Smoked Corned Beef

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Searching for an Irresistible Smoked Corned Beef Recipe? Absolutely, you are! Our mouthwatering smoked corned beef recipe is loaded with flavor, combining expert cooking advice with fail-proof steps to ensure your smoking success. We’re your ultimate destination for mastering this deli classic with ease and confidence.

Who doesn’t love a great corned beef sandwich? Piles of smoky corned beef topped with crisp slaw and dressing between hearty rye bread. It’s divine. This smoked corned beef recipe delivers just that but at a fraction of the cost of buying slices at the market. You’re about to make an amazing meal.

When corned beef is on sale, stock up. This smoked corned beef recipe is perfect for turning a tough cut into delicious thin slices for the best sandwiches, elevated corned beef and cabbage, or even hash. The trick is a simple rub and low and slow smoke that takes what was once a tough cut and transforms it into a new family favorite.


Corned beef is beef brisket that’s been preserved in salt. It is often cut from the brisket flat, a tough cut that was inexpensive for years; it’s a unique pink color spotted at deli counters worldwide due to the nitrites in the curing brine. The brisket point can also be used to make corned beef and has a thicker fat cap but will produce fewer even slices.

Sadly, for years, corned beef had a bad wrap. It was boiled with the pre-mixed seasoning packet and a head of cabbage. The result was a less-than-desirabl, too tender cut of meat and bland, soggy vegetables. And it’s a shame because when cooked properly, it’s delicious. Like a mouthwatering smoked brisket, low temperature and slow cooking time are key to perfectly tender corned beef.

Once a year, when the local grocery store stocks up on supplies for St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef goes on sale, despite not being an Irish dish. And that’s when we stock up. It freezes well; we use it for homemade smoked pastrami and corned beef throughout the year. Corned beef nachos. Oh, that’s a thing. It’s easy enough to make your own deli meat and can save you tons of money. We’re not biased, but we think this smoker recipe is the best way to cook corned beef.


We keep this one simple with a light SPG (salt, pepper, garlic) blend and a pop of paprika.

  • Corned Beef
  • Mustard
  • Salt – we always use kosher salt
  • Pepper – course ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Apple Juice or Vinegar for mop

How to smoke a corned beef

  • Start by removing the corned beef from the package and throwing away the spice packet that comes with it. Rinse it under cool running water then pat it dry with paper towels and place it in a large plastic container. Add cold water and allow the corned beef to sit for one hour.
  • Rinse the water and repeat 2 more times. This helps remove the excess salt for a better flavor.
  • The next day, remove the corned beef from the water and rinse and pat dry again.
    Liberally rub the mustard over the entire surface.
    Combine the salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika in a small bowl to combine the dry rub.
    Pour the spice blend evenly over the entire corned beef. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
  • When ready to smoke, prep the smoker for 250 to 275 degrees F. If using a traditional charcoal grill or smoker, set it up for indirect heat with a drip pan filled with water on the cooler side of the grill, under the grill grate.
  • Add the corned beef to the grill and close the lid when the smoker has come to temp.
  • Allow the corned beef to smoke until it reaches 165 degrees F with a digital meat thermometer.
  • Then place the corned beef on pink paper or aluminum foil and spritz it with apple juice or cider vinegar before wrapping it.
  • Return the wrapped corned beef to the grill and continue to smoke it until it reaches 200 degrees F, spritzing every 20 minutes with more apple juice or vinegar.
  • The size of your corned beef will affect how long effect it takes to cook. For an average grocery store corned beef, expect 4-5 hours. Always check the internal temperature of the meat with an instant-read meat thermometer or probe. When probing a corned beef brisket, it’s essential to insert the temperature probe into the thickest part of the meat for accuracy.
  • When the smoked corned beef’s internal temperature reaches 200F, remove it from the grill and rest for 30 minutes before carving against the grain into thin slices and serving.

What to serve with smoked corned beef

Cabbage, of course. We love smoked cabbage or oven-roasted cabbage steaks and fried fingerling potatoes for an updated classic meal. Smoked baked potatoes are also a great choice. If you want to serve this as a deli sandwich, homemade slaw, and course ground mustard are a must.

Alternatively, we love smoked corned beef brisket shaved thin with havarti dill cheese and mustard on a sandwich and grilled on a flat-top griddle.

Leftovers and Reheating

Wrap leftover corned beef tightly in foil and store in the fridge for up to a week. Slice off the smoked meat as you need to reheat.

Reheat just like our steamed pastrami by using a steamer basket over a pot of simmering water for the most tender bites. This not only reheats the meat but prevents it from drying out.

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