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Video: Barbecue brisket battle on the plaza

TODAY recipes
updated 6/5/2012 4:48:17 PM ET 2012-06-05T20:48:17

Who will win the TODAY's Kitchen BBQ Cook-Off? Get ready for a mouthwatering good time as legendary pitmasters Pat Martin of Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in Tennessee and Myron Mixon of Jack's Old South BBQ in Georgia duke it out on the Plaza. Here is Martin's recipe for "red neck tacos," along with Mixon's recipes for smoked beef brisket, burnt ends and barbecue-stuffed baked potatoes.

Recipe: Pat's red neck taco (on this page) Recipe: Perfect smoked brisket (on this page) Recipe: Burnt ends (on this page) Recipe: Barbecue-stuffed baked potatoes (on this page)

Recipe: Pat's red neck taco

  • For the slaw:
  • 16 ounces green cabbage, thinly sliced or shaved
  • 6 ounces purple cabbage, thinly sliced or shaved
  • 6 ounces carrots, peel, thin cut or julienne
  • 16 ounces heavy cream
  • 4 ounces cider vinegar
  • 8 ounces white sugar
  • 1/2 ounce light molasses
  • Pinch minced garlic
  • For the Southern belle sauce:
  • 8 ounces cider vinegar
  • 6 ounces ketchup
  • 1.25 ounces salt
  • 4.5 ounces white sugar
  • 4.5 ounces light molasses
  • 4.5 ounces honey
  • 3/4 ounce soy
  • 1/4 ounce dry mustard
  • 1/4 ounce chili powder
  • 1/4 ounce red pepper flakes
  • For the cornbread batter:
  • 24 ounces white cornmeal (self-rising)
  • 32 ounces buttermilk (whole fat!)
  • 5 ounces lard or bacon grease
  • 1/2 ounce coarse black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces melted butter
  • For the beef brisket:
  • 10 pounds (approximately) whole brisket
  • 24 ounces rub (Recipe appears below)
  • For the rub:
  • 9 ounces brown sugar
  • 8 ounces kosher salt
  • 6.5 ounces garlic salt
  • 6.5 ounces sugar
  • 2.5 ounces paprika
  • 2 ounces lemon pepper
  • 1 ounce chili powder
  • 1/2 ounce black ground pepper
  • 1/2 ounce cayenne pepper
  • 1.5 ounces mustard

To prepare the slaw:
Mix all the slaw ingredients up!

To prepare the sauce:
Mix all the sauce ingredients together.

To prepare the cornbread:
Drop scoop of 1/3 cup cornbread batter onto a 375-degree griddle. Cook for 2.5 minutes and flip. Brush with butter and cook for another 1.5 minutes. Serve in a pancake shape.

To make the brisket:
Rub the brisket with the rub. Smoke at 220 degrees for 14-16 hours. Trim fat cap off and slice.

To build the tacos:
Take a flat slice of cornbread, add slaw, sauce and brisket, and eat it like a taco or a moo shu chicken.

Recipe: Perfect smoked brisket

  • For the brisket:
  • 1 15-to-20 pound whole untrimmed brisket, preferably wagyu
  • 1 quart Beef Injection and Marinade (See recipe below)
  • 3/4 cup Beef Rub (See recipe below)
  • 2 aluminum pans
  • Injector
  • Blanket
  • For the beef rub:
  • 2/3 cup chili powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons onion powder
  • 4 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • For the beef injection and marinade:
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 tablespoons beef base or beef bouillon powder
  • 3 tablespoons beef au jus or 1 15-ounce can strong beef broth

To prepare the brisket:
1. Trim your brisket. (Remove the membrane from the meat, and any excess fat.)

2. Place the brisket, fat side up, in an aluminum baking pan. Inject it by eyeballing 1-inch squares all over the brisket and injecting half of the beef injection in those squares. Flip the brisket over, fat side down, and pour the remaining injection/marinade over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

3. Thirty minutes before you are ready to cook the brisket, heat smoker to 350 degrees F. (You can also use a gas grill, but you'll need to put your wood chips on one side that has the flame lit and the meat on the other that is unlit.)

4. Remove the brisket from the marinade and discard the marinade. Using your hands, apply the beef rub all over the meat. Place the brisket in a clean aluminum baking pan, place the pan in the smoker, and cook for 2 1/2 hours.

5. Remove the pan from the smoker and cover it with aluminum foil. Put it back into the smoker and cook for another 1 1/2 hours or until the temperature in the point end of the meat reaches 205 degrees F.

6. Remove the pan from the smoker and wrap the pan, still covered with aluminum foil, in a thick blanket. Let it rest at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours.

7. Unwrap the pan, discard the foil, and remove the brisket, taking care to save the accumulated juices. Set the brisket aside. Strain the juices of all grease, and pour the juices into a medium saucepan. Warm the juices over medium heat, and allow them to come to a simmer. Meanwhile, slice the brisket against the grain; try to make the slices as consistently sized as possible. Place the slices on a warm platter and pour the juices over them. Serve immediately.

To make the beef rub:
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients thoroughly. You can store this rub in an airtight container indefinitely.

To prepare the beef injection and marinade:
In a large stockpot over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the beef base and the beef au jus to the water, and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat. If reserving for a later use, let the liquid cool; then pour it into a jug or bottle. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Serving Size

Serves 20 to 25.

Recipe: Burnt ends

  • Sections of whole brisket (See recipe above)
  • Beef rub (See recipe above)

This recipe is made in combination with the above recipe for perfect smoked brisket.

Before marinating a whole brisket, remove the fat cap on the bottom of the brisket, from the center of the meat back to the point (the narrow end). After marinating, season this area with the rub as well as the rest of the meat.

Cook the brisket as described above. Wrap it in the blanket and let it rest for 2 hours.

Unwrap the brisket and remove the bottom section. (There is a membrane separating the bottom of the point from the top. Feel this with your blade as you cut.) Clean the fat away from the membrane side of the bottom piece, season with salt and pepper, and place the bottom piece on the smoker. Cook for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, pour the pan drippings into a grease separator, and set aside. Place the top portion of the brisket back in the pan, wrap with foil, and rewrap it in the blanket.

Remove the burnt end portion from the smoker and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.

Place the cubes in a small pan and add the reserved drippings. Cover, and place in the smoker for 30 minutes.

Recipe: Barbecue-stuffed baked potatoes

  • 4 large russet potatoes (about 12 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (plus more for garnish)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound smoked pork, shredded
  • 1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (scallions),white and green parts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse the potatoes very well under cold water and scrub them clean. Dry them well with a clean kitchen towel. Pierce each potato with the tip of a sharp knife or the tines of a fork (so that steam can escape during baking and the potato doesn't explode). Roll the potatoes in the olive oil and sprinkle them with salt. Bake the potatoes for about 1 1/2 hours. To test for doneness, gently squeeze the potatoes' sides; they should yield nicely to the touch. Remove the potatoes from oven and let them rest for 5 minutes. Do not turn the oven off.

Cut each potato in half. Using a large spoon, scoop out the insides of the potato halves, leaving enough flesh on the skin so the shell remains intact. Set the potato shells aside. Put the scooped-out potato in a large bowl.

Add the sour cream, butter, and salt and pepper to the bowl, and mash with a fork until the potato filling is combined and smooth. Fold in the pork and 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Spoon the mixture into the potato shells, and place them on a large baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until thoroughly warmed through.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, top with the remaining 4 teaspoons cheese and the green onions and sour cream and serve immediately.

Serving Size

Makes 4 main courses or 8 side-dish servings.

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