How to Cook Corned Beef on a Traeger Pellet Grill

Cooking corned beef on a Traeger wood pellet grill infuses the meat with irresistible smoky flavor. The smoker’s gentle indirect heat brisket helps break down the brisket’s tough connective tissue for fork-tender results.

Follow these Traeger recipes and tips to make juicy smoked corned beef, whether just the brisket or a whole corned beef and cabbage dinner.

Ingredients Needed

To make smoked corned beef on a Traeger grill you will need:

  • 3-5 lb corned beef brisket, flat cut preferable

  • Traeger wood smoking pellets such as hickory, cherry, or mesquite

  • Spice packet from corned beef (or homemade spices)

  • Chicken or beef broth

  • Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions

  • Cabbage wedges

  • Fresh herbs for garnish like parsley or dill

Prep the Brisket

Proper prep is key to ensuring tender corned beef:

  • If packaged with a spice packet, set it aside. You’ll add it later during cooking.

  • Rinse away any excess salt from the brisket’s brining process.

  • Soak the corned beef in fresh water 8+ hours in the fridge, changing the water every 2 hours.

Soaking desalinates the meat so it doesn’t end up overly salty. You can skip this step but the corned beef may taste very salty.

Cook Times and Temps

Here are the basic cook times and temps when making corned beef in a Traeger grill:

  • Set grill to 180°F and preheat 10-15 minutes at this low temperature.

  • Smoke the brisket with lid closed for about 2 hours to absorb smoky flavor.

  • Increase heat to ~325°F and add broth, spices and veggies.

  • Cook covered until fork tender, about 2 more hours.

  • Total cook time for a 3-5 lb brisket is 4-5 hours.

Let’s look at the detailed steps for smoking a full corned beef dinner.

How to Smoke Corned Beef Brisket

Follow this method to smoke just the corned beef brisket:

  1. Rinse brisket and soak 8+ hours.

  2. Preheat grill to 180°F with smoke setting on if possible.

  3. Pat brisket dry. Place brisket directly on grill grates.

  4. Smoke uncovered 2 hours until bark sets.

  5. Increase heat to ~325°F.

  6. Transfer brisket to foil pan. Add spice packet, 1 cup broth, 1⁄2 cup beer.

  7. Cover pan tightly with more foil.

  8. Return to grill and cook covered until fork tender, about 2 more hours.

  9. Rest meat 15 minutes before slicing across the grain.

The broth and beer braise the brisket for succulent meat. If cooked properly, the brisket should be tender but still have some firmer resistance when sliced.

How to Smoke Corned Beef and Cabbage

To make a whole smoked corned beef and cabbage dinner:

  1. Rinse brisket and soak 8+ hours.

  2. Preheat grill to 180°F with smoke on.

  3. Smoke brisket 2 hours uncovered.

  4. Increase heat to 325°F.

  5. Place brisket in roasting pan. Add 1 quart broth, 1 can beer, spice packet.

  6. Cover pan tightly with foil. Return to grill.

  7. After 2 hours, add carrots, potatoes, garlic salt, and butter. Re-cover and cook 1 hour more until veggies tender.

  8. Add cabbage to pan and cook 20 minutes until wilted.

  9. Slice brisket across grain. Mix veggies and serve!

The lower smoking temp helps the meat absorb the most flavor. Foil-braising then finishes cooking the brisket along with the vegetables.

Choosing the Right Wood Pellet Flavor

Flavorful wood smoke is key to great smoked corned beef. Hickory, cherry, and mesquite pellets pair especially well.

  • Hickory – Classic strong bacon-like smoke

  • Cherry – Mildly sweet, fruity smoke

  • Mesquite – Deep, earthy smoke with a hint of spice

Apple, pecan, and maple pellets also complement corned brisket nicely. Avoid heavy smoke flavors like oak that may overpower the meat.

Play around with wood pellet varieties to discover your favorites!

Should You Wrap the Brisket?

Wrapping or braising the brisket in broth produces juicier meat, but you can skip this step if you prefer firmer texture.

Wrapping pros:

  • Infuses moisture into the meat

  • Helps speed up cooking time

  • Allows seasoning and smoke to penetrate

Skipping wrap pros:

  • Creates a thicker, darker bark

  • Maintains smokier flavor

  • Lower moisture means more concentrated beef flavor

Wrapping or not comes down to personal taste. Try it both ways!

Use a Meat Thermometer

A reliable meat thermometer helps ensure perfectly cooked corned beef:

  • Insert thermometer probe into thickest part of brisket.

  • Maintain grill temp of ~325°F after the smoking stage.

  • Cook to internal temp of ~203°F for tender brisket.

  • Use a wireless thermometer to easily monitor temps without opening the grill.

Pull the brisket right when it hits 203°F for ideal doneness. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

How to Store Leftover Corned Beef

Smoked corned beef keeps well for leftovers. Follow these storage tips:

  • Let brisket cool completely after cooking.

  • Slice the amount needed and refrigerate remainder within 2 hours.

  • Wrap tightly in foil or store in airtight container.

  • Use leftover sliced corned beef within 5 days.

  • Freeze extra brisket up to 4 months for longer storage.

  • Reheat slices in broth or au jus to restore moisture.

Creative Ways to Use Leftover Corned Beef

Smoked corned beef has amazing versatility beyond sandwiches and hash. Some delicious ways to repurpose leftovers:

  • Breakfast burrito with eggs, peppers, cheese

  • Corned beef panini with Swiss, sauerkraut

  • Potato skins or nachos topped with chopped corned beef

  • Mixed into baked beans or succotash

  • Corned beef pizza with mustard sauce and cabbage

  • Corned beef cabbage rolls – fill boiled cabbage leaves

  • Add to chili or split pea soup for heartiness

  • Fold into an omelet or quiche filling

  • Use instead of pastrami in a Reuben sandwich

Don’t toss those leftover corned beef tidbits – get creative!

Troubleshooting Smoked Corned Beef

Having issues getting your brisket right? Here are some common problems and solutions:

Brisket is tough and dry

  • Cook to higher internal temp like 203°F
  • Soak meat longer to remove excess salt
  • Add broth and veggies to braise for moisture

Brisket lacks smoky flavor

  • Use max smoke setting on grill
  • Smoke for longer time if needed
  • Try a stronger pellet flavor like hickory

Bark is soft instead of crispy

  • Don’t wrap brisket to allow bark to set
  • Smoke uncovered the entire time
  • Brush with sauce only at very end

Brisket is under/overcooked

  • Always use a meat thermometer for accuracy
  • Adjust temps and cook times as needed

Bland flavor

  • Add more homemade seasoning and rub
  • Use flavorful broths and sauces

Make an Epic Corned Beef and Cabbage Feast

With its humble roots and hearty satisfaction, corned beef and cabbage is a staple St. Patrick’s Day meal. Use these recipe ideas to turn it into a true Irish feast:

Appetizers: Irish soda bread, smoked salmon, potatoes skins loaded with corned beef

Sides: braised cabbage, roasted carrots, boiled potatoes, Irish stout beer bread

Desserts: Guinness chocolate cake, Irish cream cheesecake, Bailey’s Irish creme truffles

Drinks: Guinness beer, Irish coffee, Irish whiskey cocktails, green beer

Decorate with shamrocks, leprechauns, and other St. Patty’s Day motifs. Queue up some lively Irish folk music.

Sláinte – cheers to smoked corned beef success! Your Traeger grill helps craft the perfect balance of smoky and savory for this iconic comfort food.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe | Traeger Grills


Can you cook corned beef on a pellet grill?

HOW TO SMOKE CORNED BEEF. Similar to smoking a full brisket, set your pellet grill to 225°F and smoke until the meat reaches 165°F. Then wrap tightly in foil until your corned beef reaches 203°F. It should be probe tender, meaning the probe should slide in without any resistance.

Can you smoke a store bought corned beef?

How to Prepare Pre-Cured Corned Beef for Smoking. The pre-cured corned beef you buy at the store is extremely salty. If you plan to smoke it, you should first soak it in water for at least two hours and up to eight hours. This process will help draw out some of the salt.

What temperature do you cook corned beef at?

We like baking corned beef in a 350° oven. You can go as low as 275° (the temperature we recommend for smoked corned beef), but it will take an extra hour or two to finish.

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