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Shredded Brisket Tacos with Chipotle Dressing

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 30 tacos (6 cups of filling)

Servings: 10

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

Nutritional Information

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


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.

Serve with Jícama Slaw with Carrots and Red Peppers.

Beefy Chelada Cocktails


Rate or Review

Reviews (9 reviews)

  • Krispie | 02/24/2018

    This was excellent and super easy. I would so make this for company - especially a large casual group or families with children. My entire family loved it. It’s on my menu for next month for sure!!!!

  • Casserola | 03/15/2013

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

  • User avater
    alliwalli | 10/28/2012

    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.

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