Give Your Breakfast Sandwiches A Smoky Twist With Brisket

The much-loved modern breakfast sandwich has come a long way since a McDonald's franchise store in Southern California introduced the first Egg McMuffin. Breakfast in America suddenly became fast food, and it's surprisingly stayed much the same since that fateful day in the 1970s. Variations do exist, such as adding vegetables or sauces, piling the goods atop a crispy flatbread, or tucking the bacon or ham into a croissant or bagel instead of an English muffin. But it's a pretty big stretch to imagine a serious meat upgrade like smoked barbecue brisket.

That doesn't mean a brisket breakfast sandwich isn't delicious –– it most definitely is. Some claim that smoked brisket is also more convenient because the breakfast chef is likely using leftover brisket from the weekend barbecue or a local smokehouse. It may be hard to imagine your favorite handheld breakfast cradling anything other than a scrambled or fried egg, melted cheese, bacon, ham, or maybe a slight slip-in or two. But as the saying goes, don't knock it 'til you've chomped on it. Especially if that smoky brisket hooks up with some spicy chipotle barbecue sauce. 

Compiling a smoky brisket twist for breakfast

Thinking outside the feed box is what this kind of breakfast is all about. The earthy, smoky flavor of well-cut and well-cooked beef brisket complements many breakfast sandwich components, including the must-have eggs and layers of creamy cheese. But from there, just about anything goes — starting with the bread.

Brisket comes from what's considered the tougher cuts of beef, such as the pectoral muscles or lower breast portions of the bovine, which is almost always a cow. So, it's a hearty piece of meat heading for your morning sandwich. That means you'll want to pair it with a chunky type of bread, ideally perching it atop something like a thick slice of Texas toast, country bread, or even something softer like a brioche bun. For more support, you could even place two slices of bread beneath the brisket and toppings, kind of like a double-decker French-style tartine.   

Eggs in any breakfast sandwich, including ones made with smoked brisket meat, are easier to handle if they're in one piece, whether it's a standard fried egg, over-easy, or a scrambled patty. Matching cheese with the taste of the meat, especially for morning consumption, might be challenging. But a riot of flavor will already be on the menu and on your tastebuds, so step boldly into the experience. Cheddar is a given, melted over the hot brisket and eggs, but try other less-obvious cheeses such as Havarti, Gruyere, Monterey or pepper jack, or even pimiento.

Spicing up a brisket breakfast sandwich

Then there's the option to spice things up a bit. Brisket for breakfast is not for timid tongues, so embrace the new day with the heat of a rich, flavorful sauce. Specifically, you'll want to try a chipotle barbecue sauce. We're definitely not talking about a breakfast sandwich or sauce packet from the Chipotle chain of fresh-Mex eateries. A genuine chipotle sauce comes from the pepper that defines it. Chipotle peppers, believe it or not, are none other than a grownup, dried version of a perky young jalapeño. 

As a jalapeño ages, whether on or off the plant, its green pigment turns red, deepening in flavor, color, juiciness, sweetness, and spiciness the longer it matures. To become a chipotle, it's dried and smoked –– and that sharper, deeper, spicy smoked goodness defines any sauce made with the peppers. Adding the sauce to a brisket breakfast sandwich is a pretty perfect pairing, along with some pepper jack cheese, cilantro, and scrambled eggs. 

Another more common breakfast treat is the much-loved huevos rancheros, which traditionally contains no meat. But traditions evolve, so don't be afraid to transform yours into a smoky delight. Simply grab a warm tortilla and roll in some spicy brisket, eggs, peppers, beans, and whatever else strikes your fancy. Wrap it like a burrito, and never look back.