Smoked Corned Beef

Smoked Corned Beef

Corned beef is a cut of meat that is prepared with a pickling spice pack. It is not the same as fresh beef brisket, but rather a cured and smoked product made from brisket flat cut typically.

Smoking corned beef is something that you can do at home if you have the right supplies, which include a smoker. In addition, it requires following some simple steps. The process does require some time and preparation but will deliver satisfactory results. 

Smoked Corned Beef

What is corned beef?

Corned beef is not actually corned. It does not include any corn at all. The word “corned” refers to the large grains of salt that it uses for curing meat in an old English dialect known as Cornish.

Therefore, corned beef is essentially cured brisket flat cut with spices and then smoked until done. Note that no actual corn is used when making corned beef; you will notice this if you’ve ever read a recipe or watched someone make the product in person!

What types of cuts can be used for corning?

Corned beef can be prepared from either brisket flat or pointcuts. The two are similar in appearance, but the pointcut contains more fat within it than the flat cut.

For smoking corned beef, you should use brisket flat cuts since they handle smoke better than pointcuts which tend to produce a greasy product when smoked.

What are the benefits of corned beef?

There are several benefits of corned beef.

First, it is extremely inexpensive to prepare since brisket flat cuts are generally under $3 per pound.

Second, it provides an intense flavor that you can’t get with other types of meat. It has its roots in the flavors of the old country and is a great way to add some spice to your barbecue.

In addition, it is a very versatile meat. You can prepare corned beef as you would other meats such as pork or beef. It works well in soups and stews, on sandwiches, and many other dishes.

Another advantage of corned beef is that it can be stored for a long time if kept under correct conditions. This makes it an excellent choice for emergencies or other times when you may not have access to fresh meat.

Finally, corned beef has been shown to be a healthy product that contains vital nutrients that are good for the body. In fact, it was once prescribed as a health tonic by doctors after World War I!

How is corned beef different from regular beef?

Since it has been cured, corned beef takes on some of the flavors of other meats. This is why you will often find that it tastes like ham or pork if it is not prepared correctly. 

In addition, since it has been brined, corned beef does have a slightly salty taste to it. If you are used to eating regular meat products without any salt at all, then this can be an uncomfortable experience for your palate!

Finally, most corned beef comes with spices added to help flavor the product further. These spices differ from brand to brand and preparation method but can include garlic, black pepper, pimento seeds, chili powder-based seasonings among others.

What is the best way to prepare corned beef?

In order to prepare a good corned beef, you will need to know how long it takes for your smoker to do the job. This is the most important thing that you must do before beginning the process.

It can vary according to whether or not you are using an offset or vertical type of smoker. A brisket flat cut usually takes between 4-5 hours depending on the smoker’s temperature and other factors such as humidity levels, outside temperature, etc. 

You should also consider brining your corned beef prior to smoking so that it absorbs more flavor from your spices. You can find recipes here on how to prepare brine for this purpose if you are unfamiliar with the steps but basically, you soak it in saltwater for 1-2 days prior to smoking to give it a stronger flavor.

Cooking methods for corned beef?

There are several ways to cook corned beef.


Preparation of corned beef by smoking is the most popular method. You can smoke it using any type of wood chips to give it a unique flavor. Oak, hickory, applewood are all good choices for this purpose. 

After adding your spices and then brining it, simply let your smoker do its job! This should take between 4-5 hours depending on the smoker’s temperature and other factors mentioned above.


You can also boil corned beef in water or broth if you don’t want to smoke it. It will still come out tender but doesn’t add any distinct flavors that result from smoking techniques. 


Corned beef can be grilled as well especially when you are using thin cuts of meat. Just like with boiling, it will come out tender but doesn’t add any distinct flavors that result from smoking.

Why should you smoke your corned beef?

Smoking is the best way to prepare a good corned beef for several reasons.

First, it allows you to taste all of the flavors of your spices without completely covering them with salt. This helps keep your meat less salty and makes sure that all of those delicious flavors come through! 

In addition, smoking lets you enjoy the flavor of wood chips which will give it a unique taste from regular boiling or grilling. 

Finally, if you are using larger cuts of meat, then smoking can help seal in juices so that your meat ends up being more tender and flavorful as a result.

How to smoke corned beef?

Choosing beef: The first step is to choose beef. Corned beef is usually made from brisket, which is one of the fattier parts of the cow. This provides you with more flavor compared to other cuts!

Preparing your spices: You should now consider how many spices you are going to use on your corned beef. You can try different combinations depending on availability or personal preference but two popular choices include bay leaves and thyme (for a more subtle taste) and black peppercorn for a deeper flavor (with rosemary). Some people also add juniper berries to help improve the flavors even further.

Brining: Soaking your meat in brine will allow it to absorb more flavor and salt from the spices that you will add later. You will also need to prepare a brine solution and soak your beef in this for 1-2 days prior to smoking it (you can find recipes here).

Marinating: After you have soaked your meat, the next step is to prepare a marinade before actually starting to smoke it. You can use wine or beer along with tomato sauce and thyme for this purpose. If you want something more classic, go with olive oil and vinegar plus bay leaves and black peppercorns. 

Smoking: Now that you have all of the prepping out of the way, it’s almost time to start smoking your beef! As mentioned above, covering corned beef with olive oil and vinegar is most traditional but you can also try different ingredients if you would like. Some people even use honey or fruit juice to give their meat a unique flavor. 

The next step is to add your wood chips to get started on smoking. To go with the flavors outlined above, try using oak, hickory, applewood, etc. Just make sure they are not soaked in water or else they won’t burn properly! You should also consider soaking them in the marinade that you earlier for added flavor.

Your final step is to let your smoker or grill do its job! This should take between 4-5 hours depending on the smoker’s temperature and other factors mentioned above. Your meat is ready when it can easily be pierced with a fork. If you use larger cuts, keep in mind that they will not be fully cooked so you will have to finish the cooking process after taking them out of the smoker or grill. 

Smoked Corned Beef

What types of smokers or grills should you use?

You can use a variety of smokers to smoke your corned beef. These include electric smokers, propane smokers, pellet smokers, and even charcoal smokers!

Electric smokers: These are usually known for their ease of use since you do not need to adjust the heat manually. Instead, this is done automatically by sensors that detect changes in temperature. You can also find digital electric smokers where you can set your preferred temperature and time right from the unit itself. 

Propane smokers: These have a simple design compared with most other types of smokers but produce great-tasting corned beef! In general, these also have a built-in meat thermometer so that you can easily monitor your meat’s internal temperature without having to leave your house or grill it outdoors. 

Pellet smokers: These have an advantage over most other types of smokers because they will let you change the flavor profile of your food simply by changing the pellets that go into the machine. You can choose between different flavors like hickory, applewood, and even mesquite! 

Charcoal smokers: These are usually cheaper than electric or propane smokers but require more work since you will need to monitor the heat manually. That said, charcoal is also an excellent choice if you want to make authentic-tasting corned beef using recipes your great grandparents would have made (especially if they were born outside of America!).

Smoking salt vs regular salt: Which should you choose?

You can use either smoking salt or regular salt for your corned beef, depending on the flavor you want. Smoking salt is better if you want to preserve the authentic flavor of cured meat while regular salt can help bring out subtle flavors that are usually buried under the intense taste of smoked beef. That said, this doesn’t mean that you should automatically pick one over the other!

If your recipe calls for smoking salt but all you have is regular salt available, go ahead and try it. This will not significantly alter the taste so much so that it would be considered truly awful by most people! You should still consider adding some other spices to improve the flavors though. 

What types of wood chips are best for smoking corned beef?

What types of wood make the best chips or chunks to smoke your corned beef with? To give you an idea, here is a list of some of the most popular choices: 

Hickory: These make a great choice if you want a strong and smoky flavor. Some people even consider these as the king of all smoking woods! They have been used by pitmasters from different parts of the world to add intense flavors that cannot be easily replicated by other types of wood. 

Oak: This type of wood is less intense compared with hickory but also has a unique flavor that works well in smoked meats. It’s not as tart as mesquite but it still gives off a nice, smoky taste. Oak chips are also less messy to use compared with other types of wood chips since these don’t need pre-soaking like hickory and mesquite. 

Apple: These produce a sweet flavor that isn’t as strong as hickory or oak but goes well with beef, fish, pork, and more! They are especially popular for turkey smokers because the resulting meat is not too salty but tastes great overall.

Mesquite: This type of wood has an intense flavor that can be described best as smoky-sweet (although some would describe it as bitter). It’s not for everyone though so if you want something milder but still unique tasting, go for instead.

Cherry: These produce a subtle smoky flavor that isn’t too tart to the point of being overpowering. They may not be as popular as hickory or oak but they’re still a solid choice if you want something more subtle for your corned beef smoking session!

What types of sauces and rubs go well with corned beef?

Sauces and rubs are optional but they can help you improve the flavor of your corned beef, especially if you want something more than just salt and pepper. Keep in mind that too much sauce or rub can overpower the flavor of your meat so use these carefully!

You should also keep in mind that only preservative-free ingredients should be used for both types of condiments to ensure maximum freshness. Also, choose options that are sugar-free because otherwise, you might end up ruining the taste of your corned beef (or even create recipe fails). 

Here’s a list of some potential sauce and rub options for your consideration:

BBQ sauces: There are many different brands there so it all comes down to individual preference! Some of the most popular choices include Sweet Baby Ray’s, Stubbs Original, and KC Masterpiece.

Mustard: This option may be more challenging to find since not many brands of mustard offer preservative-free options. However, if you can get your hands on a good one (like Sir Kensington’s), it can help enhance the flavor of your corned beef while also adding a subtle tanginess that makes this condiment stand out from the rest! 

Spice rubs: These are an excellent choice if you want something spicy but still complement the taste of salty corned beef. In fact, some people use these as their main flavoring agent by ditching salt altogether! A couple of examples include Badia Complete Seasoning and Badia Sazon.

What to pair with smoked corned beef?

As mentioned earlier, making corned beef is easy as long as you have access to the right equipment and ingredients. But if you want the best-tasting results possible, don’t forget about pairing it together with other ingredients. After all, this is one of those dishes where each ingredient complements each other perfectly so it should definitely be treated as such!

Here are some examples of great side dishes you can pair with your corned beef:

Potatoes: A traditional Irish dish that goes well with any smoked meat! You can boil them or even make mashed potatoes to go with your dinner.

Cabbage: Another classic side dish for this type of meal is cabbage as long as you know how to properly cook it! Recipes for braised cabbage can be easily found online, so try tinkering around with those if you want something new.

Greens: Hearty greens like spinach and kale are a good idea too since they’re packed full of nutrients and will help balance out your entree. Again, just look up some recipes on how to cook these nicely and pair these together with the right flavors that best compliment the taste of corned beef.

What drinks to pair with corned beef?

If you want an alcoholic beverage while eating your dinner, MIGHT be a good idea to go for something light and refreshing. Why not try pairing your dinner with some light beer or even rosé wine? Check out these examples:

Light beer: Brands like Miller Lite, Coors Light, and Budweiser are all great options if you’re looking to pair your corned beef dinner with something that goes well with the meal but doesn’t overpower it either.

Rosé: This type of wine can compliment any kind of meat dish so why not give it a chance with yours too? Many types of rosés come off as dry or tart yet simultaneously fruity and sweet so they may just turn out to be your new favorite drink.

Just remember: The main reason why you might want to try pairing alcoholic beverages with food is that it helps you savor and enjoy the flavor of each ingredient better! So go ahead and give those a try but don’t overdo it either!

Tips for smoking corned beef?

For all the newbies out there who’re planning to make their own corned beef for the very first time, here are a few tips that can help ensure your success:

Be sure to use fresh meat: The less time meat has been sitting around in storage means the fresher it is! Thus, you might want to try making this dish on a day when you’re going grocery shopping and buying your ingredients right then and there.

Note how long you should smoke: There’s still some debate about how long exactly one should smoke their corned beef but most people agree that around 3-4 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit is enough before they take it out and give it some rest. The exact amount of cooking time will depend on how thick your cut of meat is so it’s best to check every hour or so.

Be generous with the spice rub: This is definitely true if you plan on smoking your meat. Since it’s already marinating in spices and brine, adding more to the mix will only enhance its flavor and taste! So go ahead and try different types of rubs to see which ones work best for your palate.

Add heat: One trick that some people use when smoking corned beef is by adding heat into the equation to get that smoky taste we all love about BBQing other dishes like chicken and ribs. You can accomplish this by putting in a few chunks of wood during the smoking process to get that signature smoky taste.

Use a foil pan: This is something you should do if you’re smoking a store-bought corned beef in particular since it probably won’t fit into your smoker without any issues. Wrap up the meat with aluminum foil and place it right on top of the rack before switching on your machine! Sure, this might take a little bit longer to cook but it will definitely end up turning out great if you follow these simple steps.

What equipment do you need to smoke corned beef?

Smoking your corned beef is something that may take a little bit of extra time and work at first but for many people, it’s well worth the effort. So what kind of equipment will you need to do this? Here’s a list of the most commonly used tools when smoking this type of meat:

Smoker or oven that can reach at least 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 hours: Of course, you’ll need something that has good temperature control so it doesn’t get too hot or cold while cooking your meal. The average temperature for smoking meat is between 200 and 275 degrees so keep in mind how much heat you have to work with.

Wood chips or chunks: You can find these at almost any grocery store near the BBQing equipment section so don’t worry about having to go out of your way to get them. They’re basically just pieces of wood that are really easy to light up and use since all you have to do is put them directly on top of your coals or oven.

Meat thermometer: If you’re planning on doing any kind of big BBQing projects in the future, this might be a good investment to make since it helps ensure that every dish comes out perfectly. This type of thermometer can tell you exactly how hot your meat is inside without cutting into it all the way and ruining it so if you don’t already have one, we recommend getting one as soon as possible!

Apron: We know not everyone likes wearing aprons but we’d highly recommend using some sort of protection when cooking with fire since we don’t want anyone accidentally catching themselves on fire while they’re trying to enjoy their meal! Protective clothing such as an apron or some other outfit will definitely help make sure that things are kept under control while you’re cooking.

Safety tips to keep in mind:

Smoking your corned beef is a pretty easy process as long as you follow these simple safety tips as well as all of the other information we’ve given you above. Here are some additional pointers to help make things even easier for you when smoking your meat:

Keep kids and pets away from the cooking area at all times: You don’t want anyone getting hurt so be sure to stay on top of this since it’s a good idea to have someone watching over things throughout the entire process.

Don’t leave the grill unattended: This is another tip that goes along with keeping an eye on children and pets while you’re cooking – it’s important not to take your eyes off of what’s going on or else something might get out of control and that could lead to a disaster.

Don’t smoke anything on an unstable surface: You don’t want your table or the ground you’re cooking on to wobble at all so make sure they’re both stable while you’re smoking any type of meat, especially corned beef. It’s better to play it safe than sorry here!

Keep flames away from the open window: When cooking with fire, you definitely shouldn’t be smoking near open windows for safety reasons since things can get pretty intense sometimes and we don’t want anyone getting burned! Keep the windows closed while smoking meat if at all possible.

Hang beef rather than laying it flat when roasting: This is one way that might help preserve moisture levels in your meat so if you’re planning on smoking your corned beef for a long period of time, this is definitely worth trying out.

Keep the oven door closed: This goes along with the tip above as well – smoke can escape through small cracks and that will create problems such as uneven cooking or even ruined meat. If you keep things tightly sealed up, you shouldn’t have any issues whatsoever!

Smoked corn beef recipes:

Now that you know all about the process used for smoking corned beef, it’s time to think about what you’re going to do with it once it’s finished. Here are a couple of ideas to help get your creative juices flowing so you’ll have no trouble coming up with something great!

Corned beef hash: A great meal to have on the weekends, the corned beef hash is one of those dishes that can be served at any time and enjoyed by everyone. You’ll need about a pound of cooked corned beef for this recipe so you might want to keep it around just in case you don’t feel like cooking something else!


1 lb. prepared corned beef, 1 medium onion, diced 4 potatoes, peeled and diced, Salt & pepper to taste, 2 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley, ½ cup milk or cream ¼ cup water


In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the onions until they’re soft and translucent – this should take about 5-7 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook until they’re tender (about 15 minutes). Season everything to taste with salt and pepper, stir in the parsley and remove from heat. Separately blend the water or milk, cooking liquid, and corned beef until smooth then pour over the potato mixture. Reheat before serving.

Corned beef casserole: This is a great recipe for those days when you want something lighter but still delicious! The corned beef casserole will remind you of those childhood dinners where everything was baked together so it’s warm, simple, and very filling as well.


1 1/2 lbs prepared corned beef, 1 tsp salt ½ tsp ground black pepper, 1 cup sour cream, 2 tbsp flour, 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, 8 oz package of mixed veggies, thawed, 16 oz package of cooked noodles, Seasoning for potatoes if desired


Preheat oven to 375 degrees then greases a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Arrange the meat in an even layer on the bottom of the pan and spread the mix of vegetables over top. Combine sour cream with flour and ¼ teaspoon salt; pour mixture overall before sprinkling evenly with cheese. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned around the edges. Serve alongside mashed potatoes that have been seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.



What are the differences between corned beef and pastrami?

Yes, this is one of those dishes where many people get confused about the main seasoning ingredient especially when it’s prepared differently (such as steaming or smoking). So before we proceed, here are some things you need to know about corned beef vs pastrami:

As mentioned earlier, both types of meats are heavily seasoned with salt. However, they’re also treated differently in terms of preparation since one is smoked while the other is boiled (in flavored water) for hours after applying the spice mixture. Another distinction is that corned beef uses nitrates while pastramis don’t – although both products contain sodium nitrite.

This means that pastrami is less salty compared to corned beef but still offers the same mouthwatering taste in general. It’s also known to be spicier due to its dominant black pepper seasoning, plus it has a more robust beefy flavor – which makes eating this type of sandwich way more fun!

Why is my corned beef tough?

Most of the time this means there is too much cooking going on or your meat was overcooked which creates “stringiness.” You want your cuts of meat to remain moist and tender while still giving them a great deal of flavor when they’re done cooking. That’s why it’s important if you want something that has both characteristics (moist/tender), then go with braising which will actually help break down tougher cuts of meat like brisket or round which is what corned beef and other types of corned beef recipes use.

How do I know when my corned beef is done?

You want the meat to reach an internal temperature of about 190 degrees. This is when you’ll know that your beef is tender and ready for serving!

Why should I keep the oven door closed while cooking my corned beef?

It’s important if you want to maintain a consistent temperature throughout so it cooks evenly. You also don’t want smoke affecting the flavor of the roast which can be ruined due to escaping through cracks in your oven. If there are no smoke leaks, then you shouldn’t have any issues whatsoever!

Why is corned beef pink?

There are salts and coloring agents used when creating corned beef that cause it to take on a pinkish hue. Because your meat absorbs these additives, the color is going to remain where it belongs during and after cooking so don’t worry about any of that!

Can you get food poisoning from corned beef?

You could if your meat is not kept at the proper temperature during storage and for a short enough time before cooking. If you want to ensure that this doesn’t happen, then make sure you check all dates carefully as well as anything else pertaining to food safety such as the color of the meat which should be pink but not too dark as well as whether or not there are any signs of molding or fuzzy growth around the edges.

What does corned beef taste like?

It tastes similar to pastrami but is usually made of different cuts of beef which are typically brisket, round, or plate.

How many calories are in corned beef?

About 335! Since it’s considered to be more on the “reduced fat” spectrum, then you’re going to get more out of your meal because it’s less processed and still has that amazing flavor without all the added fat and sodium like ham or turkey lunchmeat.

How to store smoked corned beef?

You want to make sure that your meat is cooled completely before you store it, especially if there are leftovers from a big meal. It’s recommended if you can refrigerate leftover corned beef within two hours of cooking which will help prevent the growth of bacteria (such as E. coli or Salmonella) and keep it fresh for up to 4 days. You should also avoid washing any type of smoked meat since this can cause cross-contamination in your sink which could be going straight into your food!

How long can I keep corned beef in my refrigerator?

You should try to use it within 3-4 days because after that the flavor will start to diminish and you’ll be left with a “gamey” taste. It’s also important that you don’t freeze corned beef while raw since this may lead to bacterial growth. If there is any meat that has been pre-cooked, then feel free to freeze it for up to 4 months!

What can I do with leftover corned beef?

There are so many delicious meals that you could make out of leftovers whether it’s for dinner or lunch the next day. If you’re looking to switch things up, then try corned beef hash which is a favorite among many people who have already discovered how amazing this cut of meat really is!

Do I need to soak corned beef before smoking?

No, you really don’t have to do this. Soaking it in brine before smoking will give your meat that extra boost of flavor especially if you like more complex tastes which can be accomplished through the process of making a simple brine!

Does smoking preserve food?

Smoking is a process that preserves food and prevents it from spoiling by removing moisture and fat as well as chemicals and other additives which allow bacteria to grow. Smoking also adds flavor to the meat through the use of heat!

Do you use the juice from corned beef?

Yes! In fact, you should try to save as much liquid from your meat as possible because it’s not just water that you’re going to be left with. There are so many uses for the liquid smoke which can add a whole new level of flavor to anything from potatoes to appetizers and even desserts.



Smoking your corned beef is an effective way to make sure it comes out tasting great every single time and we hope these tips and pointers were able to help show you how easy it is to do this! Be sure to follow all instructions closely and don’t be afraid to try new techniques here and there – most people enjoy playing around with different ideas to see what works best for them.


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