Smoked Corned Beef Recipe

When March hits, it's hard to ignore the fact that St. Patrick's Day is well on the way. This holiday is always celebrated with plenty of green, with a hint of glitter and gold, whether it's dressing up for a party, hanging up decorations, or making special desserts. Another St. Patty's Day staple? None other than corned beef

This traditional dish has deep Irish roots, most often served with cabbage. "Smoking the corned beef adds another layer of unique flavor, with great texture," says food photographer Petar Marshall. "It makes for a delicious, hearty meal when paired with red potatoes, carrots, and colorful cabbage." This smoked corned beef recipe is definitely a labor of love. It will take some time to put together, but the good news is that you can leave much of the work up to your Traeger or other smoker. Grab all of the ingredients ahead of St. Patrick's Day, be sure to make time to brine the meat, and then get to smoking. You'll have the perfect meal to ring in this lucky holiday with friends and family.

Gather the ingredients for smoked corned beef

Ready to get cooking? For this recipe, you'll need quite a few ingredients. However, you should be able to find everything at your local grocery store. You'll need, one 10-pound brisket, with the fat trimmed off, one gallon of water, one pound of sea salt, celery powder, mustard seeds, whole peppercorns, ground ginger, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, eight cloves of garlic, fresh thyme, brown sugar, one white onion, green cabbage, purple cabbage, radicchio, carrots, red potatoes, and half of a stick of butter. "The spices are all necessary for the brine and proper flavoring," says Marshall. "If you'd like more or less of each vegetable, feel free to change the amount there."

Make the brine for the corned beef

Once you have all of your ingredients ready, it's time to dive in. First up, you'll want to make the brine. Start by pouring the water into a large bowl. Add in the salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, garlic, half of the sliced onion, the fresh thyme, crushed cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, celery powder, mustard seeds, peppercorns, and ginger. Gently whisk everything together until the mixture is well combined. 

Inject the meat with the brine

After mixing the brine, it's time to inject it into the meat. Use a meat injector and poke it into the brisket. Inject the meat all over with the brine. "This infuses the meat with incredible flavor for the brining process," says Marshall. 

Once you've injected the meat with the brine, transfer it to a roasting pan. Pour the remaining brine solution over the meat entirely and transfer the pan to the fridge to let it sit overnight. "You want to be sure the meat is fully submerged in the brine overnight," says Marshall. "Use something heavy to put on top of the meat to hold it down if needed." 

Smoke the corned beef

After brining the meat, it's time to smoke it. Preheat your Traeger or other smoker to 185 F. Remove the meat from the brine, rinse it off in the sink, and then place it on the grill. 

To keep the flavor going, strain the brine through cheesecloth to reserve all of the spices and other brine ingredients. Tie it up with butcher's twine to make a bundle. With just the liquid remaining, dump out ¾ of it, reserving ¼ of the original brine. Replace the dumped-out brine with hot tap water, filling the roasting pan back up. Put the brine bouquet in the water in the roasting pan, and place the pan on the Trager underneath the meat. Allow the meat to smoke for two hours, occasionally using a large spoon to pour the brine juice over the meat. "Continuing to pour juice onto the meat will help to keep it moist during the cooking process," notes Marshall. 

Cook the corned beef and vegetables

After the meat has smoked, crank up the heat on the Traeger to 350 F. Transfer the meat back into the roasting pan, cover it with tin foil, and allow it to cook for three hours. Once three hours has passed, add in all of the vegetables including the remaining half of the sliced onion, green cabbage, red cabbage, radicchio, carrots, and potatoes, along with the butter. Cover the roasting pan with tin foil again, turn the heat up to 400 F, and cook the meat and vegetable mixture for an additional 45 minutes. 

Remove the roasting pan from the Traeger once the meat and vegetables are tender. Slice the smoked corned beef and serve it with the vegetables for a hearty meal. There aren't many meals for fitting for St. Patrick's Day than corned beef, and this flavorful recipe will leave you feeling quite festive!

Smoked Corned Beef Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
This smoked corned beef recipe is packed with flavor — perfect for an authentic St. Patrick's Day celebration.
Prep Time
Cook Time
slicing smoked corned beef
Total time: 6 hours, 5 minutes
  • 1 (10-pound) brisket, with fat trimmed off
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 pound sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons celery powder
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 ½ tablespoons whole peppercorn medley
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 8 large bay leaves
  • 8 cloves garlic, gently smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 white onion, sliced, divided
  • ½ head green cabbage
  • ½ head purple cabbage
  • ½ head radicchio
  • 5 whole carrots
  • 6 red potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  1. Make the brine for the meat. In a large bowl, add the water, sea salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, garlic, ½ of the onion, thyme, crushed cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, celery powder, mustard seeds, peppercorn medley, and ginger. Whisk to combine.
  2. Use a meat injector to inject the brine into the brisket. Be sure to inject all over the meat.
  3. Place the meat in a roasting pan. Pour the brine over top so the brisket is covered. Leave the meat to brine overnight in the fridge. Use a heavy item to place over top of the meat to fully submerge it in the brine.
  4. Preheat the Traeger (or smoker of choice) to 185 F.
  5. Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse it off in the sink. Place the brisket on the grill.
  6. Strain the brine through cheesecloth, reserving the brine ingredients. Make a bundle out of the cheesecloth and brine ingredients, tying it with butcher's twine.
  7. Dump out ¾ of the brine, reserving ¼ of the liquid. Fill the roasting pan with hot tap water, refilling the pan to equal 1 gallon.
  8. Place the brine bouquet in the water. Put the pan on the Traeger underneath the meat. Leave both the roasting pan and the meat on for 2 hours. Occasionally use a large spoon to pour the brine juice over the meat.
  9. After 2 hours, turn the heat up to 350 F. Transfer the meat into the roasting pan. Cover with tin foil and cook for 3 hours.
  10. After 3 hours, add in the butter, the remaining half of the onion, green cabbage, red cabbage, radicchio, carrots, and potatoes. Cover the pan with tin foil and cook at 400 F for 45 minutes.
  11. Once done, remove the pan from the Traeger. Slice and serve the smoked corned beef with vegetables.
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