Brisket tacos? Taco Tuesday never sounded so amazing! I swear, once you go here, you may never, ever want to go back to ground beef/turkey/chicken tacos again. Not ever.
Because frankly, these brisket tacos are completely out of sight! Crock-potted overnight, a perfectly cooked to fall-apart tenderness 3-pound beef brisket pulled me out of bed last Friday morning easier than a freshly brewed pot of hot coffee and a box of donuts. We had one of my work friends for dinner with his family on Friday night and I was all about minimizing the amount of cooking for this dinner.
I’m usually of the mindset that more is better but I’m starting to recognize that I feel so overwhelmed about entertaining because of this and that having friends for dinner is sometimes just too much work. So this time around, I simplified everything.
Case in point: these brisket tacos. Brisket is always better when it has some time to chill before serving so flavors can meld, making it a stellar dish for entertaining. I added a quick cabbage slaw which not only added a fresh pop of flavor to the brisket, but the bright purple really set off the meal’s color palate. I whipped up some refried black beans right before everyone arrived, dropped a little shredded sharp cheddar and sour cream into dishes for toppings, and quickly gas stove-charred the tortillas right before we sat down. The whole meal couldn’t have been easier!
Look, I’ve never met a person who didn’t like tacos and these brisket tacos will completely elevate your entertaining game. Don’t be afraid to make your life a little easier and show off what you’ve got with them!
- Prep Time: 3hrs 20min (includes chill time after cooking)
- Cook Time: 10hrs
- Yield: 6-8 servings
Brisket is always better when made a day in advance to allow the flavors to meld. To make this more manageable, cook the brisket in the crock pot overnight and wake up with your stomach growling from the smell of the slow-cooked brisket. Chill in the fridge for the entire day, reheat later, and bam! Brisket tacos for dinner at night!
For the brisket:
3 lbs beef brisket
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups water
1 (14 ½-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
1 to 2 whole canned chipotle chiles en adobo (optional)
2 bay leaves
¼ cup molasses
Large stack of 6-inch tortillas
Shredded cheddar, jack, or pepper jack
Pat the beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil to just about smoking in a large skillet and brown both sides of the brisket, about 5 minutes per side. Add the brisket to the crock pot. Leave the drippings in the pan.
Add the onions, garlic, chili powder, coriander, and cumin to the hot pan and cook for about 1 minute. Add in the vinegar, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir the water into the mixture and then transfer the entire mixture to the crock pot. Dump the tomatoes over the beef, breaking them up with your fingers before stirring them into the onion mixture along with the chipotle chilies (if using), bay leaves, and molasses.
Cover and cook for 10 hours on low heat. This is where starting the recipe at night comes in really handy. When you awake in the morning, the brisket will be ready. However, proceed as follows regardless of what time of day you make the brisket.
Carefully transfer the brisket from the crock pot to a large bowl. Cool until warm to the touch and then cover tightly plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. Strain off the vegetables and discard. Allow the liquid to cool slightly and then refrigerate at the same time as the brisket until the top layer of fat has formed above the liquid.
When ready to serve, spoon off and discard the layer of fat from the liquid then simmer the juices until reduced by about two-thirds. Warm the brisket for 1 minute in the microwave and then shred with two forks (it’s easier to shred when warmed a little). Transfer the brisket to a Dutch oven and pour the juice over the shredded brisket. Reheat over low heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve hot with suggested or your own favorite toppings.
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
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