Pulled Beef Cheek in Bao Buns (Fluffy Buns Filled With Beef)

Have tried these fluffy white cloud known as boa buns?

When you stuff them full of pulled beef cheek, you know your going to be for AN EPIC meal!

We like to top like tacos!

We put all our favorites toppings on the table and let the kids go wild!

You don’t want to dry out the pulled beef so make sure you follow my steps on how to do it below!

What Are Bao Buns?

Bao buns or steamed buns are fluffy sweet white bread dough bundles, steamed to cook through.

They are often stuffed with a savory filling like meats, vegetables, or pork.

What’s the Difference Between Bao Buns and Dumplings?

Bao buns tend to be steamed, whereas dumplings are boiled or fried.

Dumplings are also much smaller in size.

Bao buns use a fermented yeast dough, while dumplings use unfermented.

So bao buns tend to rise more and handled less.

What’s the Best Beef for Pulled Beef?

When it comes to making pulled beef you can turn to the cheaper cuts like a piece of brisket, chuck roast, or skirt.  

The low and slow style of cooking will give you great tender beef regardless of the style of cut.

So save yourself a few dollars and head towards the cheaper end of the meat section.

Where to Get Bao Buns

You can either buy bao buns at the supermarket or make fresh.

Most Asian supermarkets have them in the freezer section.

If you want to make them follow the recipe below.

However we find it easier to just buy them.

How to Make Steamed Bao Buns?

Steamed bao buns are a lot simpler than they look.

The most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a steamer.  

Other than that, it’s a pretty basic bread dough recipe. 

Just remember not to over-proof the dough for the second round. 

About 20 minutes at room temperature is all that’s needed.

Can I Store Bao Buns?

If you are wanting to store your buns, it’s best to steam them first and then let them cool down completely.

Place the buns on a baking tray and place them in the freezer for an hour to harden up.

Once the outside has hardened, place them in an air-tight container or zip lock bag for final storage.

They can last for up to 3 months in the freezer.  

When you want to serve them, allow them to defrost then steam for 3-4 minutes and they are ready to go.

Toppings for Pulled Beef Bao Buns

  • Green Onion
  • Chopped Peanuts
  • Cilantro
  • Julianne Carrots
  • Picked Onions

What You Need for Pulled Beef Bao Buns

  • Beef
  • Beef stock
  • Brown sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic cloves,
  • Onions
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Ginger
  • Bao Buns ( you can buy these frozen or make fresh, see the recipe below)

Pulled Beef and Bao Bun Recipe

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 1kg brisket beef
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 300ml of beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 onions, sliced 
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated  

 For the Buns:

  • 3 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1¼ cup (300ml) milk
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

Method:

For the Beef Filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Generously season the meat with salt and pepper, covering all sides.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet large enough to fit the roast.  Brown of the sides over high heat.  Transfer to an ovenproof dish with a lid.
  4. In the same skillet, saute the onions and garlic until soft (2-3 minutes).
  5. Add the onions and garlic to the meat in the ovenproof dish. Add the remaining ingredients (stock, sugar, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, and ginger).
  6. Cover the dish with the lid.  Place in the oven for 3-4 hours cooking time, until the beef is tender.  Turn over every hour while cooking.
  7. Remove from the dish when cooked and allow to cool. 
  8. On a clean cutting board shred the beef with a fork.  
  9. Place back in the oven dish and cook for another 15-20 minutes. This allows the shredded beef to absorb the sauce flavors.

For the Buns:

  1. Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the milk and oil and whisk to form a dough.
  3. Knead the dough for 7-8 minutes on a lightly floured surface.  Don’t overwork the dough or it can become tough.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with cling film and leave for about an hour.  The dough should rise to double its size.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, turn out.
  6. Punch the dough for about 1-2 minutes to release any air bubbles.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.
  8. Use a glass or cookie cutter to cut an identical-sized piece of dough, ideally around 9cm in size.
  9. Roll the dough balls into a flat oval shape.  Brush with a light coating of oil and fold in half so it looks like a clam or taco shape.  The oil prevents it from sticking to itself.
  10. Cut baking or parchment paper into squares large enough for the buns to sit.  Lay the uncooked dough on the paper, then onto a baking tray.
  11. The buns will rise quickly here, so place them in the refrigerator if you don’t want to use them straight away.  Otherwise, cover with a clean tea towel or cling film and let sit for 20-25 minutes to proof.
  12. To cook the buns, place a large steamer over a saucepan of boiling water.
  13. Place the buns, on the paper squares, and steam for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and leave for another 3-5 minutes.

To Assemble:

Fill the boa buns the beef and some freshly chopped spring onion and serve immediately.

See below for some more ideas for toppings.

Pulled Beef and Bao Bun Recipe

When you stuff buns full of pulled beef cheek, you know your going to be for AN EPIC meal!
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time3 hrs 45 mins
Total Time4 hrs 45 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, main, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, dinner, grill, lunch
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 450kcal
Cost: 20

Equipment

  • steamer

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 1 kg brisket beef
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 300 ml of beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ginger grated

For the Buns:

  • 3 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cup 300ml milk
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

Instructions

For the Beef Filling:

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Generously season the meat with salt and pepper, covering all sides.
  • Heat oil in a skillet large enough to fit the roast.
  • Brown of the sides over high heat.
  • Transfer to an ovenproof dish with a lid.
  • In the same skillet, saute the onions and garlic until soft (2-3 minutes).
  • Add the onions and garlic to the meat in the ovenproof dish.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (stock, sugar, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, and ginger).
  • Cover the dish with the lid.
  • Place in the oven for 3-4 hours cooking time, until the beef is tender.
  • Turn over every hour while cooking.
  • Remove from the dish when cooked and allow to cool.
  • On a clean cutting board shred the beef with a fork.
  • Place back in the oven dish and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

For the Buns:

  • Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the milk and oil and whisk to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough for 7-8 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl.
  • Cover with cling film and leave for about an hour.  The dough should rise to double its size.
  • Punch the dough for about 1-2 minutes to release any air bubbles.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.
  • Use a glass or cookie cutter to cut an identical-sized piece of dough, ideally around 9cm in size.
  • Roll the dough balls into a flat oval shape.
  • Brush with a light coating of oil and fold in half so it looks like a clam or taco shape.
  • Cut baking or parchment paper into squares large enough for the buns to sit.
  • Lay the uncooked dough on the paper, then onto a baking tray.
  • Cover with a clean tea towel or cling film and let sit for 20-25 minutes to proof.
  • To cook the buns, place a large steamer over a saucepan of boiling water.
  • Place the buns, on the paper squares, and steam for 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and leave for another 3-5 minutes.

Why not try bao buns next time you have the urge to make a burger?

It’s an interesting twist on the basic hamburger, and a great way to use leftover pulled beef!

Smoke On!

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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