Traditional Montreal Smokes Meat

[Disclaimer] The following recipe involves using a nitrite curing salt to cure raw meat for extended periods of time. Safe butchery and food handling techniques is very important. Regarding curing salt quanities provided, please use the manufacturers weighted ratio to guide your specific measurements required and adjust kosher salt +/- accordingly.

This is what we are making folks: * being smoked * After smoking, before steaming * When eating

This recipe has been recreated and adjusted by me many times over the past decade now and is a near perfect recreation of the most popular Jewish deli shops in downtown Montreal with their old traditional curing and smoking ritual.

What you need: 10 – 12 lb Brisket untrimmed (flat and point with fat cap intact) 4 to 5 tspoon of 6.25% Nitrite curing salt (pink salt) (Canadians will have a hard time finding this as most curing salts like the Canadian version of instacure are 1.25%) Always adjust curing salt amount based on manufacturers direction per weight of meat.

1.5 cups of kosher salt 0.5 cups of cracked black pepper 0.5 cups of cracked coriander 0.5 cups of white granulated sugar 3 tbsp of cloves 3 tbsp of bay leaf powder

Now onto the cure process:

  • Take all dry ingredients and mix well in a bowl.
  • Coat the brisket on all sides very well leaving none of the meat uncovered. * Place coated brisket into an XXL ziplock bag and place in the fridge.
  • For the next 12 days you need to flip the bag of meat over twice a day. Typically once each morning and evening.
  • On the 12th day remove the meat from the ziplock bag and rince/soak the meat in ice cold water for 2 to 3 hours replacing the water often and ensuring the temp remains ice cold by adding ice ( a lot of ice).
  • Rub off all the salt cure!
  • Pat dry the meat, leave uncovered on a large board or even a roasting pan in the fridge overnight to dry and get a sticky surface.
  • In the morning, fire up your smoker (I use my Big Green Egg) and get ready for a 10 to 12 hour low n slow smoke.
  • Keep the smoker between 185 and 205 throughout with platesetter for indirect heating if using a Big Green Egg or similar ceramic smoker.
  • For wood you want several soaked chunks of sugar maple. ( or chips )

  • Once the internal temp of the meat reaches 195 F , remove and let rest for 20 min before placing it into a sealed container until the next day (day 14)

  • Now prepare a steam bath. I use a large pickling pot with a raised cooling rack inserted inside. Steam the entire brisket for 2 1/2 hours prior to serving. Once steamed it's ready to be sliced and served on fresh rye bread with lots of mustard. Use a sharp carving or deli knife. Slicing by hand is the traditional way to do it but if you have an electric deli slicer (the round blades that shave the meat ) do it with a very thick slice setting.

After the meat is smoked you can split up the meat into smaller servings and steam only what you plan on serving if you are feeding a smaller group of people.

Its a long but not complex process with a fantastic reward at the end. I hope you enjoy!