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Shredded Brisket Tacos with Chipotle Dressing


serves 10

Yields about 30 tacos (6 cups of filling)

  • Make the menu:
    Taco Night
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 112

This luscious, spicy taco filling is based on salpicon, a shredded or chopped cold beef salad popular in Tex-Mex cuisine.

For the brisket
  • 4 lb. trimmed beef brisket, preferably the flat half
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 serrano chiles, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
For the chipotle dressing
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 7-oz. can chipotles in adobo
To serve the tacos
  • 30 6-inch fresh corn tortillas, preferably homemade
  • Toppings of your choice, such as: sliced avocado or guacamole, chopped ripe tomatoes, shredded iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, crumbled queso fresco, small sprigs of fresh cilantro, chopped fresh or pickled jalapeños
Cook the brisket

Put the brisket ingredients in a 6-quart Dutch oven and cover with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and partially cover. Simmer until the meat is falling-apart tender,about 4 hours. Add hot water as needed during cooking to keep the meat submerged.

Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle. Reserve the cooking liquid. Scrape away and discard any fat from the brisket. Using your fingers or two forks, tease the meat into shreds. Cut the shreds crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the meat to a medium mixing bowl and moisten with 1/2 cup of the reserved broth. Save the remaining broth for another use (such as the Beefy Chelada Cocktail.)

Make the dressing

In a blender, pulse the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, 2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper until mixed. Drain the canned chipotles, pouring all of the adobo sauce into the blender. Add chipotles to taste and purée the dressing. (One chipotle will give the dressing a little heat, two or three will produce a medium-hot dressing, four or more will make a fiery dressing.) Chop any remaining chipotles and serve them on the side, if you like.

Add just enough of the dressing to the shredded beef to moisten it. Cover the bowl and chill it in the refrigerator for an hour or so.

To serve

After chilling, the dressing will have pooled in the bottom of the bowl; toss to redistribute. Transfer the meat to a serving bowl or platter and drizzle with a little more dressing. Serve cold, as is customary, at room temperature, or warm with the fresh tortillas, letting guests assemble their own tacos with the toppings of their choice. (You won’t need all of the dressing—serve the remainder on the side.)

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the beef brisket filling and the sauce up to five days ahead and refrigerate in airtight containers.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Jícama Slaw with Carrots and Red Peppers.

Drink Suggestions

Beefy Chelada Cocktails

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : per 3 tacos (without toppings), Calories (kcal): 690, Fat (kcal): 33, Fat Calories (g): 290, Saturated Fat (g): 10, Protein (g): 40, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15, Carbohydrates (mg): 63, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 3, Sodium (g): 755, Cholesterol (g): 5, Fiber (g): 7,

Photo: Scott Phillips

FANTASTIC!!! Tripled for a large party along with the Grilled Vegetable Tacos (also delicious). Definitely recommend.

Delicious! However, I wouldn't say it serves 10. I served 6 adults who licked their plates clean. In the future I will increase the recipe for a group.

This was so deliscious! A definite family favorite and will be sure to make the next time I entertain. Ths recipe was very easy - I will try the slow-cooker next time! Highly recomended!

This was so deliscious! A definite family favorite and will be sure to make the next time I entertain. Ths recipe was very easy - I will try the slow-cooker next time! Highly recomended!

A favorite at our house now! I do this recipe in the slow cooker, and I make a quick version of the sauce with the chipotle & lime mixed with sour cream. Fast, healthy, fantastic every time!

This was delicious - like Chipotle at home. We used a 2 lb brisket, used about 7 cups of water, and cooked it in the slow cooker for 10 hours. We shredded the meat and served it warm in corn tortillas. I used 2 chipotle peppers for a medium heat dressing, which we drizzled over the tacos and topped with tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and cojito cheese.

This was great! I love how easy it was. I cooked the brisket in my pressure cooker so I was able to have a cool kitchen. Since I didn't use as much water to cook the meat, I didn't add the water to the shredded beef (too greasy). I did use all the sauce in the meat. So good!

Hi, I made this and the sauce was great. I love fine cooking because the recipes always turn out perfectly (if you follow them perfectly!:)) I plan on making everything from 'taco night' for my friends and family soon. My only question is about the cooking of the beef: Why is this not browned first? Would that make a difference? Thank you again- I truly love fine cooking!!

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