Smoked Brisket Bao with Creamy Chipotle BBQ Sauce and Crisp Apple Slaw

Serves 4 – 6 (usually with plenty of leftover brisket)

Beef Brisket

1.2 – 1.5kg beef brisket

2 tbsp kosher salt

2 tbsp coarsely ground pepper

Spray bottle filled with water


Steamed Bao

¾ cup warm water

1 tbsp sugar

2 tsp yeast

1 ½ tbsp olive oil

½ tbsp sesame oil

2 ½ cups flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Sesame oil for brushing


Crisp Apple Slaw

½ savoy cabbage, thinly sliced

½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 apple, julienned

1 carrot, julienned

100g snow pea shoots, torn in half

Coriander leaves to garnish


Lemon Mayonnaise

½ cup Best Foods mayonnaise

1 tbsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper


Creamy Chipotle BBQ Sauce

½ cup Best Foods mayonnaise

2 tbsp BBQ sauce

2 tbsp chipotle hot sauce



Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: Brisket: 8-12+ hours, Bao: 50 minutes  

Brisket Method

  1. Prepare the brisket by placing it on a board, patting it dry, and then trimming off any hard fat on the outside of the brisket. Soft fats will render out during the cook
  2. Mix salt and pepper together then rub it over the surface of the meat, ensuring a generous coating
  3. Set up a charcoal BBQ or smoker for a low and slow cook via your chosen method aiming for a consistent temperature of 120°c
  4. Place the brisket on the grill, away from the heat source. Once the brisket is in position, add your wood chunks to the coal and close the lid

One hour

  • Give the brisket a very light spray of water. Repeat this process at two hours and three hours, topping up or adjusting your coal and wood as needed to maintain the consistent temperature of 120°c

Four hours

  • The brisket should be forming a dark crust. To avoid the meat drying out prepare a ‘boat’ by laying out 2-4 sheets of heavy-duty tinfoil on a large board and crumpling the sides in to form a tray slightly larger than the brisket. Remove the brisket from the grill, place it in the boat, then slide it carefully back on to the grill 

Five, six and seven hours

  • Each hour spray the brisket with water, and check your coal, wood and temperatures 

8 hours

  1. Once in the general internal temperature zone, check the brisket by probing it with a meat skewer. When the probe can be slid in to the brisket with no force required, it is almost ready
  2. When you’ve reached the safe temperature zone and feel the brisket has reached the desired level of tenderness, leave on for an additional 60 minutes, then remove from the grill and rest for an hour 

Steamed Bao, Slaw and Dressings Method

  1. Make the bao dough by mixing the water, sugar, yeast and oil together in a jug or bowl
  2. Add flour, baking powder and salt in to a bowl, add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly to form a firm dough
  3. Tip the dough on to a board, knead briefly, then form the dough in to a smooth ball. Place in a bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes) 
  4. Once risen, tip the dough out and divide in to eight equal pieces. Roll each piece in to an oblong shape. Brush with a thin layer of sesame oil. Fold in half to create the semi-circle bao shape. Set aside to rise for 20-30 minutes
  5. Place the bao in to lined bamboo steamer baskets leaving room around each for them to rise
  6. Steam the bao in batches over boiling water for 10-15 minutes until puffy and dry to the touch. Remove from the steamer and set aside
  7. To make the crisp apple slaw, mix the slaw ingredients together in a bowl until well combined 
  8. For the lemon mayonnaise and chipotle BBQ sauce, mix the ingredients for each dressing together in small bowls, set aside. 
  9. When all elements are ready, slice the brisket perpendicular to the grain
  10. Open the steamed bao, smear a dollop of lemon mayonnaise inside, top with a handful of crisp apple slaw. Wedge in thick slices of brisket and drizzle the meat with the chipotle BBQ sauce, garnish the bao with coriander leaves

 Recipe by @fireandthyme