My beef brisket tacos feature melt-in-your-mouth brisket sauce topped with spicy pico, crispy onions, and creamy Mexiranch dressing. They’re so good they even helped me score a boyfriend!
They are just bursting with big Texas flavor. They are a flavor explosion in your mouth. Make a large batch of brisket and enjoy these tacos for days. Serve them for friends and family or just because you are craving an incredible brisket taco. Great for using up leftover brisket too.
These are very similar to the now-discontinued Applebees Brisket Tacos.
I also give credit this recipe for helping me win over my boyfriend (aka Meat Man).
Why I Love This Recipe
- Tender beef: Smoking the meat makes it crispy on the outside and super tender on the inside. It will hold its shape, so don’t panic if it doesn’t fall apart as a roast would.
- Texture: To contrast the juicy beef, we add fresh pico, crispy onions, and melty cheese.
- Leftovers: Your family will not turn up their nose at these leftovers, which sometimes taste even better the second day.
Ingredient Notes and Shopping Tips
- Brisket: Brisket is a cut of beef that comes from the chest section of the cow. It is a tough cut of meat. It has a lot of flavor. It must be cooked low and slow, so it is tender. When you choose the brisket, you want one at least 1 inch thick on the ends. If you can afford it, also opt for choice instead of select, which has additional fat marbling.
- Pico de Gallo: Since a lot was going on in this recipe, I used storebought found in the produce section of my grocery store. You can also make your own.
- BBQ Sauce: We like Sweet Baby Rays.
- Tortillas: You can use corn or flour. I prefer flour.
- Buttermilk: Use buttermilk to help soften the onions. If you don’t have any, you can make your own with 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup of milk.
How To Make Brisket Tacos
- Smoke Meat: Rub meat with spices and cook for around 1 hour per pound.
- Add Sauce: Shred and toss the meat with sauce.
- Cook Onions: Dredge and fry onions for 2-3 minutes per side.
- Make Sauce: Combine all ingredients.
- Make Tacos: Layer beef, cheese, pico, onions, and top off with sauce.
No Smoker? No Problem!
A smoker is the best way to cook brisket. It gives a crispy outside, tender inside, and deep flavor. However, if you don’t have one, you can use
- Crockpot: Brown on all sides in a skillet. Cook for 8-10 hours on low.
- Instant pot: Brown on all sides, and cook for 75 minutes. Allow pressure to release for 15 minutes, before doing a manual release.
If cooking indoors, consider adding 1-2 teaspoons of liquid smoke.
More Topping Ideas
- Avocado and/or Guacamole
- Grilled pepper sand onions
- Grilled Corn
- Queso blanco or chile con queso
- Hot sauce
- Green onions
- Storage: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: Reheat covered with tin foil in a 350-degree oven for around 10 minutes. Add cooking juices or broth if it seems dry.
- Freeze: Freeze for up to 2 months.
Tips and Tricks
- Fat Cap: Leave the fat cap on for cooking. It adds so much flavor and helps keep your meat juicy.
- Let It Rest: Allow the meat to rest for 10-15 minutes before shredding to keep the juices inside.
- Cook Low and Slow: Avoid grilling or cooking in a crock pot on high, which can lead to a tough, chewy result.
- Wet and Dry Hand: When battering your onions, use one hand for the flour and one for the milk to avoid battering yourself.
- Heat Your Tortillas: Heat your tortillas in a pan with a little oil for 1-2 minutes until soft.
For the Brisket
For the Tacos
- 1 Cup Pico de Gallo
- 12 Tortillas
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheese
For the Sauce
- ½ Cup Ranch
- ½ Cup Sour Cream
- ¼ Cup Medium Salsa
For the Fried Onions
- 2 Sweet Onions
- 2 Cups Buttermilk
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
For the Brisket
- Combine all spices and rub over top of brisket.
- Smoke with cherry wood at 250 degrees per pound. You can also cook in the slow cooker for 10-12 hours on low.
- Remove fat, shred, and mix with BBQ sauce.
For the Onions
- Heat peanut oil to 350 degrees F.
- Thinly slice onions.
- Pour buttermilk into one dish and flour and seasonings into another.
- Dip in flour, buttermilk,and then flour again.
- Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden.
For the sauce
- Combine all ingredients.
For the Tacos
- Place beef on a warm tortilla. Top with cheese, pico, onions and a drizzle of sauce.