When I was growing up, whenever we went over to my grandma’s on the holidays, she would serve delicious dishes made from brisket that she slow-cooked for hours in the oven. As I grew up and started cooking for my own guests, my preference was to fire up the grill in the backyard and serve up juicy rare steaks and barbecued chicken.
One summer, my brother invited me and my family over for a backyard barbecue, and to my amazement, he produced a brisket sandwich, similar to my grandma’s, but he cooked it outside over an actual fire, the way I like to cook. I had to try it, and now it’s my go-to dish for gatherings.
This dish is a big hit at summer barbecues. Since the outdoor smoking process requires very little personal attention, you can also serve it to guests during your winter holiday gatherings or even at your Superbowl party. You’ll just have to find a place protected from the rain to park your smoker.
What is brisket?
Brisket is a cut of beef. It is technically the forechest of the steer, tucked underneath the shoulder cuts (the chuck) and in front of the leg. It needs to be cooked long and slow, during which it becomes fall-off-the-fork tender and its relatively high fat content self-bastes during the cooking process, which keeps the meat moist and delicious.
How long does it take to smoke a brisket?
Brisket needs to be cooked long and slow. When smoking, allow for around eight hours to fully cook the meat. It’s best to start smoking it in the morning for an evening meal.
You can also smoke it the day before. Let it finish resting on the counter and then double-wrap it in aluminum foil followed by sealing it in plastic. Store it in the refrigerator overnight. Pull it out and let it sit on the counter for around 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 325 F. Insert the brisket and let it slowly heat up for an hour or until it reaches 160 F inside. Remove and slice.
Alternatively, you can smoke it the day before and reheat it in a crockpot. This is a good way to serve brisket sandwiches buffet-style, where the meat, buns, and various toppings are presented and the guests can assemble their own sandwiches before picking out their sides.
To reheat it in a crockpot, remove your well-wrapped brisket from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Slice it up and place it in the crockpot. Pour all of the drippings over it, or you can pour a bit of beef broth on top of it. Let it heat up on low for about 4 hours, and then leave it in the crockpot to stay warm while the guests help themselves.
Should smoked brisket be pink?
It is OK for smoked meats to be a little pink; the smoking process tends to block the chemical reactions that turn meat brown. Always use a meat thermometer to ensure your brisket is done. It should read 205 F inside the meat before pulling it out of the smoker, and the temperature will continue to rise to 210 F while it rests.
A nicely smoked brisket will have a dark crust on its surface, and then it will have a “smoked ring” under the crust. This ring is often distinctly pink. The rest of the meat should brownish to pinkish in color.
What can you put on a smoked brisket sandwich?
Traditionally, you put barbecue sauce and coleslaw on a brisket sandwich. This meat tastes best with a topping that has a hint of sour vinegar, so other popular toppings include pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, and relishes. Of course, you can replace the barbecue sauce with hot sauce, horseradish sauce, or Russian dressing. The classic Reuben sandwich is a smoked brisket sandwich with Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut.
What are some good sides to go with smoked brisket sandwiches?
Any traditional barbecue side goes well with these sandwiches:
• Baked beans
• Grilled corn on the cob
• Corn pudding
• Creamed corn
• Potato salad
• Mashed potatoes
• Scalloped potatoes
• Fried okra
• Steamed green beans
• Collard greens
• Hush puppies
• Mac and cheese
OTHER SMOKED RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
Smoked Brisket Sandwich
Tender and juicy smoked beef brisket sandwiches
- 5 lbs beef brisket
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup black pepper
- 8 pieces brioche buns toasted
- bbq sauce (you can use any of your favorite bbq sauce)
- 1/2 slice white cabbage sliced into thin strips
- 2 pieces carrots sliced into thin strips
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 piece red onion sliced
- 1 tbsp salad cream
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
Rub the brisket well with a thick layer of salt and pepper. Let it rest on the counter while you heat the smoker to 225 F. Add your favorite wood chips and put the meat in, fat side up. Smoke for around 4 hours or until it hits 165 F inside.
Wrap the meat tightly in butcher's paper and put it back into the smoker for another 4 hours or until it hits 205 F inside.
Remove it and let it rest for 30 to 60 minutes before slicing. While it rests, make the coleslaw.
Finely slice two carrots, a small red onion, and about half a white cabbage. Use a mandoline or a food processor. Toss the vegetables with 1/4 tsp white pepper, 4 tbsp mayonnaise, and 1 tbsp salad cream.You can make fresh mayonnaise and salad cream while the meat is smoking.
Slice the meat into thin strips. Toast the brioche buns. On each bun, pile a mound of meat and cover it with your favorite barbecue sauce. Cover it with coleslaw and the top bun. Serve and enjoy.