Montreal smoked meat today

Discussion in 'Beef' started by hunter rose, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. I was trying to get the Montreal smoked meat found in places like Schwartz's. I'm a newbie, but have 4 good cooks under my belt since buying my Masterbuilt electric - fantastic machine for the money btw.

    I wanted to take some short cuts to see if I could still get the flavor. I purchased an already brined corned beef brisket at Sprouts. I picked one that had a nice thick layer of fat on it so that I could slow cook it and have the fat render through the meat.

    My rub (I like to make enough for two smokes):

    [if !supportLists]·               [endif]8 tablespoons fresh coarsely ground black pepper

    [if !supportLists]·               [endif]4 tablespoons coriander powder

    [if !supportLists]·               [endif]1 tablespoon mustard powder

    [if !supportLists]·               [endif]2 tablespoon brown sugar

    [if !supportLists]·               [endif]2 tablespoon paprika

    [if !supportLists]·               [endif]2 tablespoons garlic powder

    [if !supportLists]·               [endif]1 tablespoon onion salt

    Next time I would use less black pepper and more brown sugar. It came out with a bit too much heat (which I like), but I'm not the only one dining.

    I cooked the 3 pounder with two layers of cherry and one layer of pecan wood at 225 degrees for about two hours with lots of smoke. I had the meat in an aluminum disposable pan. This meat can take a fair bit of smoke and I cooked most of the time with smoke. I also added the brining spice packet that came with the corned beef to the water chamber in the smoker. I also put in bay leaves.

    The neighborhood smelled great. My goal was an internal temp of 190. After two hours I was in the 130's, but I wanted a longer cook to render the fat and tenderize the meat. Slow and low... I dropped the temp to 200 and poured Coke into the pan about halfway up the pan. I then made a tent with tin foil over the pan with a decent pinch seal around the pan. My thought was that the Coke would not necessarily flavor the meat but would help tenderize the meat. I figured if it can remove rust from a car battery, it would tenderize that meat. The intention was once the carbonation died, the Coke, which is mostly water, would help create a steam tent. A lot of the recipes I read talked about steaming the meat after using an oven or a smoker. I have no interest in steaming. I am all about smoking and using my smoker. Steaming is definitely not manly enough... lol. Fire, smoke, meat. I cooked for about 4 more hours until I hit 190. I took the meat out of the moist pan and wrapped it in tinfoil and threw it in an insulated cooler for an hour to rest.

    Pic of the meat with my rub before:

    And now after:

    My notes... less pepper or mustard (less heat) and a bit more sugar. I also think I should have used the meat slicer to cut this thinner. I will still give it a shot. Flavor was spot on.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  2. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    looks great hunter.

    i'm still confused over what difference there is between montreal smoked meat n pastrami.

    your spice mix sounds like pastrami.

    doyou happen to know?
  3. I've lived and eaten in both Canada and the US. I have eaten pastrami at the Stage deli and the Carnegie deli. I have eaten smoked meat several times at Schwartz's. They are similar. I find the smoked meat to be a bit richer and fattier. When you are at Schwartz's, they ask you how fatty you want your smoked meat. That is because they are starting with a brisket which they brine like a corned beef.

    Pastrami, although using similar spices in the rub (coriander, pepper, etc), uses the belly of the cow (navel). The smoked meat basically starts with a corned beef brisket and then cooked like a pastrami. The resulting meat is fattier and richer than a pastrami.

    They are both delish and I cannot say that one is better than another. Both go well with a pickle, rye bread, deli mustard and a cream soda.

    However, I married a woman from Montreal and we live in the same town as her parents who both grew up in Montreal. So, this Texas boy made Montreal smoked meat.

    Hope that helps.
  4. susieqz

    susieqz Smoking Fanatic

    thanks, hunter. i like them both too.
    hunter rose likes this.
  5. tigerregis

    tigerregis Meat Mopper

    You might Google 'Daigle's' smoked meat recipe. I have eaten at Schwartz's and followed the Daigle recipe.... delicious.
  6. I will try it... at least the rub. Not certain the brining will make much difference from the store brined corned beef. Thanks!
  7. UPDATE: I made another Montreal Smoked Meat today. Fantastic. Here is what I did differently:

    - Soaked the meat for a couple hours in Classic Coke. I like tenderizing the meats in Coke. It seems to work well.

    - Added Dill seed to the rub

    - Added Fennel

    - Ground up the spice packet that comes with the corned beef and added that to the rub as well.

    - Purchased a 12" Dexter roast slicing knife

    - Switched to Apple wood

    I smoked the meat to about 175, and let it rest to room temp. I then put it in the fridge. Lastly, I steamed the meat for 2 1/2 hours prior to slicing. Trimmed off the fat and sliced very thin (now that I had the proper knife) against the grain.

    We served a group tonight from Montreal and they were all very impressed, so I think I hit the mark. Adding dill was important in my opinion. Slicing very thin was key and everyone seemed to believe the steaming was really important.
  8. robert trifts

    robert trifts Newbie

    The three main differences in Pastrami vs Montreal Smoked Meat:

    1) MSM has way more spices on the rub -- AND it does not use sugar (or, in some places, very little sugar). Some brine recipes use a small amount of dextrose, but not glucose found in brown sugar. 

    When you are applying 2TBSP or more TBSP of brown sugar to the rub? You are NOT making MSM - you are making a Pastrami. 

    The best rub to use is Montreal Steak Spice. That's essentially a prepared and already mixed blend of herbs and spices used for MSM, that is also used as a combo spice  rub treatment for steaks before grilling. It is very popular in Canada as a standard rub for steaks. YES -- it is the precise same rub used in MSM. The use that the rub is put to is different, but the rub itself is exactly the same.

    Montreal Speak Spice looks like this: 

    2) Pastrami uses a half-cut navel brisket, whereas MSM is made from a whole cut front brisket. It's using a slightly different cut of meat, part of which is from a more forward position on the cow in MSM. Depending on the size and length of the brisket, these two cuts are going to significantly overlap in terms of which meat is being used.  The real difference is in a higher fat content on the whole brisket. While much of this fat is trimmed anyway, the fat absorbs more of the brine and rub, so that the spices are more absorbed and distributed in the meat. This lends MSM its distinct flavor. 

    3) In a true preparation, the MSM is brined (not dry rubbed in a zip-loc for days - but wet brined in a hotel pan or similar container for seven days in the fridge, stored at about 38F. Rotate and flip the brisket in the brined pan 2 times a day. At the end of the week, remove brisket from pan and dump out brine. Rinse your pan thoroughly. Now, de-salinate the brisket in the pan for 3 to 4 hours in fresh water, changing out the water every 30 minutes. Then pat dry the meat and let it rest overnight in the fridge.  

    Next day, dry rub thoroughly with Montreal Steak Spice,  smoke the brisket for 8-9 hours at about 225F to 250F using MAPLE wood  for flavor (not cherry, not apple -- and NEVER with a heavy smoke flavor like hickory or mesquite). Use Maple. MSM is a Canadian thing, after all, from Quebec. Just like Maple syrup or the Canadian flag, it uses MAPLE wood for the smoke. That's easy to remember, right? 

    Remove brisket from smoker, let cool to room temp, then refrigerate overnight. (If you put a hot brisket in to your fridge without letting it cool down to room temp first, you are going to ruin everything else in your fridge as the temp will rise markedly  with a hot brisket in there before it comes down.)

    Next day, steam the whole brisket for about three hours on a rack in a covered roasting pan; replace water as required. After steaming, remove the meat from the rack, transfer to cutting surface  and LET THE MEAT REST FOR 20 MINUTES BEFORE CARVING. If you don't let it rest to reabsorb the juices, it will dry out almost instantly when carved and you will RUIN 9 days of work. Don't do that.

    The rest you know. Carve it thin. You can choose portions from the lean side/edge of the brisket and combine with thin slices from the middle (medium fat) and some from the other side, (high fat).  The amount of fat in the overall blend of the cuts of the meat affects taste and consistency of the sandwich.  Medium fat is very good, low fat is indifferent. High fat is a matter of personal taste.

    Generally, I find the better taste of high fat can be overwhelmed by the poorer consistency of the higher fat meat.  Aim for a combination of the three tending to an overall medium blend of the meat.

    To Serve: Thin sliced MSM, piled about 2" high on a spongy light rye, with a schmear of mustard  on both pieces of the bread. For sides, serve with a vinegar based coleslaw, kosher dill, and if you you like, with french fries.

    Note: You may have heard that MSM served in Montreal delis like Schwartz or sold in grocery stores is not actually smoked anymore these days over charcoal and maple wood chips. For the most part, sadly, that is now correct information. But it wasn't always so.

    What isn't mentioned nearly so often is WHY the Montreal delis who made their own MSM made this change to their preparation methods. It was forced upon them by the city by-law inspectors in Montreal. In the 1950s, smoke and fire concerns from untended fires overnight lead to new city by-laws which forced the restaurants to change their prep methods on the island of Montreal.  So the restaurants had to remove charcoal maple fires and change their traditional prep methods.  They didn't want to -- and the flavor isn't as good. But they HAD TO do it. So they did.

    You are here on this forum to discuss and learn about how to SMOKE your meat. So this is a perfect recipe for that endeavor. The authentic version of MSM was always smoked, even if you can only find a true charcoal smoked version of MSM these days from artisans - and not from Montreal delis.

    Last edited: May 11, 2017

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