Brisket Tacos & Jalapeño Peach Salsa
It’s hard not to gush about the smoked brisket in these tacos. When our chef carved it, folks swarmed around the cutting board, elbows jostling, tasting forks outstretched for a bite. The meat had a deep pink smoke ring and a beautiful, well-peppered crust — it tasted juicy, smoky, spicy, salty, and pleasantly fatty. Someone said the chef was a magician, someone else called the brisket “meat candy,” everyone went in for second and third bites. In the end, he had to chase them away with the tail of a hand towel.
It’s a good thing he did, because the brisket is lovely in a taco. The peach salsa has a wonderful, fruity-sweet complexity — thanks to some anchos, cilantro, lime, and garlic — that perfectly complements the brisket’s meatiness and bold smoke. Folded in a fresh, homemade tortilla, the two ingredients make a sublime bite.
Brisket is not hard to make, but it is a long project. Make this on a Saturday or Sunday, when you’re in the mood to sit next to the smoker all day. Briskets were invented for bonding, so your approach should be to put out the folding chairs, invite your best friend over, drink a few beers, baste the brisket every now and then, and pontificate. Get it all out: once the brisket comes off the grill, all conversation will stop.
4 to 7 lb brisket (point and flat)
3 Tbsp salt
3 Tbsp cracked black pepper
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Jalapeño peach salsa (recipe below)
Rub the salt and pepper into the brisket.
Heat the smoker to 250º, and place the brisket in it.
Smoke the brisket for 2 hours, opening the smoker as little as possible. Maintain the heat throughout the cooking process by adding hot coals and a few chunks of wood to the firebox periodically. The smoke should be white and clean.
After 2 hours, baste the brisket with vinegar, using a brush or spray bottle. Try not to remove any bark, or crust, from the brisket.
Continue to smoke the brisket until the internal temperature reaches 203º, about 4 more hours for a 4-pound brisket or 6 more hours for a 7-pound brisket.
Transfer the brisket to a cutting board or platter. Tent it and let it rest for 30 to 45 minutes. This will allow the meat to relax — so it’s juicier and more tender.
Slice the rested meat against the grain, and serve it with fresh, homemade flour tortillas and the jalapeño peach salsa (see recipe below).
Yield: about 3 cups
2 medium peaches, diced
1 large jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ancho powder
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.