I am not a vegetarian. I do not think that I can ever become one. However, I mostly eat a vegetarian diet. Many years ago, when most of my friends were going vegetarian, I decided that instead of never eating meat again, I would just cut down on my meat consumption. I also promised myself that I will only eat meat if it is out-of-this-world delicious or I have never had that particular cut before. This slow cooked beef brisket falls into the first category.
I usually make this dish when I have guests for dinner, especially because it is a great crowd pleaser. Not to mention, the slow cooker does most of the work. With that being said, it requires a little bit of planning in advance. If you time it right your main course will be ready when you are ready to serve.
This recipe has two steps. Firstly, sauté some onions with a little bit of salt and sugar and then stir in some tomato paste and flour to thicken. Let it cool for 10 minutes, pour it in an airtight container, and place it in the fridge. Secondly, prick the brisket in several places and rub it with a spice mixture made up of chili, onion, and garlic as well as a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then cover it tightly with stretch film and place it in the fridge to cure with all those delicious spices overnight.
In the morning, all you have to do is to place them in your slow cooker and cook for 9 to 10 hours in low-heat setting. At this point there are 2 things you need to know. First, it is okay if the edges of the meat sit above the liquid in your slow cooker, because as it cooks it will shrink and will become submerged. And secondly, after you take out the meat you will end up with a lot of liquid, which I think is the best part. Because after it is reduced on the stovetop it makes the best sauce.
Since we decided to have a picnic by the ocean, I served it in tacos mixed with black beans, guacamole, pickled red onions, limes, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro. I warmed up the corn tortillas and covered them with a clean kitchen towel (to preserve its freshness) right before we left home. I also placed all the condiments in small containers. Later, we assembled them together in our picnic spot. It was just the two of us, but I think next time I’ll make sure to invite some friends.
On a final note, below are some recipe links that you can use if you want to make your own condiments for these tacos:
Slow Cooked Beef Brisket Tacos
This Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Tacos Recipe requires little hands on time. Corn tortillas filled with slow cooked brisket, guacamole, pico de gallo and pickled red onion are out-of-this-world delicious.
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cook Time: 10 hours
- Total Time: 10 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 10-12 servings
- Category: Meat
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Mexican Cuisine
For the meat:
- 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 large onions, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press (or minced)
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium or homemade)
- 1+1 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 5lbs. flat-cut beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
For the tacos:
- 12 6-inch corn tortillas (homemade corn tortillas or supermarket-bought)
- 1 1/2 cups guacamole
- 1 cup cooked black beans (or a can of cooked black beans)
- 4 fresh tomatoes, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup red pickled onions
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or any other cheese you like)
- 2 fresh limes, sliced into wedges
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves, washed and dried
- Heat the oil in a large pan in medium-heat until it is shimmering. Add in the sliced onions, brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are wilted, 10-12 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the chicken broth and cook until it thickens, 4-5 minutes. Take it off the heat and add a tablespoon red wine vinegar. Let it cool for 10 minutes and place it in an airtight container. Keep it in the fridge overnight.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of the salt, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Prick the both sides of the beef brisket in several places (40-50 hits) using a fork. Rub the spice mixture all over the brisket. Cover it tightly with stretch film (or plastic wrap) and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning, take them out of the fridge. Spread half of the onion mixture in the bowl of your slow cooker. Add in the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Place the brisket (fat side up) on top. Spread the rest of the onion mixture on top of the brisket.
- Cover it with the lid. Set the slow cooker in low heat setting for 10-11 hours. You can also set it to high heat setting for 6-7 hours.
- Transfer the brisket on to a cutting board. At this point, you can either slice it or shred it using two forks (this is what I did). Place the meat onto a serving platter and cover it with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Transfer the leftover juices into a large skillet and stir in a tablespoon red wine vinegar. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until it is thickened to your liking.
- To assemble the tacos:
- * Do this only if you are using supermarket-bought corn tortillas. If you are making your own fresh ones, you can skip this step* Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread 5-6 corn tortillas on to a large baking sheet. Lightly spray them with oil. Heat 2 minutes on each side. Repeat the same process for more tortillas, depending on how many tacos you want to make.
- Make the tacos one at a time. Spread 2 tablespoons of the reduced sauce on top of a warm corn tortilla. Top it off with some of the shredded (or sliced) brisket. Garnish it with guacamole, black beans, chopped tomatoes, pickled red onions, shredded cheese, and sprinkle it with fresh cilantro leaves. If you prefer, you can drizzle more of the reduced-sauce on top. Continue with assembling rest of the tacos.
- Serve it immediately with fresh limes.
Recipe adapted (with changes) from Cook’s Country.