At a party in May, I debuted a tray of sliders made with slow-cooked brisket which received complimentary reviews. I didn’t find a recipe for what I wanted to make back then so I struck out on my own. For the Fourth of July, I revisited this creation and finalized a recipe that I am now comfortable sharing.
Memphis and the Mid-South is steeped in traditions for smoked pork barbeque. In these parts barbequed beef doesn’t get the same attention that it does in other barbecue centers in North America (Texas champions smoked beef brisket, and I’ve learned to appreciate it).
When I first made this recipe, I used liquid smoke as a short-cut for actually smoking the meat. I don’t have an open pit to smoke meat for barbeque, but I do have a Camerons stovetop smoker which I used in this recent attempt. My smoker is spacious enough for four pounds of brisket. This recipe starts with smoke and finishes with slow cooking in a crock pot. The tomato, onion and garlic based sauce is spicy, tangy and sweet. Budget at least 30 hours of time to make this brisket for sliders (Don’t fret. Most of that is cooking time).
I recommend starting this recipe at sunrise on the day before you plan to serve the sliders. After cooking and assembling the brisket and sauce, I place heaps of the brisket on freshly baked yeast rolls with sliced pickles and Ancho chile mayonnaise. I highly recommend frozen yeast rolls available in most grocery stores (Bake frozen yeast rolls a few hours before you plan to serve the sliders on the second day of cooking. Be sure you leave enough time for the rolls to thaw and rise according to package directions).
Smoked & Slow-Cooked Brisket Sliders
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon, crushed red pepper (more if you like heat)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 large onion, sliced along its axis
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 28-oz can of peeled, whole tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 pounds beef brisket
- 1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise (it’s the best)
- 2 teaspoons, Ancho chile pepper
- 4 whole cucumber pickles (preferably fermented), sliced thin
- 32 yeast rolls, or more as needed
- Thoroughly mix the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Pat dry the slab of brisket with paper towels on a cutting board. Rub the brisket with the spice mix on all sides. Reserve the excess spice mix for the next step. Place the brisket into the Camerons smoker with a heaping tablespoon of wood chips cut for your smoker (I use hickory wood chips). Close the the lid of the smoker when the brisket and chips are assembled inside the smoker and place on small eye on the stove. Heat the smoker on a low heat setting for 2 hours.
- While the brisket is smoking, add the next 4 ingredients (onion – Worcestershire) to a crock pot with the reserved spice mix. After the brisket has smoked, gently transfer the meat from the smoker to the crockpot. Allow the meat to rest on top of the vegetables and place the cover on the pot. Set your crock pot halfway between the lowest and middle heat setting and allow to cook for the next 12 hours. Adjust the heat to keep the pot from boiling if needed. You want a slow simmer.
- Remove the brisket to a cutting board. Test the meat with a couple of forks near the center-edge of the slab. The meat should be tender and the sinews should separate easily. If the meat does not pass this test, continue cooking in the crock pot on a slightly higher setting for at least another hour and test again. Allow the meat to cool on a cutting board without any further cuts. You want the juices to remain inside.
- Using a colander, drain the sauce though the vegetables into a large bowl. Place the vegetables and the meat back into the crock pot, cover and place in the refrigerator. Cover the remaining liquid sauce and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, use a slotted spoon to remove the fat that congealed above the sauce in the refrigerator overnight. Place sauce in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow sauce to cook uncovered for about 1 hour. The sauce should thicken and reduce to about 1/3 its original volume.
- Transfer the liquid sauce and the vegetables from the refrigerator to a blender or food processor. Blend for 10-20 seconds on a low setting until the tomatoes, onion and garlic break apart and mix thoroughly in the sauce (don’t liquefy).
- Mix together the mayonnaise and Ancho chile pepper in a small bowl and place in refrigerator until ready for use.
- When you are ready to serve the brisket sliders, place the meat on the cutting board and use a couple of large forks to break apart the meat along the sinews. Trim away large pieces of fat and discard. Use a meat cleaver or other large knife to cut into bite size pieces. Place the meat in a large pot with the blended sauce on the stove on medium-low until heated thoroughly. Add salt if needed.
- To assemble the sliders, spread some of the mayonnaise on the bottom half of a sliced roll. Add 3-4 pickles slices, about 1/3 cup brisket and the top half of the roll. You are ready to serve.
Serve brisket sliders with homemade pickled vegetables and potato salad.