The Ultimate Sandwich: Montreal Smoked Meat

Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

Montreal Smoked Meat sandwiches, smoky and peppery on rye with mustard. The best sandwich in the world. Hands down.

Years ago, during a summer break from university, I managed to snag a dream summer job. I was awarded an internship to work in the Canadian parliament for a cabinet minister. Without boring you with the minute details, but it was quite cool. I was given essentially an all access pass, meaning you could easily walk around the capitol buildings with relative freedom. That and there were some very cheap staff/MPs cafes, with mostly good food.

Introducing Montreal Smoked Meat

However, the best bit was visiting Ottawa (Canada’s capital). It is a unique city, with lots of people who aren’t from there living there. Some very random restaurants, some wonderfully random cuisines. Our office favourite was called La Botega (I may have been the only non Italian-Canadian in the office), and it was really delicious. However, my personal favourite was Nates as they served a Canadian tradition: Montreal Smoked Meat.RoughEats Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

Ok, yes, I was not in Montreal but Montreal smoked meat has a nearly cult like following – particularly in Central and Eastern Canada. It comes courtesy of the large Eastern Jewish population in Montreal (who also make amazing bagels), it’s like pastrami, but better.

Deliciously tender and hot smoked beef brisket, served high on rye bread and some yellow mustard. There are fewer sandwiches that you wouldn’t want to devour.

My family is so in love with this stuff, that when celebrating my wedding a few years back my cousin brought a whole brisket direct from a deli in Montreal. It was probably one of the best evenings, with my entire family sitting on the beach happily eating hot sandwiches. It doesn’t get much better than that.

So, as some of you know, I recently bought a stove top smoker. Having always wanted to try making Montreal smoked mea for myself, I gave it a go. I will fully admit, the core of the recipe comes from a good post by Josh @MeatWave. However, I’ve changed some of the species and the cooking technique to match my tastes and equipment. So if you are using a full size smoker, double the quantities of everything!

Now, as I like a good recipe link, I’m adding this to FiestaFriday! Have a look for some other tasty recipes.

RoughEats Pairings


You know, people usually have this after a night out, so how about some water. Equally cold beer will do too! Just have some crispy dill pickles nearby.


I’ve got no good reason to suggest this track, but it was the song that was on the radio the entire summer of my wedding – so much that we refer to it as our wedding song. It’s Shut Up and Dance. Come on, you know you are about to play this song again.


Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich
Montreal Smoked Meat sandwiches, smoky and peppery on rye with mustard. The best sandwich in the world. Hands down.
  • 1/2 cup Kosher salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1.5 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoons pink salt Prague Powder No. 1
  • 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 whole brisket around 6 pounds, fat trimmed
For the rub
  • 1.5 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoons hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed caraway seed
  • teaspoon cracked yellow mustard seeds
  1. T make the cure, in a small bowl mix together salt, pink salt, black pepper, coriander, sugar, bay leaf, and cloves. Coat entire brisket with the cure and place in an extra-large resealable plastic bag. Place in the coldest part of the refrigerator and cure for 4 days, flipping brisket twice a day. emove brisket from bag and wash as much cure off as possible under cold running water. Place brisket in a large container and fill with water and let soak for 2 hours, replacing water every 30 minutes. Remove from water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. To make the rub, mix together the spices. Coat entire brisket with the rub.
  3. Heat the oven to 225 degrees. If you are using a proper smoker, smoke the brisket for 6-7 hours. If you are using a stove-top smoker, heat the wood chips until they start smoking and place the brisket on the rack and tightly close the lid. After 20min on the stove, place the whole stove top smoker into the over. Continue to cook for 4-5 hours. Try to not check it during this time, let the meat break down. At the end the meat should register at 165 degrees.
  4. When ready, carefully pour water into the steaming tray of the stove top smoker. About 500ml. Tightly close again, and return to the oven. Keep cooking until it reaches 180 degrees. If using a full smoker, take the meat off and place on a rack on a roasting pan. Fill the pan with about an inch of water and tightly cover with foil. Place in a pre-heated oven (225) and cook for anther 1-2 hours until it reaches 180 degrees.
  5. Take out, let cool slightly (watch out for steam!) and then slice hot. Load up some rye bread with meat, top with American mustard and slice-n-serve.

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  • LOVED this post! I grew up on Montreal smoked meat. In fact, it was the family business. My father owned a deli (Famous Delly Boys) along with my uncle, from 1962 to 2007. In the early days, people used to flock to his restaurant to get a smoked meat sandwich on rye bread with a dill pickle on the side, not to mention a can of Cott’s cherry cola. You couldn’t get smoked meat so easily back in the old days. Still, the business thrived until my father retired and sold it. It had 3 different owners until it closed for good in October 2015. End of an era, but the memories are still there! I haven’t been able to find anything close to Montreal smoked meat in the UK so I’ll be trying your recipe. Going to try doing it on our Big Green Egg.

  • This sandwich looks amazing, my ratio of bread vs beef! The beef looks so delicious and I love the sound of the cure! Happy FF 🙂

  • Hmmm…I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of Montreal Smoked Meat. But as a lover of all smoked meats, you’ve definitely piqued my interest! How did the stovetop smoker do? From the pictures alone, it looks like it did an amazing job! I’m thinking one of these sandwiches would be perfect for dinner sometime during the holidays. And I totally second that opinion that crispy dill pickles need to be involved. Excuse me while I go and drool over this sandwich for a while… 🙂

  • Great to hear such a positive experience from a stove-top experience – looks and sounds awesome. 🙂 Must add to my list of experiments – though I’d far rather eat this right now than experiment. 🙂 Thanks for the post and inspiration. 🙂

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