(My subconscious eagerness to share this may have caused me to accidentally publish it before saying anything…  By the way, WordPress, if you’re reading, a “confirm publish” pop-up may be quite useful you know)  Uhem… so, where was I?

There are two types of carnivorous Earthlings in this cosmos.  One who has been blessedly graced by the acknowledgement and transformative tevilah of a truly, truly great pastrami.  And one who unknowingly misunderstands it as being overrated.  Before stepping a foot in New York, I couldn’t care less what a chunk of weirdly pink, muscularly dry and cold Jewish staple would taste like in between two pieces of woodboard-rye, but then of course, Katz got my tongue at the age of 21.  Before stepping a foot in Montreal where they can’t even get bagels right, I couldn’t care less what us Canadians have to say about a warm, spiced-up version of pastrami they call “smoked meat”.  Then I again stood humbly corrected at the heel of Schwartz a few years later.  Life since, has never been the same.

faux-smoked-meat04 faux-smoked-meat01faux-smoked-meat03

If you have ever been touched by the light of pastrami-gospel, you better make sure that you stay inside it because such enlightenment could backfire when you move to a place where there is none, which is to say, shit, everywhere else.  Five years ago I left pastrami-land, and started to see the hidden side of reality stripping itself naked from my previously blissful ignorance.  Without it blindfolding my appetite, I’m haunted by the pastrami-vacancy that I didn’t even know was there.  I now realized that there’s New York.  There’s Montreal.  Then there’s the rest of the barren world without this smoky pink.

But I never took an action beyond bitter resentment and a trip down memory lane.  Sure I have heard of false prophecies of adequate delis here and there, but the possibility to find a just-as-good pastrami or smoked meat elsewhere in the world, is instantly severed by good senses and a dose of snobbishness.  Such complex didn’t drive me into the kitchen to forge my own either, because the idea of making smoked meat or pastrami without a smoker or a Jewish grandmother for that matter, felt preposterously moronic.  Offensive even.  Being a genetically wired doubter, I’d like to think I have respect for artisans.

Until yesterday, I stood correctly again, by myself, 13 years after my first encounter with a true pastrami.

faux-smoked-meat06 faux-smoked-meat05 faux-smoked-meat07faux-smoked-meat29

A couple years ago, when I was herding my boredom aimlessly through the fields of a gourmet food store in Hong Kong, I heard a voice…  OK, fine no.  I simply spotted a plain box of hickory smoked sea salt sitting on its bright-lighted, commercial and non-mystical isle.  The house-plants section just next to it wasn’t on fire either.  See, a sign from the above should always be so comprehensive and straight-forward I always say.  Anyhow, an idea came to me, in combination of a pastrami recipe I read on the Charcuterie -bible, that I could theoretically reduce the amount saltiness in the meat-brine with a combination of kosher salt and smoked salt, then boost with more smoked salt as part of the spiced-crust as a cheat-way to introduce smokiness to the meat without smoking.  Just hypothetically, you know, an idea to sit on for the next 3 years to come because us doubters normally act carefully upon speculation.

Until last night, the cosmos decided the time was ripe.  I put my task in action.



This, guys, this tasted, fucking unbelievable it was almost miraculous.  A pile of sticky, melty, cured heaven far beyond the borders of pastrami-holy land.  It was like the pastrami-God and I leaned forward and touched fingers.  The smokiness wasn’t aggressively pronounced – as it shouldn’t really be anyways – but unmistakably there.  If anything, a few final sprinkles of smoked sea salt on top of the slices took it right where it should be.  Best yet, even thought it may not look so, it was possibly one of the least gruesome, fuss-free work I’ve done in the pursuit of an impressive spectacle to be admired over, only requiring kitchen-skills such as boiling water and dry-rubbing spices, and perhaps the entire season of House of Cards to get you through the waiting-time.

Seriously, I’ve cooked eggs that involve more work.

I won’t even blame you if you’re sitting cautiously doubtful in front of your computer right now, as you should towards anything too good to be true.  In fact, sleep on it, like I did.  Because such destined calling needs time to mature.  Then, for whatever reason when you decide to take the dive, expect the world atlas to change forever as mine.

From now on, there’s New York.  There’s Montreal.  And then there’s my kitchen.  Potentially yours, too.



This recipe is more “smoked meat” than “pastrami”, more spiced-up and served hot or at least warm.  Because… oh shit… here it goes.  MontrealsmokedmeatisbetterthanNewYorkpastrami.  There, I said it.

I’ve talked a bit more about pink salt/DQ curing salt/DC curing salt in the duck prosciutto post, and there are extensive details about it in the book.  I understand that unfamiliarity can sometimes be intimidating, but if you are even just semi-serious about charcuteries, that’s the one thing you should keep in your pantry.  Without going into details, you should know that its main purpose is to “prevent botulism poisoning”, which sounds like something we’d like to avoid, doesn’t it?  Nowadays getting it takes nothing but a few clicks online and you’ll see it resting on your doorstep a few days later, not to mention that it keeps forever just like salt.  So chop chop.

In Asia, there is no specifically separated cut as a “brisket”, which is usually left attached to the rest of the riblet scraps and connective tissues and sold as rib/chest-meat or niu-nan.  In the first picture you can see these strips of meat and connective tissues where the rib-bones used to be attached to.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, it’s fucking fantastic!  These meat-scraps and connective tissues cook down to wonderfully sticky and gelatinous bonuses that only aid the pursuit of a perfectly moist pastrami.  If you are able to get this cut, I would highly recommend it.  If not, good old brisket would do beautifully.

UPDATE 2015/10/22:  I want to reduce the smoked salt in the “spice crust” from 1/4 cup (40 grams) to 1/8  cup (20 grams), then reserve the rest to sprinkle on the finished product to have a more pronounced “smokiness”.


  • Faux-smoked meat/pastrami:  adapted from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn
    • 3 ~ 5 lbs (1.5 ~ 2.5 kg) of beef brisket/rib meat
    • Brine:
      • 4 litres of water
      • 6.6 oz (185 grams) of kosher salt (pls measure by weight because different brands differ in weight)
      • 1/4 cup (40 grams) of hickory smoked sea salt
      • 3/4 cup (172 grams) of sugar
      • 1/4 cup (44 grams) of dark brown sugar
      • 1/4 cup (85 grams) of honey
      • 2 1/2 tbsp (1.5 oz/42 grams) of pink salt/DQ curing salt/DC curing salt
      • 1 tbsp (8 grams) of pickling spice
      • 7 cloves of garlic, smashed
    • Spice crust:
      • 3/4 cup (90 grams) of black peppercorns
      • 1/3 cup (27 grams) of coriander seeds
      • 1/3 cup (27 grams) of mustard seeds
      • 1/8 cup (20 grams) of hickory smoked sea salt, plus more to sprinkle at serving
      • 1 tbsp (8 grams) of pickling spice (store-bought or recipe below)
  • 1 loaf of New York deli rye bread:  recipe from Smitten Kitchen
  • Yellow mustard to serve
  • More hickory smoked sea salt to taste

To brine the meat (3 to 4 days ahead):  If you are using store-bought pickling spice like I did and the seeds and berries came whole, just lightly crack the spices in a mortar/spice-grinder.  Combine everything under the “Brine” in a large pot and bring to a simmer.  Stir until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved, then leave to cool completely (in theory, if you have lots of ice-cubes to spare: you can probably start with 2.5 litres of water, then add 1 litre of ice-cubes later to speed up the cooling-time).  After the water has completely cooled to room-temperature, submerge the brisket/rib meat (leave a good 1/2″ or 1 cm surface-fat attached) inside the brine, and put a plate on top to press it down if necessary.  Cover the pot and let brine in the fridge for 3 days (some recipes say 2 days… so if you’re in a hurry).

To cook the meat (the night before):

6:00 ~ 6:10 PM – Make the spice crust:  Toast the coriander seeds and mustard seed on a skillet over medium heat until they start to pop rapidly and smell fragrant.  Coarsely grind them in a mortar or spice-grinder, then set aside.  Coarsely grind the black peppercorns and add to the coriander/mustard seeds mixture, then finely grind the pickling spice and add it to the mix.  Add the hickory smoked sea salt and mix evenly.  You may have leftover of this mixture depending on the size of your meat.

6:10 ~ 6:20 PM:  Rinse the brisket/rib meat under water (it’s ok if there are some spices sticking to it) and pad dry.  Place it on top of 2 layers of heavy-duty foil, then apply a generous coating of the spice crust-mixture all over the meat.  Press the mixture into the meat to help it stick if must.  Wrap the meat tightly inside the foil and make a couple of slits on the bottom to drain excess liquid.  Set over a baking rack, slits-side down, on top of a baking sheet.  Leave over the counter for 2 hours for the meat to completely come back to room-temperature.

7:50 PM:  Preheat the oven on 220ºF/105ºC.

8: 20 PM ~ 8:20 AM the next morning:  The meat will stay 12-hours inside the oven overnight, so plan accordingly depending on your schedule – say if you normally wake up at 8 o’clock in the morning (or 12 at noon…), then you should start the cooking at 8 o’clock the night before (uhem, or 12 at midnight…).  Place the baking sheet inside the oven then just forget it’s there for the next 12 hours.  There’s nothing to be done!  Go watch TV… go to sleep…  It’s not there.  The next morning after 12 hours, just turn the oven off and leave the meat to cool completely inside the oven.  Carry on with your day like it isn’t there.

To serve the faux-smoked meat/pastrami:

1 hour before serving:  Unwrap the meat from the foil, then place it over a steamer-basket.  I simply place a small rack inside a large wok, but you can do this in a proper steamer-pot of course.  Fill the pot with 2~3 cups of water then bring to a boil on hight heat.  Place the steamer-basket with the meat on top into the pot (without the meat touching the water of course), then put the lid on.  Turn the heat down to medium ~ medium-low, and steam/re-heat the smoked meat for at least 45 min ~ 1 hour.  Carefully transfer the meat onto a cutting board (it’s quite fragile at this point) and let rest for 10 min before slicing.

Serve an unapologetic pile of sliced smoked meat/pastrami, sprinkled with more smoked sea salt on top as preferred, in between 2 slices of quality rye bread smeared with yellow mustard.  And believe.

To make your own pickling spice:  from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn

  • 2 tbsp (20 grams) of black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp (20 grams) of mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp (20 grams) of coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp (12 grams) of hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp ( 14 grams) of allspice berries
  • 2 tbsp (6 grams) whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp (8 grams) of ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp (8 grams) of ground mace
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 24 dried bay leaves, crumbled

Lightly toast black peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat until you hear them popping.  Lightly crack them in a mortar/spice grinder and mix with the other ingredients.  Keep in an air-tight container until needed.



  • I have lusted for the Charcuterie book for years. YEARS, damnit! Why don’t I just buy the frickin thing? (Meager graduate student salary, that’s why). This looks awesome. Pink salt scares me, but I’m not sure why…I guess that’s why I haven’t bought Charcuterie, because then I’d have to tackle my meat-curing fear head on. You make it more approachable, though. Less work than frying an egg (or poaching, perhaps, which I suck at)? I’m in.

    • Trust me, if you want try curing meat Corned Beef and Pastrami the easiest place to start. No special equipment and no use of molds or bacteria. Just a brine,a container and refrigerator.

  • uh oh. them’s fightin words. Having never been to Montreal, and having lived in NYC & been to Katz many times, um . . . there’s no way that whatever “smoked meat” is that it’s better than pastrami!!! Crazy Mandy.

  • I’ve been making Corned Beef for a number of years. Really popular for St Patrick’s day. I like to leave my brine for about 10 days but I have read that Katz Deli in New York brines for 30. I think I’m going to have to try this. I have been wanting to try pastrami for year but never had a reliable way of smoking it.

  • Woohoo! Congratulations on this method and on being able to enjoy this meat in your life again and THANK YOU for sharing with us!

  • OMFG indeed! Wow. I’ve made homemade pastrami before (in a stovetop smoker) without pink salt, but now I’m convinced there’s no other way to go. These pictures are drop-dead gorgeous, and I’m really glad I found your blog–really digging your writing as well! Cheers!

    • Don’t forget about your smoker! I left out the smoked salt, added Caraway seeds to the coating and smoked at 225 for 14 hrs. Wow!!!!!

  • I really can’t understand why NONE of the brine recipes I have ever seen- understands the principal that one does not need to boil 4 liters of water to dissolve a few cups of salt/sugar. You can much more quickly dissolve that sugar/salt in just 2 cups/16 ou. of boiling water, and then, once dissolved, add cold water to total 4 liters, then add the rest of spices etc.
    Thanks much for the rest of the piece; i learned alot!

    • OPINIONATED CHEF: yes!!! I only realized that AFTER I finished boiling those stupid 4 litres… I mentioned in the recipe that one could use less water then dump a bunch of ice cubes in to dilute/cool it down, as an after thought… I’m with you.

  • You have no idea how much this recipe excites me. Yep meat ( especially smoked ones get me going in the kitchen). In Australia we hardly get good meats; so trying this recipe might fulfill my meaty sandwich dreams.

    I have only brine meat in enough water to cover it… So i had no idea people used up to 4 litters…oh learning everyday

  • This looks beautiful! Loves all cured and smoked meats and fish and this recipe is a must try for me soon.

    I am a true carnivore who also eats tons of vegetables and salads, they just always taste better alongside a steak or smoked pork ribs!

  • I haven’t had a fresh pastrami sandwich in a while and it’s been longer than that since having smoked meats in Montreal. Awesome creation although it looks like a lot of work and love went into that!

  • This sounds fantastic and the photography is beautiful. Looking forward to trying it. Heads up though, I think you meant ‘barren’ for the headline.

  • Born and raised in Montreal, I love me some smoked meat. When I saw the heading faux smoked meat, I thought a vegetarian version??? This is my lucky day. Malheuresment, it was not to be. ! I wonder if it would work……. Hmmmm

  • Your horribly wrong opinions on bagels aside, that looks like a pretty fantastic “smoked” meat attempt.

    I’ll have to give this a try!

  • The last 4 days I prepared this incredible looking and smelling, and i am sure tasting dish.

    But, yes now comes the big but, and it is not you, it is me as they say, ore to be more specific my oven…

    So let me tell you, last evening at precisely 8 p.m. I had my Montreal faux smoked meat ready spiced up and wrapped in foil. It already had rested for 2 to 3 hours, the oven was preheated and everything was sweet and solid as ever. So i put my meat on the rack and even put a termometer in the oven to check how the tempreture is really doing.
    So wen i went to bed at 11:30 p.m. I had a very good feeling about this.

    Now, in the present I woke up and had to rush down to see what my meat is doing, just to get shocked by what i saw there…

    A automatic shut off and cold oven!

    My face was melting, my nerves where falling apart. So obviously, my German oven thinks that keeping it working for 12 hours is agains any labor agreement here. Damn you great social system!

  • Second part of my comment:

    Well after my little meltdown, i started the oven again and checked by hand the temperature of the meat, wich was still slightly warmer than my palm. Now i will give it another two hours, and for the next peace of meat, which by the way is already in the brine, i know better.
    I will give my oven a guarantied pause after 6 hours, well not two long, 10 min max.

    P.S.: I love your blog

    • DC: HAHAHHAHAA hilarious! Sorry sorry… I didn’t mean to laugh at such kitchen disasters as when they happen to me, it isn’t very funny. But still, I couldn’t help but LOL a little bit at your comment. I hope the meat turns out OK!! It’s too much patience to go in vain…..

      • Dear Mandy,

        don’t get me wrong but this is a love-post-reply.
        Yes it is. Period.

        If you did not hook me directly with your blog when I first stumbled upon it, you hooked me now, for good, for ever.
        Besides my faux-pas with the oven, who from now on will be treated like a rebel, the smoked meat turned out incredible. And for me, as I am a Romanian, where the whole Pastrami/Smoked meat hype originated from (Schwartz was a former Romanian citizen), I am very thankful that you brought me this back.
        I am for a long time now into charcuterie, with my own “line” of salami, mici and other stuff, but I never did the “pastrama” how we call it in Romania.

        So thanks again, and you may laugh all day long, it was my intention to turn my oven-madness into a funny story. :-)
        Too bad i can’t respond with a picture…

  • Everytime I go to Canada I bring home frozen packages of Montreal Smoked Meat. Today I ran out and bought everything I will need to make this as soon as my internet ordered salts arrive, hopefully by Tuesday. Glad I read the comments first, though, cuz my oven also has an automatic shutoff which I had forgotten about! Cannot wait to make this awesome looking meat!

  • My 2nd comment in one night. You are going to make me want to start cooking again. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • This looks amazing!! I always wanted to try to cook pastrami at home somehow. I was wondering: what do you think of cooking it in a dutch oven, it might help to keep the humidity better. And also: would liquid smoke do? Anyway, great recipe, thank you very much!

    • Danilo: I would still wrap it up in foil then put in a dutch oven just in case. I’ve never used liquid smoke, but have always been curious! Let me know how it turns out if you do :)

  • Made this recipe. Really good. Couple of concerns: 1. The meat was a bit dry—would steaming longer help? 2. I think I may have overspiced the meat…I put on a pretty thick layer of the spice crust. Is too much spice possible?

    • Jason: about the meat being dry, it could either be because the cut itself doesn’t have enough fat content. Or did you cut the foil (that’s wrapping the meat in the oven) too much that too much steam has escaped during roasting. I’m not sure if longer steaming the meat afterward would make a difference, because the meat should have gotten tender in the oven already. But if your meat wasn’t very tender after roasting, you can try steaming it longer.

      I’m gonna bet on the cut of the beef doesn’t have enough fat content first.

      The spice is a subjective taste, so if you don’t like too much of it, you can tone it down a little. Not a big deal :)

      • Thanks a lot. One other thing I noticed is that there is a brown streak that runs down the center of the brisket (the brown appears more roast beef like than the deep purple of smoked meat). Is this due to overlooking or just a poor cut of brisket?

        • hm.. that i’m not sure of. When roasting under such low heat, it is almost impossible to overcook the meat. I would suggest NOT using a brisket that is terribly lean to begin with.

  • I did it! It kinda feels like I just ran a marathon, but when I look back, it was actually pretty easy. The hardest part was getting the pink salt. Since I needed to get it in the brine in time for a weekend dinner party, I didn’t have time to order online. But my fabulous local butcher sold me some of his. It was the best dish to serve for a dinner party BC I literally just let it sit in my oven until it was time to serve. I also made the bread (warning – it takes 8 hours) which worked out great, but you have to follow the directions exactly. Anyway, thanks Lady and Pups! It was a fun experience that I look forward to replicating.

  • This looks great. I have access to a nice, grass fed lamb brisket. Will this recipe work well with that?

  • What an experience! The anticipation was so fun as was the process of making it. Last night we had sandwiches and added homemade coleslaw! Today we woke up early to make the pastrami and eggs. This should be called OMG pastrami (OMGP?) This is a must recipe for anyone that appreciates top quality pastrami. These former yankees now living in Little Rock Arkansas thank you for taking us back home.

  • All turned out perfect. Yum… It’s a keeper!!! Bread and pastrami,match made in heaven…. Wait, made at home?


  • I <3 you
    Born in Montreal & living in Nicaragua, need I say more?
    My 2nd batch is in the fridge.
    Waiting on smoked salt, my Mom is bring it in 2 weeks!
    Haven't found pink cure yet, though I read that celery is a natural nitrate. I blend a cup or more up and add it to the fray.
    I have 3 pound slabs per baggie. 1 liter of brine is perfect per bag.So, less waste? I turn the bags twice a day.
    Thanx so much!

    • Mia, did you like the first batch? Pink salt can be found very easily online, but I’m not sure if that is still true in Nicaragua. Let me know if the celery trick works!

      • Mandy, the first batch was super. I messed up the steaming or cooking on this last batch. I found it dry. Still tasty though. Last piece will be steamed today. I’ll do a ‘tighter’ steam. Pink salt will be here in 9 days! I think then I’ll be able to tell the difference compared to celery juice. Mine is not pink enough inside. Also, it loses all pink when reheated.
        Oh, found out how to smoke salt for when I run out.
        Thanx again for what is becoming a tasty hobby :)

  • Thank you Mandy! I finally made the time to make this.

    I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York…..and grew up eating the best Pastrami. This was so easy, fun and delicious. I can’t wait to use the leftovers for Mission Cinese’s Kung Pao Pastrami!

  • Hi Mandy,
    I discover your “tasty” blog. It seems to be an interesting experience. I’m sure now, after reading the receipts to try it next weekend. I’ll try to find and to get the pink salt because I want to use the right ingredients to obtain the best “pastrami” . Reading your blog(thank’s for it) , seems to be my next “adventure”.
    To me it seems quite difficult to prepare but I’ll try it!
    I’ll come back!
    J R

  • I’m so excited to finally make this for my Hanukkah party here in Prague! One quick question: if I want to get a bigger brisket (maybe 3–4 kg), what do I need to scale up? The amount of brine/spices? How about the cooking time? Thanks!

    • Guy, I think the brine should be enough because it more than covered my smaller cut. But for the cooking time, I can’t be completely sure. I would still check after 12 hours and see if a pairing knife can be easily inserted. If not, do another 3 hours or so.

      • Sounds good, thank you! One more question—if I cook it the day before instead of the night before, should I worry about the meat being in the oven at room temperature for a few hours? Is there a chance of it spoiling? Should I put it in the fridge instead? This is my first attempt doing anything of this sort, so I’m really not sure what’s okay and what’s not…

        • I roasted the meat in the oven overnight, then the next day, it was left in the oven for several hours until it was steamed before serving. But if you are planning to leave it for more than 10 hours, I would transfer it into the fridge, then steam it before serving.

  • Born and raised in Montreal. I’ve eaten Schwartz’s a lot. I moved to Seattle (a smoked meat waste land) when I was 37. For a decade and half, my only smoked meat fix was when I would go back to visit my family. Until now.
    I ran with your recipe this past week and skeptically stood over the pungent slab Saturday morning with my daughter. She, one tough critic, was blown away as was I.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so grateful to you for this recipe.
    The only thing I would add to the instructions is too remove most of the crust before serving, otherwise it’s too peppery in my opinion. Other than that, it is spot on!!
    Well done you!!!!

  • I made this and had it today. Absolutely amazing, it tasted exactly like Montreal Smoked Meat! Thank you so much!

    For those wanting to make this, don’t substitute pink salt for anything; not himalayan pink salt nor celery salt.

  • Hi Mandy,

    I recently stumbled upon your pastrami/smoked meat recipe and am very excited to try it. You photos look incredible and you have a lovely way with words :o)

    I live in Australia and here there are no proper NY/Montreal delis that have cracked the pastrami code. In the past I have had 2 attempts at making Pastrami using a smoker and similar ingredients. I have a couple of questions I was hoping you could clarify before I start.

    1. When you rinse the brisket after putting in the brine for 3-4 days, how long should you rinse it for? Previously I have left it for a few hours to soak in fresh water to remove all the excess salt as per other instructions. Was hoping to get your thoughts.

    2. In stage 2 after you have wrapped the brisket in foil and allowed to come back to room temperature you mention putting some slits in the foil to allow excess liquid to drain. When you then put it into the oven, do you re-wrap the brisket and cover up the slits or leave them there exposed faced down? I noticed some comments in your article where someone has dry pastrami and wondered if maybe this was because of the slits in the foil and it causing steam to escape during the roasting period.

    3. When steaming the meat, have you ever used a slow cooker with some water at the base instead of the pot with a steaming water? I noticed in Katz deli and others like it talk about slow cooking the pastrami after the smoking process.

    Sorry for the long winded questions, but I am trying to perfect this recipe :o)

    Look forward to hearing from you and thanks again for sharing this little gem.

    • Hi Marc,

      I’d be happy to answer your question!

      1. I simply just give it a couple min under running water and rub off the brine with my hands.
      2. After putting some slits on the bottom of the foil (just small slits!), no more re-wrapping, I just put the whole thing (slit-side down) on a rack with a tray on the bottom. If you’re worried about steam escaping, I would give it 2~3 layers of foil, then make the slits.
      3. I don’t have a slow-cooker so i’ve never used it, but you can certainly try!

      Let me know how it turns out!

  • When my wife showed me this recipe I was skeptical since I love smoked meat so much. I have made brisket at home quite a bit.

    After almost a week of following instructions and cooking the results were unbelievable and wow. Thanks for the recipe it worked like a charm.

    The only difference is we left out the smoked salt and used regular salt and put the brisket in the BQ with oak wood chips for 30 minutes before the oven cooking.

  • Hi Mandy, I’m really anxious to try this and have a quick question as far as ratios. First off, I’ve been told that it’s important to keep the curing salt ratio to the beef weight consistent. Because your recipe has a range of 3-5 lbs of meat while a constant 2.5 tbsp of curing salt, do you think you have a recommended ratio of how much pink salt (and water, spices, etc) if scaling up or down? Look forward to getting started!

  • My husband grew up in Montreal and we started our married life off there. We used to hit Schwartz’s before going to the Expos and how we miss that smoked meat! The closest thing we have found here in Oregon is pastrami from Thurmans that a few places serve. I am definitely going to try this recipe out as a surprise for my husband!

  • i once read that there’s a different type of “brisket” cut that is ideally used for Montreal Style Smoke meat… something about a “jewish brisket”, this was years ago when i first looked into making my own smoke meat. I’ve got it stuck in my head that apparently it was like 3 layers or something compared to the 2 layers that is traditionally done in the states…. like i said.. a few years ago.. so i might ahve it totally wrong, but i’m hoping someone might be able to clear this up?


  • Hi there,

    I’m just a couple days away from cooking the brisket.
    I had some questions.
    What temperature should the brisket reach when it is inside the oven?
    Since every brisket is different, I wanted to make sure that I could just pull it out based on temperature and not on time.
    Also, when it is done cooking in the oven, is it ready to eat once you pull it out?
    Is the steaming portion just for reheating?


    • Alex, oh my I have no idea what internal temperature it was. Sorry I did not measure. But a low-and-slow method like this should work with many cuts of meats. The steaming further softens the meat in my opinion. I mean I guess you don’t have to have to, but somehow the brisket after steaming really started to smell like smoked meat from Montreal deli, compared to before steaming.

  • Hi Mandy, I’m in Montreal and I love smoked meat so much. I’ve tried two time according to your recipe but the meat was way too dry both these two time. Lot of juice came out during 12 hours of baking and the meat ended up very dry, which was chewed like paper. Do you have any idea why it happened and how to solve it?
    Many thanks!


    • Leon, oh no! That’s very weird. The only thing I can think of, judging from the fact that a lot of juice coming out, is that the temperature is too high. The temperature should be 105 celsius which is super low. Do you have an oven thermometer? Or perhaps try a different cut of meat with more fat content?

  • Let me just say, I am not sitting cautiously in front of my computer, I am sitting here panting. Wanting that really really bad. I’ve got it bad for that beautiful piece of smoked meat. I’m gonna make it!

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