Beer Braised Brisket Burritos

If you’re entertaining the thought of entertaining a crowd this Labor Day weekend, here’s the perfect party recipe!

I made my very first attempt at beef brisket last night, and it was a smashing success with the DamFam!  Wooo hooo!  You must be thinking that if beef brisket is enough to get me this fired up, I probably need to either meet some new people or find a different hobby (both could be true).  But really, this recipe is quite good, worth getting excited about, and definitely worth sharing with you.

I’d never had brisket before yesterday, but it’s on sale so I decided to give it a go.    I don’t think brisket is a cut my mom ever made when we were kids, although we ate a lot of Sunday chuck roasts, which are similar in texture to brisket.  These cuts are also similar in that they need to be cooked low and slooooowwwww.  I’m not gonna lie, you can’t pull this recipe together in 30 minutes or less.  But if you have the luxury of time, you’re gonna love it!  Plus, you won’t believe how incredible your house will smell while it’s in the oven.

We used the brisket as a filling for burritos last night, although that’s not how the original recipe was intended.  But the LaBanderita 10” flour tortillas are on sale so I thought, why not?  We stuffed them full of shredded lettuce (iceberg again, if you must know) and cheese, rolled them up, and called it dinner.  I will definitely do this recipe again this winter — maybe over poblano mashed potatoes?  Mmm.   Now there’s a thought.  Help me remember, will you?

Alongside, we had the DamFam’s favorite black beans (look for the LaPreferida brand, on sale).  The recipe is by chef Rick Bayless, (love him!) and is one of my stand-bys – I always have the ingredients on hand in my pantry.  They’re so much better than plain-old canned refried beans, and not really that much work.

As I mentioned, I braised the brisket in the oven because (and here’s a confession) I’m plum terrified of putting a tough cut of meat like this on the grill for an extended period of time.  I knew I would wreck it, so I felt that the oven was a safer route.  I really need to overcome my fear of the fire sometime – does anyone want to take a grilling class? Call me.

Here are both recipes.  I’m giving you the brisket recipe as it was originally intended.  If you’d like to use it as a filling for burritos, just pick up some tortillas, lettuce, and cheese, and allow your diners to assemble their own at the table.  ENJOY!


Serves: 5-6

Source:  Adapted from The Best American Recipes 2004-05, Edited by F. McCullough & Molly Stevens, pp. 136-138

Dry Rub & Brisket:

  • 2 t. sea salt
  • 2 T. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 T. paprika
  • 2 t. chili powder
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 – 3 lb. piece beef brisket (on sale this week), blotted dry with paper towels
  • 1 bottle of mild beer

BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 c. purchased barbecue sauce (I always use KC Masterpiece Original)
  • ½ c. purchased salsa (speaking of Rick Bayless, choose one of his Frontera salsas)
  • Hefty splash of cider vinegar (adjust this to your taste)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix the dry rub ingredients together and pat about 3 tablespoons per side into the brisket, rubbing it in with your fingers.  Allow the brisket to sit for a couple of hours (covered) or over night in the fridge.

When ready to cook the brisket, preheat the oven to 325.  Place the brisket into a roasting pan large enough for it to fit flat on the bottom.  Pour the beer around the brisket, cover the pan tightly with foil, and place it in the oven.  Cook for 2 hours at 325, then reduce the oven temperature to 300 and continue cooking for an additional 2 ½ hours (this time is based on 1 ½ hours / pound; if you decide to go with a bigger brisket, then adjust your cook time accordingly).  Remove from the oven.  Transfer meat to a cutting board, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer; cook and stir until thickened and flavorful, 5 to 8 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Thinly slice meat across the grain.  Transfer meat to a platter and spoon some of the barbecue sauce over the meat, serving the rest on the side.


Serves: 5-6

Source:  Mexican Everyday, by Rick Bayless with Deanna Groen Bayless

  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon, chopped (I used two slices, it was fine)
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • ½ can fire-roasted tomatoes with chiles (save the other half and freeze it for next time), OR ½ can fire-roasted tomatoes and 1 small can of diced chiles
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans of black beans or pinto beans, undrained
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, minced – hefty pinch, plus an additional sprig for garnish if desired

In a medium sauce pan, sauté the bacon over medium high heat until browned and crispy.  Add the garlic, sauté for 10 seconds or so.  Immediately add the tomatoes and chiles; cook and stir for 3 minutes.  Add the beans (with their liquid).  Bring to a simmer.  Continue to simmer until beans begin to thicken, about 25 minutes.  (I like to crush mine slightly with a potato masher at this point to achieve a smoother texture, but this is entirely up to you.)  Stir in the chopped cilantro, transfer to a serving dish.  Garnish with cilantro sprigs if desired.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | September 5th, 2009