How to BBQ Right Corned Beef for Succulent Smoked Flavor

Corned beef is a classic St. Patrick’s Day tradition, but boiling it into submission is not the only preparation option. For tender, juicy and flavorful corned beef with a touch of smoke, toss out the pot and let your grill or smoker work its magic. This guide will walk you through how to bbq right corned beef for a revelation in home-cooked brisket.

Selecting the Right Cut

The first step is choosing a good cut of beef. Look for a corned beef brisket flat, ideally between 3-5 pounds. The uniform shape allows for even cooking. Avoid cuts with heavy marbling or fat cap, which can lead to flare ups during grilling.

Examine the meat closely. It should have a firm texture with no dry or brown spots. The spice cure rub should coat the entire surface. Rinse off the brine cure and pat the brisket dry before seasoning.

Seasoning the Brisket

A simple seasoning blend brings out the natural beefiness while complementing the salty corned flavor.

Try this savory mixture:

  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste

Rub the blend all over the brisket, covering the top and bottom evenly. Wrap in plastic and let sit 30 minutes for seasonings to penetrate. The meat’s salty nature means you can be light on additional salt.

Low and Slow Smoking Process

Slow smoking over indirect heat is key for tender corned beef. Follow this process:

  • Prepare smoker or grill for low heat, 225-250°F. For smoke flavor, use wood chunks like hickory, oak or pecan.

  • Place brisket fat-side up on the grill, as far from direct heat as possible.

  • Insert a probe thermometer to monitor internal temperature. Maintain cooker temp between 225-250°F.

  • Smoke for approximately 1 hour per pound, until internal temp reaches 185°F. Spritz with apple juice or beef broth if drying out.

  • At 185°F internal, double wrap brisket tightly in foil and return to smoker for 2-3 hours until 205°F.

  • Remove brisket, wrap in towel and rest 30 minutes before slicing.

Smoking low and slow gives the collagen in the meat time to break down into gelatin, ensuring a fork-tender result.

Step-by-Step Smoked Corned Beef

For a complete walk-through, here are the detailed steps for smoking corned beef low and slow from How to BBQ Right’s Malcolm Reed:


  • 3-5 pound corned beef brisket flat
  • Black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika
  • Apple juice or beef broth for spritzing
  • Wood chunks (hickory, oak)


  1. Rinse corned beef brisket under cool water to remove brine seasoning from the surface. Pat completely dry with paper towels.

  2. Make a rub with 2 tablespoons black pepper, 1 tablespoon each garlic powder and onion powder, and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Generously season all over brisket.

  3. Let brisket rest 30 minutes to allow rub to penetrate.

  4. Prepare smoker or charcoal grill for low and slow cooking at 225-250°F. Add preferred wood chunks for smoke flavor.

  5. Place brisket fat side up on grill grate away from direct heat. Insert probe thermometer into thickest part of meat.

  6. Maintain smoker temp between 225-250°F. Smoke brisket for approximately 1 hour per pound weight, until internal temp reaches 185°F.

  7. During cook, spray brisket every 45-60 minutes with a mix of 50/50 apple juice and beef broth to prevent drying out.

  8. When internal temp hits 185°F, tightly wrap brisket in butcher paper or foil. Return to smoker for 2-3 hours until internal temp reaches 205°F.

  9. Remove foil wrap, tent brisket loosely with foil and let rest 30 minutes. Slice against the grain to serve.

With the right prep, seasoning and smoking process, you’ll get deliciously juicy smoked corned beef with the perfect balance of smoky and salty flavors. Experiment with different wood smoke varieties to put your own signature twist on this backyard bbq classic.

Succulent Smoked Corned Beef and Cabbage

For a whole Irish feast, throw some vegetables in the smoker too. Smoked cabbage wedges and carrots are the perfect accompaniments for your juicy sliced brisket.


  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cut out cabbage core in wedge shape.Brush inside with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

  2. Place 1/3 stick butter pieces, Worcestershire sauce in center. Replace core piece.

  3. Prepare additional vegetables: coat carrots and onion wedges with olive oil, salt and pepper.

  4. Smoke cabbage, carrots and onions for 1-1.5 hours at 250°F until fork tender.

The natural sweetness of the vegetables caramelizes beautifully from the smoke. Baste the cabbage with pan juices from the rested brisket for even more flavor.

Juicy Corned Beef Sandwiches

Leftover smoked corned beef makes killer sandwiches. Try these tasty variations:

  • Classic Reuben – Slice corned beef thin. Layer on Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing between rye bread. Grill until cheese melts.

  • French Dip – Thinly slice corned beef and pile high on a bakery hoagie roll. Serve with hot au jus dipping sauce for dipping. Add sautéed onions or peppers for crunch.

  • Rachel Sandwich – Just like a Reuben but with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut.

  • Hash and Eggs – Dice or shred leftover corned beef. Cook with potatoes, peppers and onions for corned beef hash. Top with a fried egg for breakfast.

With the right smoking or grilling method, corned beef brisket transforms into a mouthwatering centerpiece. Ditch the dull boiled brisket this St. Paddy’s Day – get creative with rubs, wood smoke and fun leftover recipes. Smoked corned beef is an instant bbq classic.

Smoked Corn Beef Brisket & Cabbage | How To Smoke Corned Beef from Malcom Reed from HowToBBQRight


Is corned beef good for BBQ?

My barbecue corned beef recipe is pretty delicious and it gives me an opportunity to explain what happens when you put meat in pit and cook it low and slow around 250 to 275 degrees.

What is the best method for cooking corned beef?

It is often sold precooked, but if you have purchased it raw, the best way to cook corned beef is slowly. You can bake, boil, or cook it in your slow cooker, but the key to a tender, flavorful meal requires at least a few hours.

Which side of corned beef goes up when cooking?

Remove Corned Beef from package and place fat-side up in oven-proof pan. Add 1″ of water and mix in seasoning from spice packet. Tightly seal pan with lid or foil. Remove meat from oven and let rest 10 mins.

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