It’s National Barbecue Month! To celebrate, we put together the ultimate BBQ Brisket Sandwich recipe using winning flavor combinations, expert techniques, and tried-and-tested topping selections. Check out the full recipe breakdown below (complete with a pinnable infographic), then head over to our Grilling Resources Page for more techniques and recipe ideas!
The Ultimate BBQ Recipe: BBQ Brisket Sandwich with Tangy Pickle & Onion Slaw
Everyone loves a classic barbecued dish—the rich, smoky flavor; the tender and juicy slow-cooked meat; your choice of BBQ sauce (sweet, spicy, tangy, etc.); and of course, all the extra toppings and sides you could want!
Our recipe pulls together all of these favorite things about barbecue, with a savory dry-rubbed beef brisket, smoked “low and slow,” and topped with a tangy pickle and onion slaw along with one of our favorite sauces.
Check out the specifics below!
Recipe Infographic: https://potatorolls.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/BBQ-Sandwich.pdf
- Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls
- 4-Pound Beef Brisket, smoked (see tips below)
- BBQ Dry Rub (recipe below)
- Tangy Pickle and Onion Slaw (recipe below)
- Choice of Sauce: We used BEAST Sauce (Guava Sriracha Ketchup)
A good dry rub for barbecuing has to have the perfect balance of sweet, salty, spicy, and savory. Here is our “secret” blend:
BBQ Dry Rub
- ½ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
- ¼ Cup Kosher Salt
- 2 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
- 1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Prep: Mix together spices and set aside.
THE MEAT & SMOKING PROCESS
Brisket is a great option for barbecuing. By itself, brisket is a fairly tough cut of meat, which is why the low-and-slow style of barbecue is one of the best methods for cooking it. Smoking the brisket slowly for several hours helps to break down the tough parts of the meat until it is melt-in-the-mouth tender.
Step #1: Rub brisket well with BBQ dry rub and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Step #2: Light a charcoal grill (or smoker) and set it up for indirect cooking by arranging the hot coals to one side. Close the grill and bring the temperature to 250°F.
Step #3: Fill a smoker box with your choice of wood chips and set over the hot coals.
Step #4: Place the brisket, fat side up, on the cool side of the grill, opposite the coals. Close the grill and smoke the meat at 225° to 250° for about 4 hours. Adjust grill vents and/or add hot coals as necessary to maintain the temperature. Every hour, add 1/2 cup of wood chips and rotate the brisket. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 165°.
Step #5: Wrap brisket tightly in a double layer of aluminum foil and return to grill opposite the coals. Close the grill and cook the brisket at 225° to 250° for 2 hours longer, until a meat thermometer inserted in the meat registers 180°; add coals as necessary to maintain the heat.
Step #6: Coat brisket in BBQ sauce and return it to the smoker for 15-20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the meat registers 190°F. Remove the brisket from the heat, wrap in foil, and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Always be sure to use indirect heat at low temperatures when preparing barbecue. Keep in mind the phrase “Low and Slow.”
- Try using different types of wood chips to customize the smoke flavor of your brisket! Popular varieties include Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Pecan, and Oak. (about each on our resources page at the link below.)
- To customize your barbecue, try experimenting with alternative preparations, such as brining, or customize your dry rub or barbecue sauce used for glazing.
- Don’t have a smoker at home? No problem—the directions below work well for a charcoal or gas grill with the added adjustment of a smoker box and wood chips. (To learn the differences between the different types of grills used for barbecuing, check out the link below.)
For more BBQ/Smoking Tips, check out our Grilling Resources Page!
What would barbecue be without the sauce? Of course, the delicious smoky taste of the barbecued meat itself is important, but sometimes a little kick of extra heat, sweetness, or tanginess is just what is needed to complete your masterpiece.
There are so many BBQ sauce varieties to choose from! Check out our National Barbecue Month blog post to learn about the different barbecue styles from around the country. Then, experiment with different types of sauces to see which is your favorite.
Here are some great sauce options to choose from:
- Memphis-Style BBQ Sauce
Semi-thick & tangy; tomato, vinegar, and molasses-based sauce with sugar and spices
- Kansas City-Style BBQ Sauce
Thick & sweet; ketchup and molasses-based sauce with sugar, vinegar, and spices
- Alabama-Style BBQ Sauce
Mayonnaise-based sauce with vinegar, horseradish, and spices
- Eastern North Carolina BBQ Sauce:
Thin & spicy; vinegar-based sauce with black pepper, cayenne, and hot sauce
- Lexington-Style BBQ Sauce:
Semi-thin & slightly sweet; vinegar and tomato-based sauce with sugar and spices
- South Carolina BBQ Sauce:
Mustard-based sauce with vinegar, sugar, and spices
The rich meatiness of barbecued beef brisket is best paired with a hint of acid (or vinegar) to cut through some of the fat and add a balanced flavor composition. We love matching it with a vinegar-based cole slaw, bread-and-butter pickles, or pickled onions…so we went ahead and combined all three!
Tangy Pickle and Onion Slaw
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2/3 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar, divided
- 1 Tablespoon Honey, divided
- 1 1/4 Cups Red Onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 3/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 5 Cups Green Cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 Cup Bread-and-Butter Pickles, finely chopped
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
Step #7: Bring 1/2 cup water, 2/3 cup vinegar, and 2 teaspoons honey to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add onion; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step #8: Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, pepper, salt, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, and remaining 1 teaspoon honey in a large bowl. Add cabbage, parsley, and chopped pickles; toss to coat. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain onions; add to the cabbage slaw mixture. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Alternate Topping Tips
Not a fan of cole slaw? How about some of these other great options?
- Top with bread-and-butter pickles only.
- Pair with roasted veggies such as bell peppers.
- Top with raw onions to add a bit of a bite.
- Pair with quick-pickled onions: just follow step 7 above.
- Top with a creamy spread such as mayo or ranch dressing.
Once you’ve barbecued your meat, chosen your BBQ sauce, and prepared your toppings, it’s time to prepare your sandwich. And of course there’s no better vehicle for a barbecue sandwich than Martin’s Potato Rolls! Their soft, plush texture and sturdy nature makes them the perfect complement to the hefty slices of beef brisket and a pile of sauce and slaw.
Step #9: Once the brisket has rested, slice thickly against the grain and layer onto Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls. Top with Tangy Pickle & Onion Slaw and additional BBQ sauce or BEAST sauce. Serve immediately.
Tip: Our sesame-seeded Big Marty’s Rolls are another great option for this sandwich!
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