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Brisket Steamed Buns

In Texas (and Brooklyn) the traditional bread served with brisket is a soft puffy white industrial loaf, like Wonder Bread. (An oddly ignominious accompaniment, I’ve always thought, for this noble slab of steer.) The Asian equivalent is the steamed bun, which is equally soft and puffy, but with more chew and cachet. Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn normally packs steamed buns with barbecued lamb belly or short ribs. He created the following brisket steamed bun for The Brisket Chronicles. Think smoky beef, sweet-salty barbecue sauce, and pickled cucumbers for crunch. In other words, think heaven on earth on a steamed bun.

The easiest way to source steamed buns is frozen from an Asian market. While you’re at it, buy some gochujang (Korean chile paste). Sambal oelek is a fiery chili sauce from Indonesia—sriracha will work in a pinch. Note: The traditional way to warm the buns is in a Chinese bamboo steamer over a wok. Line the steamer with a circle of parchment paper to keep the buns from sticking.


Brisket Steamed Buns

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 20 minutes
  • Active Prep: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 buns, enough to serve 4 to 6
  • Method: Steaming (for the buns)
  • Equipment: A bamboo steamer; parchment paper; a wok or pot


  • 12 Asian-style steamed buns, thawed if frozen
  • 1 ½ pounds your favorite barbecued brisket, thinly sliced and warm
  • 1 batch Korean Cucumber Salad or 2 Kirby cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 4 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts thinly sliced on a sharp diagonal
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for serving
  • Korean Barbecue Sauce, for serving
  • Sriracha or sambal oelek, for serving (optional)

Recipe Steps

1: Set up a bamboo steamer lined with parchment paper over a wok or pot (see page 96). Add the buns and steam until hot, 5 to 10 minutes.

2: Open each bun and add a slice of brisket, a spoonful of cucumber salad (or a couple of cucumber slices), scallions, sesame seeds, and a generous dollop of Korean Barbecue Sauce. If you like spice, add a drizzle of sriracha or a smear of sambal oelek.

3: Enjoy immediately, while the buns are piping hot.

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And More

The Brisket Chronicles

It all starts with the big kahuna: an authentic Texas barbecued brisket, aka 18 pounds of smoky, fatty, proteinaceous awesomeness. …

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