We LOVE the 50 nifty United States of this awesome country and believe each state is special. Every Monday we feature a sandwich unique to its state as part of our “50 Sandwiches, 50 States, 50 Weeks” series beginning with Alabama and ending with Wyoming.
There are many things in life I can say make me happy on a daily basis, but if there is one little item I can single out, it’s spending the day smoking a large hunk of meat on my Weber charcoal grill. The smell of the fire and wood, the challenge of maintaining the heat against the elements and of course, the the wonderful end product to enjoy with family and friends.
So when our 50 sandwiches from 50 states tour brought us to Kansas, I was delighted to see that beef brisket was on the menu! The sandwich that we chose to spotlight is a menu staple known as the Z-Man from a popular BBQ joint in Kansas City, KS know as Oklahoma Joe’s. Slow smoked brisket, topped with BBQ sauce, melted provolone cheese and 2 homemade crispy fried onion rings on a toasted kaiser bun…….can you go wrong? Especially when you pair such an amazing sandwich with delicious sides like Quinoa, Couscous, and Giardiniera Salad, Mexican Bean Salad, or Rocking Ro-Tel Guacamole.
So let’s dive into this tackling the largest part of this sandwich……smoking the brisket. If charcoal smoking isn’t in the cards for you to take on, you can always roast the meat in the oven or get a smaller cut (3 pounds of flat cut brisket) and place in the crock pot with a little liquid and cook for 8 hours.
For this recipe, we’ll head right to the grill! I know it’s a ton of meat, but for best results with this, I always smoke the “whole packer” or entire beef brisket, which will be about 14-15 lbs before you cook it. Rub it down with rub mix the night before, wrap in plastic and let it sit in the fridge overnight to ensure that your spices absorb into the meat.
The next day, get the meat out on the counter and let it come to room temperature. Meanwhile, set up you grill for indirect cooking (coals on one side, drip pan on the other). For me, a double handful of charcoal will get me to the 250 degrees that I like to smoke at. Everybody smokes at different temperatures; I like 250- it gets the job done for me. Once your coals are hot (ashed over) place some water in your drip pan, put the grate back on and place the brisket over the drip pan, on the side of the grill opposite the coal. Add a chunk of your favorite smoking wood…I used hickory for this as it’s said to be the primary wood used in KS…after it’s been soaked in water for a good 30 minutes. Cover and starting smoking. To maintain your temperature as best as possible, I come out every 30 minutes, knock the coals down and add 5 or 6 briquets to the fire; add more smoking wood every few hours.
For a brisket this size, you’re looking at dedicating 10-12 hours of your day to get it done…. but it’s so worth it in the end as it feeds quite a few people and is a great opportunity to have some folks over and feast. I like to pull the meat from the grill when it reaches 180 degrees; bring it inside, cover with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes before carving. As a little trick, you might want to cover the meat with foil when it reaches 160 degrees and then place it back on the grill to avoid the dreaded “stall” in temperature….more on that another day! Right now, enjoy this awesome sandwich from the state of Kansas!
- 14-15 pound full "whole packer" beef brisket
- Deli sliced provolone cheese (12-14 slices)
- Kaiser rolls (12-14)
- Butter, softened to room temp
- 3 Tbsps. paprika
- 2 Tbsps. each black pepper, garlic powder, salt
- 2 cups ketchup
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 tsp. each salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, chili powder
- 1 large, sweet onion, sliced into rings
- 3 cups flour, more for dusting
- 2 cans beer
- 3 Tbsps. sugar
- 1½ tsps. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- Oil for frying
- The night before cooking, rub brisket with rub mix, wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator.
- On the morning of cooking, remove brisket from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature
- Prepare charcoal grill for indirect cooking as detailed in the post above. Place brisket on grill and cook for 10-12 hours until internal thermometer reaches 180 degrees. Maintain a temperature of 250 degrees as instructed in the post. Once meat reaches a temperature of 180. remove from grill. cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes, then slice.
- While the meat is cooking, make the BBQ sauce by combining all BBQ sauce ingredients together in a bowl and mixing smooth. Cover and refrigerate.
- About 10-15 minutes PRIOR to removing the brisket from the grill, begin preparing the onion rings: slice onion(s), prepare batter, and heat oil for frying (see recipe below).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread butter on Kaiser rolls and toast in the oven on a baking sheet buttered side up until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside. You may also broil them for about 2-3 minutes or toast in a large frying pan on medium heat.
- The brisket should now be resting, tented in foil. Begin frying the onion rings in batches (see recipe below) for about 8-10 minutes per bath. When crispy, golden transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle a little salt while still hot.
- Turn oven broiler on and begin slicing the brisket in thin strips. Place a heaping amount of sliced brisket on each toasted roll bottom then top with a slice of provolone cheese. Broil in oven for 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese.
- Slater in BBQ sauce and top with 2 crispy onion rings and serve.
- Whisk flour and beer together in a large bowl until smooth batter forms
- Add remaining ingredients (except the oil) and mix well
- Place onion slices in a bowl and dust with flour
- Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep pot on the stove on medium heat.
- Once oil is ready, take small batches of the floured onion slices and place in the batter bowl; coat well.
- Take battered onions and place in hot oil and fry until golden brown. Remove and transfer to a plated lined with paper towels.