This barbecue brisket is inspired by my mom's brisket, which is a classic Jewish-style red-wine-braised situation. The sauce combines flavors from my favorite barbecue sauce (heavy on the sweetness!) and my mom's braise, whose acidity balances the sweetness for a next-level sandwich. The caraway in the coleslaw is a nod to the caraway-flecked rye bread that's a staple at Jewish delis and I just love the woodsy depth that it lends.
For the BBQ sauce: Add the ketchup, wine, tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne to the pot of a multi-cooker or slow cooker.
For the brisket: Season the brisket with the salt and some pepper and add to the pot with the BBQ sauce, coating the brisket in the sauce. Cook until tender, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on slow cook for 8 to 10 hours.
While the brisket is cooking, prepare the coleslaw.
For the caraway coleslaw: Toss together the green and red cabbage with 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and massage to soften; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, mustard, caraway, 1/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Pour over the cabbage mixture, add the carrots and onions and toss to combine. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
When the brisket is tender, remove it from the pot and rest the meat for 10 minutes. Cut slices against the grain.
While the meat is resting, reduce the sauce. If you are using a multi-cooker, set to simmer for about 10 minutes to thicken. If you are using a slow cooker, remove the sauce to a small saucepot and reduce until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Slice the buns, toast them and spread some of the BBQ sauce on each slice. Top with the sliced brisket and coleslaw.
Pretzel Challah Buns:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt. Whisk to combine. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the warm water, oil and 2 of the eggs. Beat to mix and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir to form a dough. Knead either in the stand mixer or by hand on a floured surface, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, until smooth and just slightly sticky, 7 to 10 minutes. Grease the inside of a large clean bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.
While the dough is rising, bake the baking soda. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Spread the baking soda out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Let it cool and set it aside (even though the baked baking soda isn't as strong as lye, it could potentially irritate your skin, so avoid touching it once it's out of the oven).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Split the dough into 8 equal portions and keep it covered when you're not working with it. Working with one piece of dough at a time, stretch it into a ball by tucking the top surface under and pinching to seal, then place it on a baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough pieces, placing them 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 20 more minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Place the baked baking soda in a large bowl or casserole dish and add 2 cups (472 grams) of water. Stir it to dissolve the baking soda. (I've never been able to get all of it to dissolve, so a few baking soda chunks are totally ok as long as they don't stick to the dough.)
Whisk together the remaining egg with a splash of water for the egg wash; set aside. Using gloved hands or tongs and working in batches, immerse the rolls in the baking soda bath for about 2 minutes on both sides. Pat them dry with a paper towel and place them back on the baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse pretzel salt. Cut 2 shallow slits in an X shape on top and bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes.