Montreal Smoked Meat (Flavor Brine Cure Pumped)


Shawn W

TVWBB Emerald Member
Edited Aug 2 2014
I redid the calculations with the calculator in the Charcuterie forum. #1 in this recipe was out of whack at 80g

Flavor Brine Cure Pumped Method
Trimmed 12lb flat (trimmed weight), leave 1/2" fat cap on if possible.

Spice Mix
3 Tbsp peppercorns
1 Tbsp dill seed
2 tsp corriander seed
1/2 Tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp fennel seed
2 Tbsp dehyd minced garlic
1 Tbsp dehyd minced onion
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Brine Cure
4800ml water
186g salt
prague #1 :
min 120ppm: 19.7g
max 200ppm: 32.8g
Optional, sugar 1% 102g

Triple ingrediants for spice mix. Beat up seeds and peppercorns with mortar and pestle (not to powder).

Add spice mix to brine, bring to boil, remove from heat.

Strain brine with fine mesh strainer. Chill below 40ºF, inject 15% of brisket mass (in grams) in milliliters. eg 12lb brisket = 5500g * .15 = 825ml of solution to pump

Soak 4 days submerged in remaining brine cure. Agitate/flip daily.

Remove from brine cure, blot dry, place on tray in fridge and allow to air dry while doing next steps.

Make another batch of spice mix. This time toast the peppercorns and dill seeds together over medium heat for a couple of minutes (until fragrant). Repeat with coriander and fennel (these don't take as long). Repeat with celery seed and mustard if desired, but these take less time again, remaining heat in pan seems to do the trick.

Coarsely crush all ingredients with mortar and pestle, not too coarse but not to powder either. Mix well.

Apply rub fairly heavy to exterior (I skip fat areas). Push rub into place firmly with the back of a spoon.

Smoke approximately 6 hours at 225ºF to 140ºF - 150ºF internal over maple and/or birch.

I revisited MSM and tried flavor brine cured with injection and it's extremely good. Much faster, better flavor throughout and better color this way than with dry cure (this turned out more red less pink).

I had a huge flat, about 12 pounds trimmed to use this time. I brine/cured it whole after injecting, then decided before smoking to cut it in half for more rub & smoke surface area.

I smoked 1/2 until 150ºF internal, the other 1/2 to 165ºF internal. The difference on the 165ºF chunk was 5 hours, double the time of the 150ºF chunk. Lower was clearly better in this case. More smoking didn't make it more tender, it just got drier.

Serve hot on rye with mustard and a sour dill pickle.

I am extremely pleased by the results. The flavor is excellent but it still needs some process improvement to be more tender AND moist.

Thanks much To Kevin Kruger for the help with water/prague/salt/pump ratios.

After Cure:


Cold Sliced:


DRY CURE METHOD - Last Updated April 30/2006

My second attempt at Montreal Smoked Meat turned out very well, couldn't be happier with it. I used a flavored dry cure method for 15 days then smoked for 12 hours at 200ºF - 225ºF with birch (bark removed) and maple to an internal temp of 165ºF.

Pics Here click link to 2006-04-24 Montreal Smoked Meat

Montreal Spice Mix Base (no salt)
3 Tbsp peppercorns
1 Tbsp dill seed
2 tsp corriander seed
1/2 Tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp fennel seed
2 Tbsp dehyd minced garlic
1 Tbsp dehyd minced onion
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Toast first 6 ingrediants over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes
grind coarsely with mortar and pestel, add remaining 3 ingrediants. *Add hickory smoked salt to taste for a great ready to use spice mix for grilling.

Mix amount of Morton Tender Quick per brisket weight as directed on package with 1 Tbsp Turb sugar and amount of desired spice mix, apply evenly over meat side (not on fat cap side).

Allow brisket to cure at least 5 days per inch of thickness in 40º or less fridge. Agitate and flip daily.

Remove brisket and rinse thoroughly, soak for 3 hours in cold water, changing water several times. Blot dry with paper towels. Apply spice mix base liberally over meat side. Cook fat side down to internal temp of 165ºF. Foil and rest in dry cooler at least 1 hour (fat side up). Allow to cool somewhat on the counter and refrigerate.

To reheat before serving wrap tightly in foil and place in oven or steam slices for a short time. Serve in rye bread with lots of cheap yellow mustard and a dill pickle.

**I added some liquid and vacuum bagged during the 'dry' cure (I have a 1060 with instant seal to prevent liquid from being sucked up). It was a pain, next time I'll just use a marinating container. But it went something like this:

1/2 C de-alc red wine
1/2 C Water
1 Tbsp Mortons Tender Quick

Mix liquids and Tender Quick. Dump into vacuum bag and freeze. Put brisket in vacuum bag, carefully vacuum and seal.
Last edited:

Jim Minion

TVWBB Emerald Member
Thanks for the post, on must do list.
When I first starting reading the recipe, your no salt was an interesting comment. Made since as I got into the recipe. Adding salt would take it over the top. Thanks again for posting.
PS Have friends from Montreal that have asked if I produce something, till now having never had any I did have a place to start.

Shawn W

TVWBB Emerald Member
-I think 250F-275F cooking temp is better for this, especially if using a thick cut
-the recipe can easily stand more dill seed
-finish temp is a guideline ... I've been doing some cured briskets to as high as 185F internal

Bryan S

TVWBB Olympian
Shawn Bud, this is on the list to do. I really have to try this sometime soon. Thanks for posting.

Bryan S

TVWBB Olympian
Just watched an episode of Dinners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network. A guy from Montreal opened up a resturant in Neb IIRC and serves the Montreal smoked meat there. His recipe was Water, Prague powder #1,(insta cure, pink salt, all the same thing). Salt, and pickling spices. He cured for 5 days then smoked the brisket over Maple wood for 1.5 hrs. He then placed the brisket in a pan and covered the pan with foil and finished it in the oven. He let it cool then placed it in the fridge for 24 hrs. Sliced it up then steamed it to eat. I'll try and watch it again, but don't remeber any sugar going in there? Could have been some but...
EDIT: There was, dextrose. Lookie see what I found. This was from the episode I watched. HTH. Link to Montreal smoked meat.
I know the recipe says to let cure 2 days but he said 5 days on the show. Might be because he was curing 6 at a time stacked ontop of one another in the tub/container?
Brewburger's - Old Fashioned (Montreal Smoked Meat)Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 48 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 5 hr 0 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
1 (3 to 5-pound) brisket
1 gallon water
6 ounces kosher salt
2 ounces Prague powder
2 ounces powdered dextrose
2.5 ounces plus 4 tablespoons pickling spices, divided

Rye bread, for serving
Mustard, for serving

Place 1 brisket fat down in a pan. Completely submerge the brisket with the brine.
Brine 2 days in the refrigerator.
Remove the meat from the brine and rub the meat with 4 tablespoons pickling spices.
Place the meat in a smoker for 2 hours with maple wood chips.

Remove from the smoker and place in a pan with 2 cups of water. Wrap with aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 3 hours at 250 degrees F.

Remove from the oven, slice, and enjoy with rye bread and mustard

Shawn W

TVWBB Emerald Member
I'll have to revisit this now that I can get briskets for a better price. I took to buying bagged corned beef briskets, soaking and putting my rub on them. I think Clark has done more of these than me, he commented he prefered not using the wine.

I was trying to replicate what I had in Montreal with this recipe. At Schwartzes they had large steam tables full of whole briskets, these they removed just before slicing. Couldn't say how long but I'd guess they were steamed for many hours.

I was impressed with brine cure for back bacon I'll try it for this when I come back to it.

In the recipe you posted Bryan 2oz seems like a heckuva of a lot of prague powder for a 3 - 5 lb brisket?? what do you think? ... I'd try to just use enough to pink up the meat and maybe go longer on the brine given exp with brine curing back bacon. The other thing is the spices ... I can see using pickling spices in a recipe one hands out, it's quick & easy and doesn't give out the 'secret', but what I suggested for the rub above comes pretty close to what I've had, much closer I'll suggest than pickling spices which would closer resemble packaged corned beef briskets.

Shawn W

TVWBB Emerald Member
Kevin wrote in this thread:
Prague #1 (Insta-Cure #1, Modern Cure, DC #1, DQ #1, et. al., all the '#1's) is 6.25% sodium nitrite and 93.75% salt. It's used in dry cures and in brine cures, primarily for meat that will be smoked (though not necessarily) and cooked for service. It's used at the rate of 1oz/25lbs meat or 1 level teaspoon/5lbs meat.

Prague #2 (Insta-Cure #s, et. al., all the '#2's) is for dry-cured meats that require long aging (weeks or months) to cure and/or develop flavors and for products that do not require cooking, smoking, or refrigeration. It contains 1oz of sodium nitrite and .64oz sodium nitrate per pound of salt. Sodium nitrate acts as sort of a time-release cure and slowly breaks sown into sodium nitrite and then into nitric acid. It is also used at the rate of 1oz/25lbs meat or 1 level teaspoon/5lbs meat.

Some #1 and #2 products are colored pink so that they can easily be distinguished from plain salt because large amounts of nitrite/nitrate can be dangerous. If you look at the figures above, very little nitrite or nitrate is needed per pound of meat to achieve the best cure, shelf life, and reduction of potential bacteriological activity. Just 6.25% of that single level teaspoon is sodium nitrite and this is enough for 5lbs of meat. This is why prague powders were developed in the first place. Because the amount of chemical(s) needed is so small manufacturers pre-mixed salt with the appropriate chemical(s) in the proper balance so that they could be more easily and correctly measured.

I used this as a baseline for the back bacon, Kevin wrote in this thread:
It should have been 12 ounces of salt/gallon of water. This ratio will provide preservative effects (though the typical amount is actually much more--1.3 to 1.6 lbs/gallon for commercial pump brines; I find this too much). If preservative effects aren't desired you can go lower.

To put it together, though I used 2T prague/12oz salt/1 gal water as baseline for back bacon cure brine, based on the above I think I'd try 1t prague#1/12oz salt/1 gallon water for 5 lbs of brisket. Let it go say 4 days and go from there. That should be enough salt to cure and enough prague to pink the meat.

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Let me clarify a couple or three points: In the paragraph quoted above I was trying to describe the nature of TQ, #1 and #2 and their uses. The rate I note (1 level tsp/5 lbs of meat) refers to an application where thorough direct contact is assured from the get-go, specifically, ground mixes for sausage.

As we've discussed in other threads, cure ratios are dependent on techniques used. Direct application in a ground mix is different from direct application to an exterior of an intact cut, like belly, and, depending on cure time, direct application to a thick cut, like butt, might be different from the thinner belly. Curing brines are different from dry cures. Though 'direct', they're diluted. If you'll note the recipe that Tom posted, especially the ratio (1 quart water: 1.33 tsp prague) and then note the commentary:

Most important thing that we found we had to do in order to approach the smoked pork chops you can buy was that we injected the loin in many places so as to get the brine uniformly throughout it. Our first try without injecting resulted in smoked pork chop taste only on the outside and that disappeared overnight in the fridge.

you can see this clearly. Though that amount would have been enough were the butt ground for sausage, it was not enough for a curing brine alone, but was when the brine was injected. Ratios are, clearly then, different between straight curing brines and injection cures.

Hope this helps.

Clark Deutscher

TVWBB All-Star
Just to jump in as well with a few changes I have made (although as Shawn posted is excellent!).

I did prefer a straight dry cure. I added the wine the first time I tossed this together but found it almost overpowered the other ingredients. The spice rub as posted is wicked. The only changes I made were to add some green peppercorns, a little cumin and some allspice. I have also since cut out the crushed red pepper. Like I say no reason really just personal tastes. I also let it cure for a long time (about three weeks for a good size packer).

The next time I do this (probably not for a couple months, I have to run down to Seattle to get decent priced brisket) I am going to try and inject the cure into the brisket. Not sure how that will turn out but what the heck!



New member
Hi everyone, I recently had quite a bit of success with a combination of techniques listed here.

I first brined the 4.5 lbs brisket for 5 days in:

- 1 gallon water
- 6 oz. kosher salt
- 1 tsp Prague #1

I then rubbed it with Shawn W's (fantastic) spice blend. I subsequently smoked it at 250 to 275, for about 10 hours until the internal temp was 180 to 185. I let it rest for an hour then sliced against the grain.

The meat is tender, smoky and delicious. It has a nice pink colour. I am going to try steaming it today to reheat it, to see what effect this has.

I will be playing with this recipe over the summer... I think I'll try adding some wine into the brine.


Alan Corey

New member
I am new to this group and I tried the smoked meat dry rub. totally awesome. I was wondering how to make the smoked meat more tender? Would leaving it in the fridge an extra week with the spice rub/morton tender quick help? I smoked it to 170 degrees.

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
No, curing longer won't do it. You have to cook til tenderness is achieved. For something like this I'd treat it like I treat pastrami: I'd cook to the point you did then would steam to finish.

Welcome to the board!

Alan Corey

New member
I will have to try the steaming method with the leftover smoked meat. Someone on the board had suggested injecting the meat. Was wondering if they injected it with the dry rub mixture (mixed with water) and if it improved the flavor at all.
Thanks for the tips. I learned a lot from reading everyone's comments.

Corey S

Alan Corey, welcome to the board, from Corey Alan in Arizona... your name caught my eye for some reason: My first name is Corey, my middle name is Alan...
My apoligies to Chris for wasting bandwidth on something so trivial and off topic.. this is however an interesting thread with great information, and I can't wait to try this recipe myself

Alan Corey

New member
Corey S. So unusual with the reverse name. Try the recipe. it is really good. We typically get smoked meats when we visit Montreal. But that is too far to go for a sandwich. Good to know that I can make my own. Take it easy Corey Alan from Alan Corey. :p