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What is Montreal smoke meat?

Smoking is a way of cooking or preparing meat. This method has a twofold benefit –it improves the appearance of the meat and adds flavour to it. Meat is usually smoked using wood pellets or hardwood and this smoking process helps in preserving the meat while adding aroma and taste. The wood used for smoking is seasoned. There are two types of smoking processes – hot smoking and cold smoking. In hot smoking, meat is smoked in temperatures above 160-degree Fahrenheit. While cold smoking occurs below 90-degree Fahrenheit. Popular types of smoked meat available in international markets are – American barbeque, bacon, country ham, pastrami, Finnan haddie and Katsuobushi.

Montreal Smoke Meat

Montreal-style smoked meat is a kind of smoked meat in Canada. It is a type of Deli meat, in which beef brisket is salted and cured with spices. It is similar to corned beef and is quite popular in Canada. For Montreal style smoking, the meat is left to absorb flavours and it goes through a hot smoking process. Then it is steamed to complete the cooking process. After this, Montreal smoke meat is ready to be consumed.


It is believed that the combination of bagels with smoke meat came with Jewish immigrants. This food was meant for them and made by them for their community. But many found this combination affordable and filling. This sandwich was sold at just 5 cents apiece making it so very affordable to the working class. The Delis were a good place to get nutritious food for a less amount. The smoked meat recipe for the bagel sandwich is believed to be made by immigrants from Eastern Europe.

The Montreal Bagel became a classic, but it is different from the New York Bagel and loved in Canada. It also considered one of cliched dishes and they are being served since the 1920s. Two most iconic eats – the bagel and smoked meat, were combined to create the very popular sandwich which draws admirers from far and wide.

Montreal smoke meat

This type of meat is like a cross between pastrami and corned beef. Made from brisket, it is brined before smoking. It is made just like pastrami but has much less sugar. The meat is also served on rye with mustard. You can find this easily in Canada, in any Toronto Bagel Shop.

The Montreal smoke meat is quite tender and hence is sliced by hand. The meat pieces are kept hot and then sliced based on the demand. The broken bits which are collected while slicing are often served on cheese curds, French fries or with spaghetti in Bolognese sauce. The Montreal style meat sandwiches are also quite popular and traditionally served on rye with mustard. Some delis also have their own unique creations and sell variations of Montreal bagel with smoked meat. These bagel sandwiches have smoked meat, lettuce and tomatoes in it. Many just add smoke meat on bagel with salt and black pepper. This is considered the authentic and traditional way to consume it.

Montreal is known for Deli food and a Montreal bagel with smoked meat tops the list. It is here that the smoke meat is thought to have originated. The meat is cut and then added to bagel with salt and pepper. This sandwich is served with a huge pickle. Here is where the original sandwiches made from smoke meat were sold and this is how it is served here.

Talking about all this deliciousness may have spurred you on to check if you can smoke your own meat. So, to make the process of understanding smoking, a little easier, here are a few pointers.

There are four things you need to have, to make this a reality in your kitchen or backyard – meat, wood, smoker and spices or brine.

Meat – The best meats that are good to smoke are those that will benefit from slow cooking. Try marbled meat – a cut that has lots of fat and connective tissue. A marbled cut will make the final product very succulent.

Wood – Hickory is ideal for ribs and red meat.The sweet and fruity smoke from Applewood pair well with fish, poultry and pork.Pecan is best for large cuts like a pork roast or brisket. With Oak, the meat can take a long time to cook but it adds a distinct flavour.Maple adds a delicate and sweet taste while darkening any meat and is used for ham or poultry.The most pungent wood – Mesquite, is used for larger cuts that require a long cooking time.

Brine – The brining process keeps the meat moist and tender through the cooking process.

Smoking requires you to go slow and low. Very high temperatures will cause charring and burning while trying to cook it faster will not add the right flavour. Smoked meat is the result of a lot of patience. This is what creates the delicious slices that you enjoy on your sandwich.

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Apr 10, 2021

Sorry... But as a Born & Bred Montrealer, I can tell you definitively that it is absolutely Wrong to say that Montrealers eat Smoked Meat on a Bagel... It would be much too cumbersome to hold and fit in your mouth to take a bite... and impossible to prevent the meat from escaping, and hold the sandwich together... Bagels are traditionally eaten with Smoked Salmon (Lox) & Cream Cheese... NEVER Smoked Meat !! 😁

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