How to Make the Perfect Montreal Smoked Meat

The perfect smoked meat starts with the right blend of Montreal steak seasoning rub. Without it, you’ve just got plain old smoked meat. Montreal steak seasoning was invented by a Schwartz broiler man known as Morris Sherman back in the 1940’s. The unique blend of Eastern European, Romanian, and Jewish spices soon caught on and the Montreal meat rub was born. The following recipe is inspired by the General Manager of Brewburger, Stephen Warren. It is an adaptation scaled down for the perfect smoked meat in Montreal homes.

Photo by Noema Perez

The Perfect Smoked Meat, Montreal Recipe

You can plan on this recipe taking about 54 hours in total because the meat will need to rest for 48 hours in a pickling brine before smoking. All in all, you will only need to work with the meat for about 15 minutes, tops. The perfect Montreal smoked meat has two cooking times, if you are using a brisket; anything smaller than a brisket will probably only need a single smoke and not the additional oven time.

• Tongs
• Smoke Pit
• Oven
• Aluminium foil
• 2-gallon metal pan or bowl with a cover
• Baking pan

• 5-pound brisket
• Montreal meat rub (found below)
Curing Salt
• 1 gallon water
• 6 ounces kosher or rock salt
• 8 tablespoons pickling spices (roughly)

Montreal Meat Rub Ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon cayenne or red pepper flakes
• 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon coriander
• 1 tablespoon dill seed
• 1 tablespoon onion powder


1. Mix up the gallon of water with half the pickling spices, all the kosher salt and the curing salt in a large pan or bowl.
2. Once the salts are fully dissolved, submerge the brisket or other meat fully into the water (use a plate or ceramic bowl to help weigh down the meat so none of it is poking above the liquid). Cover with a lid and refrigerate for 36 to 48 hours.
3. Prep your smoker with Maplewood chips and get it up to at least 350 to 400 degrees for at least an hour before you add your meat.
4. Remove your meat from the brine and generously coat it with the remaining Montreal pickling spices, mixing up more, if necessary.
5. Place the meat in the smoker for at least 2 hours.
6. Preheat an oven to 250 degrees.
7. Remove the meat from the smoker and place in a baking pan with two cups of water. Cover with aluminium foil and place the meat in the oven for 2 hours.
8. Remove the meat from the oven and place it in a pan on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes, to allow the meat to rest and the juices to absorb back into the meat before slicing. This step is crucial, without the resting period the meat will be dry and stringy and all the juices, and flavour, will simply drain onto the carving plate when slicing.

There you have it, the perfect Montreal smoked meat, and it is all about the spices and the waiting times. If you want to add a little more depth of flavour, swap out the kosher salt for real grey unprocessed sea salt. Remember to play around with your meat rub ingredients to find the perfect blend for your palette. The right Montreal meat rub must contain all those ingredients, but the perfect blend is up to you.


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