Southwest Pulled Brisket

I recently visited an old college friend of mine at his new West Village apartment in Manhattan. The whole weekend was stuffed stupid with good food. Extra Virgin introduced me to two of the best fish dishes I’ve had in a long, long time.  And the Bus Stop  Café  made all my Saturday morning French toast wishes come true. But the most memorable meal was actually served by a friend of my friend’s who hosted a housewarming party at her new (and completely gorgeous) studio in Brooklyn.
She had woken up early that morning, seasoned several pounds of brisket, and let it pressure cook itself away over the next 12 hours until the whole apartment was filled with mouth watering southwest BBQ smells. A pile of mini tortillas and a bowl of shockingly pink pickled onions and voila! A southwest brisket taco buffet. The kitchen corner was a hot spot of activity all night. As the night wound down and we were a few of the last people still chatting with the remaining guests milling around the pressure cooker, I just had to ask where she’d gotten the recipe. “oh! smitten kitchen!
“oh! I love smitten kitchen!”
and several minutes of recipe and blog sharing ensued.

The next weekend I was looking for ideas for dishes to bring to a super bowl potluck and of course had to try my hand at these delicious tacos. (yes, I do have to admit I made these back in februrary and am only just now getting around to posting). I don’t cook meat often, especially for other people where I try to keep the failure rate low compared to my personal kitchen experiments, so I just had to lift it straight from smitten kitchen’s Southwestern Pulled Brisket. Where you can find all the recipes in their entirety.

I don’t have a pressure cooker so I used a baked my brisket in a dutch oven at 350° about 3 hours (as suggested in the recipe) and it worked great. I cooked the meat the night before and let it sit over night. In the morning I pulled it apart with my fingers i mean two forks and slowly reheated it, making sure to stir every now and then to make sure no pieces dried out. I also doubled the cayenne and chipotle peppers, which gave the brisket a bite but it still wasn’t super spicy.

For the fixin’s I used the same Green Onion Slaw from Bobby Flay by way, as well, from smitten kitchen, substituting the mayonnaise for low fat plain yogurt which worked splendidly. I will emphasize the importance of emulsifying the dressing properly though. I made a test batch and noticed that after about an hour it looked like the dressing had curdled over the cabbage. Giving it another serious whip-up in the food processor cured the rest though, and while it’s true it doesn’t look splendid the next day, I think it tastes even a bit better. The pickled onions are indeed super easy and a really fabulous color as far as plating is concerned but I do recommend using the right kind of vinegar. I miscalculated and ran out of red wine vinegar and made of the difference with some cider vinegar which i think gave it a bit too much of a tang. Oddly enough though the onions got at least as many compliments as the brisket itself. Maybe I just don’t know the power of my own stinginess. I used Cholula instead of tobasco. That’s just my favorite hot-sauce flavor wise, but if you want more just ‘hot’ and less ‘hot sauce taste’ go with tabasco.

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