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Brisket Banh Mi

A sour sandwich?

As I said on the show, who craves a sour sandwich? And further more, who comes up with these "hot new food trends". I want that job by the way. It seems like people are just drawing words out of a hat.

*Pulls slip from bucket one*


*Pulls slip from bucket two*


*Pulls slip from bucket three*


So now the hot new trend is sparkly chicken cereal.

In previous challenges this was also a debate. When we had to decide who gets what category, there was an acutal exchange of words and desires. This time everyone stuck to their first choice. Except Manny. Manny was gracious enough to rock paper scissors me for crispy meat.

And I lost to him... for a third time. PS. Salty Dessert and Crunchy Meat aren't really that big of a challenge. Salted caramel tart, any fried meat... even sweet soup (even though it is a bit more difficult) isn't entirely problematic. I was going to do a crab and corn bisque.

Buuuuut... I got sour sandwich. After I had resigned myself to that fact, the banh mi idea came fairly quickly to me. I just wasn't sure if it would be sour enough. People have gone home for skirting the challenge before, and I did not want them to think that I wasn't really trying "get it right". So the recipe that was on Food Network Star includes some pickled cabbage and red onion (suggestion a la Palak). A traditional banh mi does not have these food items. Personally, I wouldn't add them in my "real life", so we are going to skip them for the sake of this blog post.

Before we continue with this post, I would just like to point out I won the challenge. Anne liked my food, I tried to direct her (Soooooooo much harder than it looked. We were told she would be herself and we just had to giver her direction. It turned out we had to prompt her for everything! But I love her personality, so the experience was both fun and painful. Haha) and that is that. Back to the food.

Ironically, I had started this post a while back and then realized that I made Banh Mi-s on the show and saved it for the episode. This blog post has a smoked brisket banh mi, which is new to the blog. I will also include a link to my chicken/pork/beef banh mi-s, which are more similar to what I served last week on food network star. Not everyone wants to take the time to smoke brisket... I totally get that. If you do not have the time or resources to do so, go ahead and do the pork/chicken/beef marinade. No matter how you go, it is delicious. It really is one of my favorite sandwiches of all times. And if you're like me and you're watching your girlish figure, you can also do it as a salad. I love to load it up with baby kale, fresh herbs, vegetables and some rice noodles. Sure, you're missing the "banh", but its still "mi" favorite. Teeheehee. (I'm a nerd.)

Cue original blog post intro...

A little ditty, about Jack and Dianne... I don't know what that is my opening line. It just popped into my head, and now it is in print. The same is true for this sandwich. My husband was smoking some brisket, and as much as I love brisket, sometimes I want to be creative with it. This genius idea popped into my head. And yes, it is genius. Don't even question the level of my glory or I will throat punch you. I was so excited about my "new" idea that I googled it to see if it was in fact a NEW idea. Turns out it is absolutely not! Pretty much everyone has done it. It was a bit disappointing. I mean I had just been demoted from genius level expert, to genius level average. But hey, at least I know I am on the right track. I was onto something incredible. There was no disappointment factor when it came to flavor! Hot damn Jack and Dianne! (Seriously, why is my brain so ADD?)

If you have never had a banh mi, go make one right now! If you are lazy or unskilled, you can go buy one. The banh mi is a classic Vietnamese sandwich; born in Saigon in 1954. And the couple credited for making this exquisite sandwich still owns a restaurant there called Banh Mi Ho Ma. Crazy! This sandwich is barely older than me. Not great math, its like almost twice as old as me, but you get the point.

You guys, this was insanely good. The juicy smokey brisket really was the perfect accompaniment to the tart pickled vegetables (or maybe it was the other way around... vegetables compliment the brisket). Banh Mi has always been my favorite sandwich. I love Vietnamese food. It really is one of my very most happy places.

Anyway...back to the brisket banh mi. As I mentioned, my husband loves to smoke brisket. I sometimes implore him to smoke other things. But apparently smoking meat isn't really smoking unless its brisket. There is something about a challenge that the man loves. Hmmmmm... that sounds vaguely familiar. So up at 4 am and the brisket really isn't even done until 9 pm anyway. Its almost as if he likes to torture himself. If you don't want to do this with brisket, that is totally fine. I have done it with pork, beef and chicken before. I will include a link to my previous banh mi post, which was made with chicken. Buuuut, if you have a smoker, or a friend smoking brisket, I highly recommend a brisket banh mi.

I mean look at that!

That is one scrumptious sandwich. Succulent smoked brisket, crunchy cucumbers, peppery radish sprouts, tangy pickled vegetables, lemony cilantro and of course Sriracha. No wonder Anne Burrell said she wouldn't kick it out of bed. Who would?!?!?!

As I previously mentioned, I have already posted about Banh Mis before. So the body of this post may be a bit redundant. But suck it up buttercup because you (and Jack and Dianne apparently) are in for one perfect sandwich.)

Building this sandwich is all about building flavors. They compliment each other not only in flavor, but in texture and development. Spicy, salty, briney, creamy, crunch, soft, tender, crispy... every single box is checked.

Elements, such as smoking a brisket, are where I am going to send you to an outside source. I can walk you through what we did, what to look for, but there is a lot of finesse that I can't quite convey properly and thoroughly enough to feel like I set you up entirely for success. :)

The Meats:


Brisket comes in a large cut. You do not want the flats because there won't be enough fat to render and seep into the meat. Look for a "full packer" cut of brisket, this cut has the deckle (the fatty upper layer) and a point (also fat).

Needless to say, you won't need all the brisket for these sandwiches unless you're feeding a large crowd. You can make it brisket week in your home, or we have found that it actually freezes and defrosts quite well.

Below is the link to Aaron Franklin's "how to" for brisket.

We used a different dry rub, one that had more elements. You can really go either way. I enjoy over complicating things, so of course I complicated it. The flavor was superb, so I vote we go with my dry rub. I am NOT saying I know more than Aaron Franklin, which is why I am referring you to him, but anytime you have salt and sugar in a "dry brine" it always helps to lock in moisture. So we rub our brisket down with the dry rub the night before we plan on smoking it.

Dry Rub:

1/4 cup salt, 1/4 cup black pepper, 2 tbsp onion powder, 2 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp smoked paprika, 2 tbsp ground mustard, 1 tsp cayenne.


The marinade for chicken, pork or beef is pretty much the same. It always helps to pound out your meat (in a non sexual way of course).


Now lets out it all together!

In addition to your protein of choice, we have a few other things going on.

If you are making a sandwich (the purpose of this post), then you will also want the following:

French Bread

English or Japanese cucumbers



cilantro leaves

radish sprouts (optional addition)

fresh sliced jalapenos

1. After your meat of choice is cooked (discussed above), you can begin to assemble your sandwich (or your Avengers).

2. Begin by slicing your bread in half and toasting it until slightly browned. Cut it down the middle, but not entirely through. Leave it like a hinge or a pocket.

3. Slather both sides in some mayonnaise, and then add sriracha if desired.

4. Add thinly sliced cucumber and sprouts if desired.

5. Add your meat.

6. Add fresh jalapeno slices, if desired.

7. Top the meat with pickled vegetables.


If you're making a Salad:

You will need some sort of greens.

I loved the baby kale. If you want a really green-greens, you could also use arugula. If you are looking for something lighter, Manoa lettuce, butter lettuce, and red leaf lettuce would all work.


fresh torn herbs (I used mint, cilantro and basil)

cooked rice noodles (preferably thin)

radish sprouts

sliced cucumbers

meat of choice

I simply dress mine with a bit of olive oil, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes. I try to do a similar ratio of oil to acid (lime juice and rice wine vinegar), leaning slightly heavier on the acid.

So whether you're looking for a sour sandwich or not, you are still going to want to try this!


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