Oven barbecued brisket havarti sandwiches: where tender, fall-apart, slow roasted brisket meets melted havarti cheese, slaw, and a KILLER bacon bbq sauce. This sandwich will blow your mind.
Can we take a minute to talk about cooking for company? Admittedly, with my family living out of town, we’re not used to having company very often. I’ve talked lots about cooking for my parents when they visited and my love for cooking and baking with my mom but I’m not really used to cooking for others.
And since Riley has come home with us, we’ve had an exponential increase in the number of visitors who I, of course, feel compelled to cook for. And let me tell you, with a new baby in the house, this hasn’t been easy!
So I’ve turned to easy recipes using the crock pot, our new favorite baked ziti, and an insanely delicious brisket I made last week. The brisket was a splurge but my cowboy uncle from Montana was visiting with my mom and brother for the day and I wanted to make something I knew he’d love (read: beef).
The brisket was also incredibly easy to make! Dry rubbed, wrapped in bacon – yes, WRAPPED. IN. BACON. – and then slow cooked in the oven for 4 hours, I barely had to lift a finger to make it. These days, that’s my kind of recipe!
If you’ve never had brisket, I’m here to tell you that it’s unlike any other cut of beef you’ve ever had. After the low and slow cook in the oven, the brisket ends up fall-apart tender and SO full of flavor. It’s literally falling apart as you’re picking it up with your fork.
The last, but certainly not least, thing to mention about this oven barbecued brisket and what truly and completely makes this brisket so incredible is the bacon bbq sauce that goes with it.
Oh no no no! We don’t toss all that bacon after the brisket has finished cooking!
We use it IN the bbq sauce here! Chopped up finely and cooked down with onions and all of the leftover pan juices from the brisket, the bacon adds a ton of smoky flavor to the bbq sauce. It’s an outstanding addition to the already perfect brisket and you’re going to want to just slather it all over everything.
OK, now onto these brisket havarti sandwiches. Can we just take that in for a second? Ah yes…
We ate most of the brisket the night I made it with fresh corn on the cob, coleslaw, and potato salad. The leftovers? They went to these brisket havarti sandwiches.
Ooey, gooey melted havarti cheese all over hot brisket on a brioche bun with slaw and so much of that to-die-for bacon bbq sauce. These brisket havarti sandwiches just blew us away!! They’re pretty much the very best way to use up the leftover oven barbecued brisket – if you have any! – and because these sandwiches were such a huge hit with us, I’m going to urge you to make a bigger brisket than you think you may need. You’re going to want plenty of brisket for these sandwiches, especially if you eat the brisket with sides first like we did or if you plan to feed a crowd with it.
Cooking for company doesn’t have to be difficult or laborious. Just let this oven barbecued brisket be your savior in the kitchen!
- Prep Time: 15min
- Cook Time: 4hrs 35min
- Yield: 8 sandwiches
I’m giving you a weight range for the bacon on the ingredient list because the weight varies based on which brand of bacon you buy. The original recipe calls for 1 pound of bacon but we buy Applegate bacon which comes in 7-ounce packages. Two packages (14 oz total) was more than enough bacon to cover a 4 ½-pound brisket. You’ll need more bacon for a large cut of brisket.
For the rub:
1 ½ tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 ½ tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 to ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (adjust according to your heat preference)
For the brisket:
4 to 5 lbs flat-cut beef brisket (fat layer trimmed to ¼-inch thick)
12 to 16 oz bacon
For the bacon bbq sauce:
Reserved bacon and pan juices from the cooked brisket
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
Reduced-sodium chicken broth, as needed
1/2 cup ketchup
For the sandwiches:
8 brioche or potato buns
8 slices of deli havarti cheese or about 6 oz havarti from a package, sliced (like a package for a cheese board)
2 cups coleslaw
Bacon bbq sauce (recipe above)
To make the brisket: Preheat oven to 275° F with a rack in the upper third position of the oven.
Mix all of the rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the rub evenly over both sides and the ends of the brisket and pat it in with your hands.
Lay half of the bacon out in a 13×9-inch perpendicular to the long side of the pan. You may need to overlap the slices a little in order to fit it all in the pan. Place the brisket, fat side down, on top of the bacon and lay the remaining bacon over the brisket in the same direction as the first half of the bacon, tucking the ends around the edges of the brisket. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.
Cook for 4 hours. Turn off the oven and remove the pan from the oven. Carefully flip the brisket over. The bacon will probably slide off but don’t worry about it at this point – just leave it all in the pan. Re-cover with foil and return the pan to the OFF oven for 1 more hour.
To make the bbq sauce: Transfer the brisket to a platter or cutting board and tent it with foil. Using a slotted spoon, scoop all of the bacon out of the pan and onto a large cutting board.
Pour off all of the juices from the pan into a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Once the fat rises to the top, skim it off and discard, leaving only the juices in the cup. You should be left with around 3 cups but if you don’t have that much, add as much chicken broth as is needed to increase the liquid amount to 3 cups.
Finely chop the bacon and add it to a large skillet. Cook the bacon over medium-high heat, stirring often, until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until they start to soften. Off the heat, stir in the vinegar and brown sugar.
Return the skillet to medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Whisk the pan juices into the skillet and allow the sauce to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until it has reduced and thickened. Stir frequently towards the end so it doesn’t burn. Stir in the ketchup, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for a final 5 minutes.
Towards the end of the sauce simmer time, preheat the broiler with a rack placed in the second position down from the broiler unit.
Return the brisket to the pan and brush 1 cup of the bbq sauce over the top. Slip the pan under the broiler and broil until the fat starts to brown and get crispy in spots. Slice into ½-inch slices against the grain.
Keep the broiler on.
To make the sandwiches: Slice the buns open and place the bottom halves on a large baking sheet. Spread about a tablespoon or so of bbq sauce on each bottom half. Top with some brisket and then divide the cheese between the sandwiches.
Slip the pan under the broiler to melt the cheese.
Top the cheese with some coleslaw. Spread remaining bbq sauce on the top half of the buns and close up the sandwiches. Serve while still hot with lots of napkins for messy hands!
Smells Like Home original | brisket and bbq sauce adapted from Cook’s Illustrated via Spicy Southern Kitchen