Once you’ve had smoked corn beef, you will never settle for the old norm. Salty, smoky, tender and delicious!
First thing you need to decide is if you want to cure your own brisket, or buy one that is ready to go. You can typically find great deals on corned beef flats around St. Patrick’s Day in the meat case. But if you want to make your own, follow this recipe:
Start with a 4-5# beef brisket flat. Make a brine of 1 gallon of water, 2/3C kosher salt, 1t pink salt (Prague powder), 1 onion and 8 cloves of garlic. Dissolve the salt completely, then add in the onion and garlic. Place the brisket in a large resealable plastic bag and cover completely with brine. Refrigerate for 6-7 days, flipping the bag every day to keep things even.
If you buy a corned beef brisket that is already cured, just jump ahead to the next step.
When ready to cook, rinse the brisket under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Smoke the brisket, fat side up, for 3 hours before moving to a roasting pan. While the brisket smokes, prepare a braising liquid. In a sauce pan, combine 1 bottle of beer (lager, Guinness preferably), 2T brown sugar, 1 1/2 T pickling spice, 1 white onion thickly sliced and 2 garlic cloves. Heat until it simmers.
After the 3 hour smoke, move the brisket to a roasting pan, fat-side down, and pour the braising liquid into the pan. Cover tightly with foil and roast at 250F for 3-4 hours, or until it is fork-tender.
When done, remove the meat from the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Carve 1/4″ slices across the grain and enjoy the best corned beef ever!