Barbacoa beef brisket tacos
Serves 6 | prep 30 mins | total time
- 1 joint of beef brisket, about 950g-1kg
- 2 tbsp corn oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ancho chilli flakes
- 1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1½ tbsp cider vinegar
- 300ml beef stock (from a stock cube is fine)
- 18 taco shells
- 2 avocados, diced
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- juice of 1 lime
- ½ jar of pickled jalapeño chillies, drained
- 150ml soured cream
- 1 x 31g pack coriander, chopped
- 3 limes, cut into quarters
The beef can be cooked up to 3 days before, shredded and chilled. It also freezes well. Reheat in a covered pan (defrost first if frozen), adding 100ml extra water.
- Season the beef generously all over with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a large heatproof casserole and set over a high heat. Once it’s really hot, sear the beef all over until deeply caramelised for 6-7 minutes, then transfer to a plate and set aside. Preheat the oven to 140°C, fan 120°C, gas 1.
- Reduce the heat to as low as possible; add the rest of the oil and the onion to the casserole, cooking for a good 15 minutes, uncovered, until soft and sweet, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and stir-fry for a further minute, then add the cumin, chilli flakes, cloves, oregano, bay leaves and vinegar, stirring to mix. Put the beef on top of the onions, along with any juice from the plate. Pour in the beef stock and bring up to the boil. Take a sheet of baking paper and scrunch up under running water, shaking off the excess. Use this to cover the beef loosely to create a steamy lid to stop the surface drying out. Top with a tight-fitting lid and slide into the oven to cook for 6 hours, turning over a couple of times during cooking time. The beef is ready when it’s so tender you can tease it apart easily with 2 forks.
- Remove from the oven (turn it off), then shred the meat into a serving dish, cover with foil and slide back into the cooling oven to keep warm. The remaining cooking liquid should be a spoonable consistency; if it’s a little thin, simmer briefly on the hob to concentrate slightly. Spoon into a jug; keep warm.
Tip The brisket can also be cooked in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours (use only 200ml stock, and you won’t need the baking paper. There’s no need to turn the meat, either).
- To serve,mix the finely sliced red onion with the juice of 1 lime, line up the taco shells, beef and sauce, along with bowls of the garnishes, and let everyone help themselves. Start with a little shredded beef into the bottom of a taco shell, topping with a drizzle of sauce, some avocado, onion, jalapeño, sour cream and coriander. Finish with a squeeze of lime. Tuck in with your hands if you’re brave, or use a knife and fork if you have your best shirt on!