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Smoke-Roasted Corned Beef

Make homemade corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day. Brine your own brisket and smoke it on the grill.


Smoke-Roasted Corned Beef

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 6 cups wood chips, preferably oak, soaked in water to cover for 1 hour, then drained
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6
  • Equipment: butcher paper; insulated cooler


  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1-1/4 cups coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Irish whiskey
  • 4 tablespoons prepared pickling spice
  • 1 tablespoon pink curing salt (see tip)
  • 1 3- to 4-pound beef brisket flat, preferably grass-fed

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Combine the water, salt, brown sugar, whiskey, pickling spice, and curing salt in a large nonreactive container. Bring to a boil on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Let cool to room temperature. Add the brisket. Cover and refrigerate for 8 days, turning the meat twice daily. (Weight the meat to keep it submerged in the brine with a bag of ice or a heavy plate.)

Step 2: Drain the brisket and discard the brine. Soak the meat in cold fresh water, then drain again.

Step 3: When ready to cook, set up a charcoal grill or smoker for indirect grilling and preheat to 250 degrees F. Toss 1-1/2 cups of wood chips on the coals.

Step 4: Place the brisket fat-side down on the grill grate and smoke the meat until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F (use an instant read thermometer), about 5 hours, replenishing the charcoal and smoking chips as needed. Wrap the meat in butcher paper and continue smoking 1 hour more, or until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees.

Step 5: Place the corned beef in its butcher paper in an insulated cooler and let rest 1 hour. Transfer to a cutting board and slice the meat against the grain into 1/4-inch slices. Serve with barbecued cabbage.

Recipe Tips

Curing salt, also known as pink salt, Prague powder, or Insta-Cure #1, can be purchased online or from retailers who carry sausage-making supplies. While not strictly necessary, it gives corned beef its traditional pink color.

Use an instant read thermometer like the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4.