mg | Sodium: 3309mg | Potassium: 1965mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 110IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 230mg | Iron: 13.4mg

179 thoughts on “montreal smoked meat

    • 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.

    • 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?

  1. 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…

        • 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

    • 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!!
        Question
        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?
        Thanks

        • 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.

      • 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!

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?
    Thanks.

    • 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!

  8. 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

    • 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.
    Thanks

    • 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…

    • 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…

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

    Thanks,
    Jeroen

    • 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.

  17. 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’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.

        • 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?

    • 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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…

    Thanks!

    • 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

      • 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.

  26. Hi Romain,
    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?
    Thanks again!

    • 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.

            Enjoy friend!!!!

  27. 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!

  28. 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!!!!!!!

  29. Hi Romain
    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.
    Jim

    • 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.

        • 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 !

  30. 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.

  31. Romain,

    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.

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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…

  35. Quick question,

    2 options.. Steam it right after smoking it

    or

    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?

  36. 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.

    Marc

    • 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!

  37. Hi
    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 .
    Thank you

    • 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.

  38. 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…

  39. 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.

  40. 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…

  41. 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:-).

    • 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.

  42. 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…

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