Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beef Brisket Tacos: It's Okay To Drool

Good evening everyone! A few weeks ago, Maggie and I made a stop at the Mexican restaurant franchise "On The Border". I gave their brisket tacos a try and was very pleased with the delectable morsel they placed in front of me. Of course, when you combine brisket and barbeque sauce you're almost always guaranteed a successful dish. That got me inspired to cook up my own version of brisket tacos. I had a barbeque sauce recipe that was sitting around begging to be used - so tonight seemed like a great opportunity to break it out. I should note, this recipe is not an attempt to recreate the On The Border version, rather it's a brand new creation simply inspired by my first encounter with this dish. Let's get cooking!

The Recipe: Brisket Tacos
An Out Of The Culinary Original Creation

What You'll Need:
(Serves 4-6)

2.5 - 3 Pounds Beef Brisket
3 Cups Low Sodium Beef Broth
3 Cloves Garlic
12 Ounces Prepared Onion Fries / Strings (AKA Fried onions) 

Memphis Style BBQ Sauce
Original Recipe From: Food Network Magazine July 2012 Issue

What You'll Need:

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Chopped White Onion
2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
3 Cups Ketchup (Store brand - go as cheap as you can find)
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Dark Brown Sugar (Packed)
1/4 Steak Sauce (Brand of your choice)
1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tablespoons Molasses (Dark)
3 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Celery Seed
1 1/2 Teaspoons Liquid Smoke

We've perfected two barbeque sauce recipes on the blog so far. One was an Out of the Culinary original, the other was based on a sauce my mom makes. With two well established and tested sauce recipes, why are we trying a new one? Well, what's life with out a little adventure, right? This Memphis style BBQ is thick and suited for serving amongst beef and shredded meat - it's built to be used in a dish like this. Who knows, if this sauce turns out fantastic, we might have a trio of perfect BBQ sauce recipes on our hands!

Begin preparing your brisket by seasoning the top side with salt and pepper (you can ignore the bottom half of the brisket as that contains a thick "fat cap" that seasoning won't really impact). Place the brisket in a 4 quart slow cooker and toss in the garlic cloves (they can be whole) and add the 3 cups of beef broth ( you want the brisket to be covered by the liquid - the quantity of broth may have to be adjusted based on the size of your brisket and slow cooker). Set your slow cooker to low, cover and allow the brisket to slow roast for 6 to 8 hours.

While your brisket is cooking, begin constructing your BBQ sauce. In a medium sized saucepan, add the vegetable oil and warm over medium high heat until the oil begins to shimmer slightly. Add the onion and garlic and allow the onions to cook until they become slightly translucent. This takes about 5 minutes.

Next, add all of the remaining ingredients (seriously - all of them) and stir well. Bring this mixture to a boil before reducing the temperature to medium low and allowing the mixture to simmer. Let this sauce cook for about 15 minutes or until the onions have cooked through.

Pour the sauce through a mesh strainer to remove any large pieces and store in your refrigerator in an airtight jar or canister for 3-4 months.

Once your brisket has slow roasted all day, remove it from the slow cooker and transfer it into a large mixing bowl. (You may have to do this in sections as it's very likely that the brisket will be falling apart). Once all of the brisket is transferred, add in the BBQ you prepared earlier. The exact quantity is up to your personal preference. You can make the brisket be the star of the taco or simply slather it in sauce - the choice is yours and yours alone. If you want to add an extra bit of flavor to your brisket, add in a few splashes of the cooking liquid - that beefy flavor will add an extra layer of flavor to the sauce.

Serve up the brisket on a warm flour tortilla and top with the onion fries.

Now, you certainly can make these fries on your own at home, and we're usually the champions of making ingredients yourself, but there are times when it is just way more practical to use the ready made version. You can cut up an onion, make the batter, and fry the pieces to make your own onion strings or you can spend the $2 on a prepared container and simply add them at the end. Your call - but we (the cook-it-yourself happy chefs) opted to go premade.

Unless you despise onions, I'd encourage you to add them to the taco (don't omit them!) the fries add a nice texture contrast to the dish and create a great contrasting flavor from the beef brisket and BBQ sauce. It's an element that seems trivial on the surface, but is actually a large block of this dish's final flavor.

The Results:

Like I mentioned in the open, you really can't go wrong with BBQ beef brisket. It's a flavor pairing that was created in flavor heaven. The tortilla shell acts as a nice vessel to carry and meld all of the final flavors. I suppose adding the shell makes it a "taco" but this dish is Mexican in the way that Taco Bell is authentic Mexican cuisine; it has the elements, but lets not call it a cultural dish.

Region, naming or culture inspiration aside - you can't go wrong with this easy to prepare and flavorful dish. If you're too busy to cook at home most nights, this recipe is right up your alley. The sauce can be prepared ahead of time and the brisket is about as hands off as you can get. All in all a great recipe!

That's all we have for you this week. We're back next week with two brand new recipes and more culinary adventures. Until then,


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