Grilling Up Perfectly Cooked Corned Beef Brisket

Corned beef brisket is a staple for many holidays and special occasions. While it’s often boiled, grilling corned beef takes the flavor to the next level. The smoky, charred exterior pairs deliciously with the seasoned, tender interior of the meat. Follow these tips to cook corned beef brisket on the grill for finger-licking good results.

Selecting the Right Brisket

The first step is choosing a high-quality brisket. Opt for a first-cut brisket, which comes from the fattier front of the cow. This cut has loads of intramuscular fat that keeps the meat moist during grilling. Look for a corned beef brisket between 3 to 6 pounds to feed a crowd.

When buying corned beef, select a brisket with bright pink or red meat and plenty of marbling. Avoid any with grayish or brown spots. The brisket should have a firm but yielding texture when pressed. Pass on pre-cooked or deli-style corned beef, as you want a raw brisket to grill yourself.

Proper Preparation is Key

Before grilling, corned beef brisket requires some prep to draw out excess salt and tenderize the meat:

  • Trim excess fat – Trim thick outer fat caps to 1⁄4 inch Leave some fat for moisture.

  • Soak the brisket – Submerge the brisket in water and soak 8 to 12 hours, changing the water occasionally.

  • Apply a dry rub – Coat the brisket in a spice rub. Use the packet or make your own mix of pepper, coriander, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.

  • Refrigerate overnight – Let the brisket rest 12-24 hours after rubbing to absorb the flavors.

This process mellows the salty brine and infuses the meat with a flavorful crust when grilled.

Setting Up the Grill

The right grill setup ensures the brisket cooks evenly without burning:

  • Use a charcoal or gas grill – You need consistent low heat for a long cook time. Charcoal imparts a wood-fire taste.

  • Go for indirect heat – With vents open and coals pushed to one side, the meat sits off direct heat, preventing charring. Add a drip pan underneath to catch juices.

  • Aim for 225°F to 250°F – Maintain a low temperature on the grill throughout cooking.

  • Add smoke wood chunks – Toss wood chips, such as hickory, oak, or apple over the coals for extra smoke flavor.

Grill Time Guidance

With the right temperature, plan for a 2 to 3 hour cook time. Here are some tips for the process:

  • Sear briefly over direct heat – Quickly sear both sides to caramelize the surface.

  • Move to indirect heat – Transfer to the cooler side of the grill to cook low and slow.

  • Flip occasionally – Rotate the brisket every 45 minutes for even cooking.

  • Brush with glaze – Glaze with a sweet and savory marmalade mixture during grilling.

  • Check temperature – Grill until it reaches 195°F internally. Use an instant-read thermometer to test.

  • Rest 10 minutes – Cover loosely with foil before slicing to allow juices to settle.

Common Grilling Pitfalls

To avoid overcooking or drying out the brisket, watch out for these grilling mistakes:

  • Cooking over direct high heat the entire time

  • Letting the temperature fluctuate too high or low

  • Not monitoring the internal temperature

  • Cutting into the meat before it has rested

  • Skipping the soak and rub steps

Sample Grilling Timeline

Follow this general timeline for smoky, juicy grilled corned beef:

  • Day 1 – Soak 8 to 12 hours, changing water occasionally

  • Day 1 – Apply dry rub, then refrigerate 12-24 hours

  • Day 2 – Sear brisket 5 minutes per side over high direct heat

  • Day 2 – Move brisket over indirect low heat around 250°F

  • Day 2 – Flip and brush glaze every 45 minutes for 2 to 3 hours

  • Day 2 – Grill until 195°F internally

  • Day 2 – Tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes

  • Day 2 – Slice across the grain and serve

Serving Suggestions

Complete your grilled corned beef plate with these traditional Irish sides:

  • Braised or roasted cabbage wedges
  • Boiled and mashed potatoes
  • Steamed carrots with dill
  • Irish soda bread
  • Herb cream sauce or mustard
  • Assorted pickles and mustards

A dark Irish stout like Guinness pairs nicely with the assertive flavors. Enjoy this nontraditional grilled take on a hearty Irish-American classic.

FAQs About Grilling Corned Beef Brisket

Grilling corned beef may seem tricky for beginners. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What’s the difference between grilling and smoking corned beef?

  • Grilling uses direct dry heat, while smoking cooks the meat indirectly with smoldering wood chips or charcoal. Both add delicious flavor.

Should you boil then grill the brisket?

  • Most recipes call for grilling the raw corned beef without boiling first. Boiling makes it cooked through, so just a quick sear is needed.

How do you keep the brisket moist on the grill?

  • Letting it cook low and slow, mopping with glaze, and resting before slicing helps keep grilled brisket tender and juicy.

What wood is best for smoking corned beef?

  • Classic barbecue wood like hickory, oak, and maple pair well with brisket. Fruitwoods like apple and cherry also complement the spices.

Can you grill corned beef in cold weather?

  • As long as the grill can maintain even low heat, you can grill brisket year-round. Cook times may take a little longer in cold conditions.

Tips for Leftover Grilled Brisket

Leftover grilled corned beef keeps for up to a week refrigerated. Here are delicious ways to repurpose it:

  • Chop and add to omelets, burritos, pizza, pasta, or fried rice
  • Pile on bread for sandwiches or French dip
  • Dice or shred for salads, nachos, or baked potatoes
  • Slice thin and use in grilled cheese or quesadillas
  • Cube the meat for stews, soups, or hash recipes

With the right preparation and gentle grilling method, corned beef brisket turns out fork-tender and full of smoky barbecue essence. Follow these guidelines for mouthwatering results every time you cook up this Irish specialty on the grill. Sláinte!

How to Grill the Most Tasty Corned Beef Brisket

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