How to Smoke Corned Beef

Smoking corned beef is a delicious spin on an old favorite.
Smoking corned beef is a delicious spin on an old favorite. (Image: Raw corned beef on lettuce image by Elzbieta Sekowska from

Corned beef is probably best known as part of the traditional Irish dish paired with cabbage, but its culinary potential extends beyond the emerald isle and St. Patrick's Day celebrations. When corned beef is smoked, it takes on a flavor and texture like pastrami, a staple of sandwich shops and delicatessens across the United States. Corned beef is typically made with salt-cured beef brisket, and smoking corned beef is much like smoking an ordinary beef brisket and can be done deliciously with minimal preparation.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 flat-cut corned beef brisket, 4 to 5 lbs.
  • Smoker
  • Hickory chips
  • Aluminum foil
  • Water

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Fill the smoker's water pan, add hickory chips and preheat the smoker to 220 degrees F. While the smoker heats, remove the corned beef from its package and drain any liquid.

Place the corned beef in the smoker and let it cook for three hours. Remove and wrap in aluminum foil. Add 1/2 cup water and seal the foil. Place back in the smoker for approximately two hours, until the corned beef is tender and reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees F.

Remove the corned beef from the smoker and let it cool at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Slice the meat against the grain and enjoy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try smoked corned beef on a Reuben sandwich instead of pastrami.
  • It's easier to undercook a brisket than to over-smoke it. Allow the meat to reach the recommended temperature to ensure tender and flavorful smoked corned beef.


  • "Dr. BBQ's 'Barbecue All Year Long!' Cookbook"; Ray Lampe; 2006
  • "Backyard BBQ: The Art of Smokology"; Richard W. McPeake; 2008
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