Pulled Brisket Bao Buns


A delicious bite of spicy slow-cooked brisket wrapped in a sweet steamed bun. Every mouthful will take you to pleasureville.

Ingredients

For the brisket

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1½ tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2kg whole piece of brisket beef
  • 400ml beef stock

For the barbecue sauce

  • 250ml cabernet sauvignon vinegar
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 100ml dark rum
  • 75ml cola
  • 200ml tomato ketchup
  • 50 Sriracha sauce
  • splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 200ml cooking juices from the beef brisket (see above) or beef gravy

For the Bao Buns

  • 25g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1½ tbsp caster sugar, plus a pinch
  • 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil , plus extra for greasing and brushing
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar 1 tsp baking powder

Instructions

For the Brisket

  1. For the brisket, put the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns in a frying pan and toast over medium heat for a few minutes, taking care not to burn them. Allow cooling.
  2. Once cooled, add the spices to a pestle and mortar and crush to a powder. Add the sugar, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper and mix together.
  3. Score the inside of the beef with a sharp knife and rub the spice mix all over the joint, inside and out. Roll the joint up and tie securely in several places using kitchen string. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.
  4. The next day, preheat the oven to 160C. Place the brisket on a wire rack inside a roasting tray and pour the beef stock around the outside. Cover the whole tray with aluminium foil to prevent any moisture escaping. Place in the oven to cook slowly for 4-6 hours, occasionally checking that the liquid hasn’t evaporated. Add some water if it looks low.
  5. After 4-6 hours the beef should be soft and tender. Remove from the oven and leave to rest in the aluminium foil for 25 minutes. Reserve any cooking juices.

For the Sauce

  1. For the barbecue sauce, put a very large pan over high heat and add the vinegar. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and slowly reduce the volume of liquid by half. Add the sugar, rum, cola, ketchup and juices and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Skim off the fat from the surface of the beef brisket cooking juices and add the remaining juices to the pan. Bring back to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer very slowly for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the brisket from the rack and pull the meat apart using a fork. Add the shredded brisket to the simmering sauce along with any juices left in the roasting tray. Bring back to a very low simmer and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat off and put the pan to one side.

For the bao buns

  1. Mix together 525g plain flour, 1½ tbsp caster sugar and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl (see tip).
  2. Dissolve 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast and a pinch of sugar in 1 tbsp warm water, then add it to the flour with 50ml milk, 1 tbsp sunflower oil, 1 tbsp rice vinegar and 200ml water. Mix into a dough, adding a little extra water if needed.
  3. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10-15 mins, or until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 2 hrs, or until doubled in size.
  4. Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and punch it down. Flatten the dough with your hands, then sprinkle over 1 tsp baking powder and knead for 5 mins.
  5. Roll out the dough into a long sausage shape, about 3cm thick, then cut into pieces that are about 3cm wide – you should have 18.
  6. In the palm of your hand, roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for 2-3 mins.
  7. Use a rolling pin to roll out each ball, one by one, into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick. Rub the surface of the dough ovals with oil and brush a little oil over a chopstick.
  8. Place the oiled chopstick in the centre of each oval. Fold the dough over the chopstick, then slowly pull out the chopstick.
  9. Cut 18 squares of baking parchment and put a bun on each. Transfer to a baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel or lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hr 30 mins, or until doubled in size.
  10. Heat a large steamer over a medium-high heat. Steam the buns for 8 mins until puffed up (you’ll need to do this in batches).
  11. Prise open each bun and fill with our barbecue pork and pickled carrot & mooli. Eat while they’re still warm.