How to Smoke Corned Beef without a Smoker + My Grilling Wish List!
We lived in Texas outside of Lockhart the capital of real Texas bbq. With big family named smoke houses, seriously, the town always smelled like BBQ. And I was totally smitten. When you read any sort of best barbecue tours or reviews, Lockhart will be mentioned they have the best hometown joints. For me what set Texas barbecue apart was the mesquite smoked meats. It seems like up North we just smother grilled meat with sicky sweet sauce and call it BBQ. So for years I thought I disliked barbecue anything.
Well I am a believer now! Smoked Texas BBQ is by far my favorite. There are days when I just have a hankering for that smoky black crusted brisket. But shoot it’s hard to even find a brisket to cook in this area. When St. Patty’s day was here I was all excited to buy up the corned beef at $1.98 a pound. Because that honey is a brisket cut. You have the flat and the point and the price reflects that in corned beef sales.
Smoking Corned Beef on a Charcoal Grill
Of course I stocked up my freezer but I was unsure if smoking corned beef would work. It made sense though because we smoke hams and they are cured. Here is what I decided to do. Since corned beef is extra salty I started by boiling off some of the salt. About 15 minutes and then I rinsed it and patted it dry. Then I started up my grill. My wishlist includes a Traeger smoker but right now I am working with a basic charcoal grill. And it does the trick. I take and make a charcoal briquette circle around the perimeter of the bottom of the bowl. Then sprinkle soaked wood chips on top. Finally you light her up and get it smoking.
You might have to try a few times to get the circle to light up. That is why the ElectroLight is on my wishlist! Anyway, once your grill is lit put your corned beef brisket fat side down away from any flames. You should maintain the heat at around 250-300 degrees F. And then you grab a lemonade and hang out babying that meat and temperature for 5-8 hours depending on the size of brisket. If the flame goes out relight the grill and then turn it off and let the smoke cook instead of a flame. Sometimes I will take a squirt bottle of salt and vinegar solution and spray the outside every 2 hours, although not necessary. Don’t be afraid of getting a black crust, for some people the black ends are the best part!
Finishing and Serving
Once your finished smoking corned beef a meat thermometer should read 170 degrees F. Pull it off the grill and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If you cut right into it you will lose all those juices and that will make for a dry brisket. And that whole day of work will not seem worth it. Once you do cut into the rested meat cut it across the grain and thinly, it will be perfectly warm and juicy. A thinner piece of brisket is much more tender and gives a better mouth feel. Save the burnt ends for me!
My favorite way to serve a brisket is on a brown butcher paper wrapped table. You’ll need some good white bread, pickles, onions, and mayo. If you must a side of vinegar based bbq. Keeping it low key and summer night friendly. Shoot the breeze and enjoy your company over some nice smoked brisket. That is how good barbecue memories are made.
My Summer Barbecue Wishlist:
- ElectroLight Fire Starter: My biggest issues with smoking on a charcoal grill are lighting the briquettes without burning my face off and the flame/smoke going out. I love the ElectroLight by HomeRight because it lights up quickly and has easy to use features and built in safety. Heaven knows we need safety precautions at my house.
2. TTLife BBQ Cooking Gloves: My hands are my favorite kitchen tools and when I am smoking I want to utilize my hands more than using tongs/forks etc.
3. Mesquite Pellets: If you haven’t had mesquite smoked barbecue once you do you won’t want to use anything else. I also love the pellets over chips because they get a thicker smoke going.
4. ThermoPro Wireless Meat Thermometer: This is work every penny. Good meat is cooked to temperature NOT to time. Once you have one of these you will be amazed by how often you use it. Especially if you are that person who never knows if it’s done and cut a big slice down the center losing all your juices. You’ll want this!
5. Traeger Pro Series 22: This is my dream boat of smoking/grilling/barbecuing. With a built in temperature gauge to maintain the heat and meat probes. This makes smoking so simple you will be cooking up a storm. Please tell anyone who wants to buy me a present this is the one I want 🙂