Southwestern Pulled Brisket
By Kath Dedon
This recipe for Southwestern Pulled Brisket may be the best thing that’s ever come out of my slow cooker! I used Thundering Hooves grass fed beef and adapted a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen. It was mouth-wateringly juicy with just the right amount of spice. This is perfect for Fall entertaining!
Deb’s recipe called for a 3-pound brisket, but mine was only 1 pound. I didn’t really alter the amount of the other ingredients, although I did use a bit less water. (Deb called for 1½ cups and I used 1 cup.) So I’d say you can use a brisket that is anywhere from 1 to 3 pounds without altering the recipe in any other way.
This reheats beautifully; if you’re entertaining, you can definitely make it the day before and reheat it for your party.
Since I already had some leftover hamburger buns, I used the Southwestern Pulled Brisket for sandwiches. The sauce is so tasty; a few thin slices of onion are all that is needed to complete the sandwiches.
The brisket would also make an excellent taco filling, which is how Deb used it. As a taco filling, it would stretch even further if you’re feeding a crowd. Just heat up some corn tortillas, put out a few of your favorite taco condiments (maybe some grated cheese, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos?) and let people put together their own tacos.
I can think of lots of ways to serve this fabulous brisket. It would be great served over mashed potatoes or polenta! I know I’ll be making this recipe again before too long!
Southwestern Pulled Brisket
(Adapted from a recipe on smittenkitchen.com)
Serves 4 (simply choose a larger brisket for more servings)
1 pound beef brisket
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
About 1 cup sliced onions
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 (14½ ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
1-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (Use just 1 or 2 chiles from the can—the rest can be kept refrigerated for quite a while. I used 1 chile; for a 3 pound brisket, I might use 2)
1 bay leaf
¼ cup honey
1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Salt and pepper the brisket.
3. Add the oil to the skillet and when it’s hot, put the brisket in the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, until it’s nicely browned on the first side. Then turn it over to brown it on the other side for about 5 minutes.
4. Put the brisket in the slow cooker.
5. Put the garlic, onion slices, chili powder, coriander, and cumin in the skillet and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.
6. Pour the vinegar in and cook, stirring, until the vinegar is almost gone. (Stand to the side so you don’t breathe in the vinegar fumes.)
7. Pour the water into the pan. Stir and then pour everything from the pan into the slow cooker.
You can see I have plenty of room for a larger brisket in my slow cooker:
8. Using your hands, break the tomatoes up into the slow cooker and then pour in the juice.
9. Add the chipotle chile(s), bay leaf and honey.
10. Cook on Low for 9 – 10 hours.
11. Remove the brisket from the slow cooker and pour the sauce into a pan. (It is quite “watery” at this point.) Bring the sauce to a boil and cook it until it is reduced quite a bit and is a lot thicker.
12. While the sauce is reducing, shred the beef using two forks.
13. When the sauce is cooked down, stir the beef into the sauce and cook for a few minutes to reheat the beef, and it’s ready to eat!
Optional: If you’re using buns, you may want to butter them and grill them.