If you’re a fan of bold and savory flavors, then smoked corned beef is a must-try for you. This classic Irish dish is traditionally boiled, but smoking it can take it to a whole new level of flavor and texture.
Smoking corned beef is not rocket science, but it requires a bit of time and effort. In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make the most delicious smoked corned beef at home. From choosing the right cut of meat to smoking techniques and mouthwatering recipes, we’ve got you covered.
So, put on your apron, grab your smoker, and let’s get started!
Choosing the Perfect Cut of Corned Beef
When it comes to making smoked corned beef, choosing the right cut of meat is crucial. Here are some tips to help you make the best choice:
Brisket or Round?
Corned beef is typically made from two cuts of beef: brisket and round. Both cuts can be smoked, but they have different characteristics that can affect the final outcome of your dish.
- Brisket: This cut comes from the lower chest area of the cow and has a higher fat content than round. It’s a bit tougher than round, but it’s also more flavorful. Smoking brisket corned beef can result in a tender and juicy meat with a rich and smoky flavor.
- Round: This cut comes from the hind leg of the cow and has a lower fat content than brisket. It’s leaner and less flavorful than brisket, but it’s also more tender. Smoking round corned beef can result in a milder smoky flavor and a more delicate texture.
Preparing the Meat for Smoking
Once you’ve chosen the perfect cut of corned beef, it’s time to prepare it for smoking. Here’s how:
- Rinse the corned beef under cold water to remove any excess salt.
- Soak the corned beef in cold water for 1-2 hours to remove more salt and to rehydrate the meat.
- Pat the corned beef dry with paper towels.
- Trim any excess fat from the meat, leaving a thin layer to keep it moist during smoking.
Smoking Techniques for Mouthwatering Corned Beef
Now that you’ve prepared the meat, it’s time to smoke it. Here are some smoking techniques to help you achieve a mouthwatering smoked corned beef:
1. Choosing the Right Wood
The type of wood you use for smoking can have a big impact on the flavor of your corned beef. Here are some popular woods for smoking corned beef:
- Oak: This is a popular wood for smoking beef because it produces a mild and sweet smoke flavor that complements the beefy flavor of the meat.
- Hickory: This wood produces a stronger and more pungent smoke flavor that can overpower the beef if used too much. Use hickory sparingly or mix it with a milder wood like oak.
- Mesquite: This wood produces a strong and bold smoke flavor that can be overpowering if used too much. It’s best used in small amounts or mixed with a milder wood like oak.
2. Smoking Temperature and Time
Smoking corned beef requires low and slow cooking to achieve a tender and juicy meat with a smoky flavor. Here are some general guidelines for smoking corned beef:
- Temperature: Set your smoker
- Temperature: Set your smoker to a temperature of 225-250°F.
- Time: Smoking time can vary depending on the size and thickness of your corned beef, but plan for at least 4-6 hours of smoking time.
3. Using a Rub or Marinade
You can add extra flavor to your smoked corned beef by using a rub or marinade. Here are some popular options:
- Mustard rub: Mix equal parts of yellow mustard and brown sugar, and apply it generously to the corned beef before smoking. The mustard adds tanginess and helps the rub stick to the meat, while the brown sugar adds sweetness and helps to form a crust.
- Beer marinade: Mix 1 bottle of beer, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and some black pepper in a bowl. Marinate the corned beef for at least 2 hours before smoking.
Mouthwatering Smoked Corned Beef Recipes
Now that you know the basics of smoking corned beef, it’s time to try some mouthwatering recipes. Here are three delicious options:
1. Smoked Corned Beef Brisket
- 1 corned beef brisket (4-5 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your smoker to 225-250°F.
- Rinse the corned beef brisket and pat it dry.
- Mix the mustard, brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder in a bowl to make a rub.
- Rub the spice mixture generously all over the corned beef brisket.
- Place the brisket in the smoker and smoke for 4-6 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 200°F.
- Remove the brisket from the smoker and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
2. Smoked Corned Beef Hash
- 2 cups of leftover smoked corned beef, diced
- 2 cups of leftover roasted potatoes, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and bell pepper, and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the diced corned beef and roasted potatoes, and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until everything is heated through and crispy.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot with a fried egg on top.
3. Smoked Corned Beef Reuben Sandwich
- Sliced rye bread
- Thousand Island dressing
- Sliced Swiss cheese
- Sliced smoked corned beef
- Spread Thousand Island dressing on one side of each slice of rye bread.
- Place a slice of Swiss cheese on one slice of bread, followed by a generous portion of smoked corned beef and sauerkraut.
- Top with another slice of Swiss cheese and the second slice of bread.
- Spread some butter on the outside of each slice of bread.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat
- Place the sandwich in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
- Remove from the skillet and serve hot.
Smoked corned beef is a delicious and flavorful dish that’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any time of the year. With a little bit of preparation and patience, you can create mouthwatering smoked corned beef recipes that your family and friends will love. Whether you choose to smoke a brisket, make a hash, or create a sandwich, the key is to take your time and enjoy the process. Happy smoking!
FAQs About Smoking Corned Beef
Can I smoke a corned beef that’s already been boiled?
A: Yes, you can smoke a corned beef that’s already been boiled. However, keep in mind that boiling can make the meat more tender and remove some of the flavor, so you may want to adjust your smoking time accordingly.
Can I use a charcoal grill instead of a smoker?
A: Yes, you can use a charcoal grill instead of a smoker. Follow the same temperature and time guidelines, but set up your grill for indirect heat by placing the coals on one side and the meat on the other.
What should I do if my smoked corned beef turns out too salty?
A: If your smoked corned beef turns out too salty, soak it in cold water for a few hours before smoking. This will help to remove some of the excess salt.
Can I freeze leftover smoked corned beef?
A: Yes, you can freeze leftover smoked corned beef. Allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe container. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.