Bubby Brisket Sandwich with Bacon Bleu Coleslaw

This week's recipe is a throwback snack in honor of the decades-old division rivalry between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. It's true, the Browns haven't served up much competition in, well, as long as I can remember - nonetheless, I was raised to despise Cleveland, like any good citizen of Steeler Nation. 

The Steelers continued to push ahead today, turning the corner after their 0-4 start. The matchup against the Cleveland Brownies brought five sacks, four turnovers (including two forced fumbles courtesy of Polamalu and a pick-six from William Gay) and even a punt from Big Ben - not to mention the sixth TD and 80th reception on the season for Antonio Brown (see below). 

A victory this big deserves an equally epic meal, and this recipe is an all-day event. I know the timing on this one may be inopportune with Turkey Day coming up on Thursday, but keep this recipe in your lineup, because it's a doozy.

Let's talk Bubby Brister - QB for the Black & Gold from 1986-1992 and the last QB of the Chuck Knoll era. Brister holds the record for the longest touchdown pass in Three Rivers Stadium History - 89 yards to Louie Lipps against the Philadelphia Eagles. He went on to play for a number of teams during his 15-year career in the NFL, including the Eagles, Jets and Vikings, and won his two Super Bowl rings as back-up to John Elway during his time with the Broncos. 

I like to think that Bubby, a Louisiana-native, would enjoy this southern snack - a slow-cooked, pulled brisket sandwich with homemade barbecue sauce and bacon bleu coleslaw. Perfect for game day. 

Bubby Brisket Sandwich with Bacon Bleu Coleslaw
Recipe adapted from Bon App├ętit 

For the rub
1/8 cup smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the sauce
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus 2 tbsp sauce
6 oz tomato paste
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp pineapple juice
2 tbsp rub

For the brisket
2-3 lb brisket
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt

For the coleslaw
8 oz packaged coleslaw
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp honey
4 strips bacon
1/2 cup bleu cheese

Combine rub ingredients in a bowl. Place brisket on baking sheet and cover all sides with rub, reserving 2 tbsp of rub for sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside. 

Combine sauce ingredients in sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk together and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low, whisking frequently, for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Pan-sear brisket for 3 minutes per side in skillet. Remove and place in roasting pan. 

Combine braising ingredients (brown sugar, beef broth, apple cider vinegar, celery, onion, garlic and salt) in a bowl. Pour over brisket in roasting pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and slow-cook for 2 hours. Remove from oven, turn brisket over, re-cover with foil, then cook for another hour and a half. Remove from oven, uncover and cool for up to an hour. 

Cook bacon in skillet on stovetop. Place bacon on paper towel-lined plate. Combine mayonnaise, honey and red wine vinegar in a large bowl. Stir in coleslaw, bleu cheese. Crumble bacon on top and stir. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Remove brisket from roasting pan and pull apart with fork and knife on cutting board. Transfer braising liquid from roasting pan to food processor. Add 1 1/4 cups barbecue sauce to food processor and pulse until combined. Add pulled brisket and sauce from food processor to a large stock pot over medium-low heat. Stir and bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Serve on rolls with coleslaw. 

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