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Updated - Attempt #2: First Smoked Corned Beef Brisket & First Use Of iGrill Mini - With Some Fail.


Fire Starter
Joined Jul 8, 2016
I received a gift of corned beef brisket (flat) from my in-laws on Friday night and decided to make that my smoking project (third smoke on my MES 30) on Sunday!  So I had two failures - one described here and the other further down: I didn't do enough research here and only read a few threads about corned beef and briskets in general - unfortunately I missed the thread about soaking the corned beef in ice water and a potato to remove some of the salt/brine...  But not a total loss or failure!



On Saturday night I rinse the 4.29 pound corn beef, cut diamond cross-hatch in the fat cap down slightly into the meat, and seasoned it with "Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Cajun Foreplay Spice Rub" jazzed up with extra cayenne pepper.  It was then wrapped in plastic wrap and back in the fridge for the night.  Below is the pic of the victim getting ready to go into the smoker at 8:00am Sunday morning:

The Smoking:

I used a combo of 2/3 mesquite and 1/3 hickory chips, and then just a hand full of mesquite chips after 1.5 hours for the smoking.  Temp was 235F throughout the eventual 11 hour smoke.  I did not use any liquid in the water pan.  I did not foil this at all - I decided to go for as easy of a smoke as possible to see how it worked out.

After four hours (12:11PM - you can see the jump in temp when probed below) I probed the meat with my iGrill mini and the temp was at 164F - I was thinking that this was working out perfectly!

At this point I had some stall, but didn't realize exactly how the iGrill app worked (more about that in a soon to come different iGrill thread) and didn't get any images of the temp hold during that stall.

But what I did get is a nice image of my stupidity.  By about 3:00pm the stall broke and the temp started rising - at 3:45 I remembered I had set the MES timer for 8 hours and better go add some time - but as I checked the iGrill app first I saw the meat temp drop from 177F to 176F.  Two things immediately went through my mind:

1) I set the 8 hours when I started preheating at like 7:25am and it was now off and cooling!

2) I am an idiot!

I ran out and got the smoker going again - the pic below shows the drop in temp and restart of the rise - but I think this set me back...

Eventually we got to 195F at almost 7:00pm (and 11 hour smoke)!  That climb from 175F to 190F was fairly good but there were some plateaus in the final stretch as can be seen here:


Overall the finished product (pastrami) was quite good - tender, moist, but definitely on the salty side.  I will try this again but be sure to soak it first!  I'm going to make some corned beef hash Weds morning and this should be perfect for that with no extra salt added to that mix!

Thanks for looking!
Last edited:


Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 4, 2012
Looks tasty from here! Just add more mustard and sauerkraut to hide the salt!!!!! Next time soak and you'll be golden. I typically do 4 hours of total soak time, changing the water every 30 minutes. Shave off a piece and dons quick fry to test for salt. If alls good into the smoker.


Fire Starter
Joined Jul 8, 2016
Thanks dirt!  It was actually one of your posts I saw about soaking the corned beef I saw a half hour after I put it in the smoker - a lot of great information in all you posts!  Thanks again - learning so much here!


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
It sure looks good from here!



Fire Starter
Joined Jul 8, 2016
I got two corned beef briskets for a great price (free) and decided to smoke both to see if I could get a better result than last time.  I soaked them both in ice water, changing water every 45 minutes, for 5 hours with 5 peeled potatoes cut in half to absorb the salt.

The good news is that it was a beautiful day for smoking and being outside, and I did my first smoking of the season.

The bad news is that the result was very salty smoked corned beef. One of the two was quite dry.  I used flats (not points) like the first time.

Overall, I am done trying to smoke corned beef.  I will try an actual brisket soon - but first might do something I have succeed at in the past, like baby back ribs, to build my smoking confidence back up.

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