Not so long ago, I decided I would blog about the 10 dishes that shaped who I am.
It sounds a bit corny, but let me finish.
Growing up, I was a horrendously picky eater. My parents weren’t the parents who made me finish everything on my plate, but they also weren’t the parents who catered to their children. Night after night, we would sit down at the dinner table to find another glorious home-cooked meal. My brother and I were instructed to “no, thank you bites,” where we would try a nibble of every item on the plate. If we didn’t like it (which for me, almost always), we didn’t have to eat it. Mom was smart enough to give me a huge helping of something she knew I liked (“You know, you spent most of your childhood with potatoes up your nose”) so I didn’t go to bed starving.
One thing that I did love when I was a kid was the taco: ground beef mixed with the Old El Paso seasoning packet, hard corn tortillas, and a shitload of shredded cheddar.
Now that I’ve grown up, my tastes have most certainly evolved (see: culinary school), and so have my taste and quests for tacos.
It also doesn’t hurt to have a significant other who requires tacos at least once a week.
And so long ago, my friend and I made an arrangement to make brisket tacos. As brisket takes a long time to prepare, we made this a Sunday Funday activity.
And Sunday Funday it was.
Serves however many tacos you can eat without vomiting
Pickled red onion:
½ large red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 cup white wine vinegar
6 black peppercorns
Combine all ingredients in mason jar; seal tightly; refrigerate at least 4 hours.
2 vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsps. fresh oregano leaves
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
black pepper, freshly ground
Combine tomatoes and oregano in small bowl; toss with olive oil; season to taste; reserve.
1 4.5 lb. brisket
2 Tbsps. chili powder
2 Tbsps. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsps. dry mustard
1 cup dark lager beer
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Mix all spices together; coat brisket in spices; place on rack in roasting pan; roast 1 hour; turn heat down to 300˚F; add beer to roasting pan and cover; continue roasting 4 hours (or until tender); remove from oven, covered; let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
corn tortillas, warmed
roasted poblano chiles, sliced
Slice reserved brisket; place two slices on top of tortilla; top with salsa, pickled onion, queso fresco, and chiles; serve.