Corned Beef and Cabbage For A Smokin’ St Patty’s Day

Blue skies and continuous sunshine form a perfect backdrop to search for rainbows, four-leaf clovers, and wee leprechauns up to their mischievous shenanigans. Indeed, it’s also a great time for us pit jockeys to practice our craft, and today of all days, there is no other choice than that of Corned Beef accompanied by a generous helping of Smoked Cabbage.

For the life of me, whilst daydreaming about my upcoming corned beef and cabbage dinner, I can’t think of one good reason why we don’t enjoy this meal on a more regular basis, but like the Thanksgiving turkey, it takes the spotlight but once during our trip around the sun, and as that day is currently upon us, we can surely indulge. And indulge we shall, but in our own, wood-fired way, that being over a hardwood fire with a combination of applewood and cherrywood. But we must not lollygag, because this is no quickly thrown together meal. It is a labor of love, and as I sit here with a full belly and loosened waistband, I can say that it is worth your time. So let’s get after it.

Starting with a store-bought corned beef as I did, give it a solid rinse to remove as much of that prepackaged brine as possible. Pat it dry, and then wet it down all over again with a generous combination of both yellow and whole grain mustard, Nothing more. Nothing less.

Two heads of cabbage are cored, spritzed with butter spray or olive oil, and given a shake of seasoned pepper on the outside and in that hole that appears after proper coring. I haven’t smoked a whole cabbage before, but we decided to make two just in case it was a good decision. Spoiler alert: We weren’t disappointed.


Three pieces of center cut bacon were chopped and mixed with about a half stick of softened, unsalted butter, making for a magical combination to stuff into the holes of the cored cabbage.

Take an outside leaf from each of the cabbages and cover the bacon and butter filled hole, making a cabbage leaf lid of sorts.

With the smoker rolling at about 225°, I put both the corned beef and the tray of cabbage in, uncovered for now.

At the two hour mark, I pulled the cabbage out. You’ll notice the cabbage leaf “lids” turning dark, and that’s ok.

I pulled those leaves back and refilled those holes with some good ol’ beer. Nothing fancy, just regular beer. Pour some in the bottom of the pan as well, and then seal the whole thing up nice and tight with aluminum foil. Back to the smoker it goes, now for the long haul.

Nothing to do now except look for those four-leaf clovers and leprechauns, and maybe indulge in a wee bit of Irish Whiskey, but keep an eye on the internal temp of that corned beef. It’s brisket, after all, so once it hits the stall at about 150°, pull it off, add some necessary ingredients like a bottle of Guinness and another healthy slathering of grainy mustard. Wrap it tightly, and then, you know the drill. Back in the smoker.

When you see this number on your internal meat thermometer, you’ve hit the magic number for today.

Now you can pull that foil-wrapped beauty off the smoker. Leave it wrapped in foil, swaddle it with care, and lay it to rest in a cooler for a couple of hours. It makes for a rustic type of Cambro, as they call it. I won’t go into the science of it, but you can read it here if you’re interested.

But back to those two cabbage heads. It’s been about six hours total, so they were removed from the smoker as well, and because they smelled so delicious, I had to take a peek.

So tender, and a little sweet, with a black pepper and bacon kick.

The corned beef was delicious too, tender and juicy with a great mustard bark and sweet smokiness to add depth to the flavor.

Each component is delicious on its own, but when you put them together on a plate, well, it’s a dinner that’ll make you forget about that four-leaf clover search, because the real luck-o-the-Irish is on the plate, right there in front of you.

Because Life Is Better Wood Fired