This post is sponsored by The National Watermelon Board (Watermelon.org), however all comments, opinions, enthusiasm and content is my own.
I can’t even count how many watermelons have met their final fate at my house, at least dozens of dozens (meaning hundreds) if not more! Watermelon, after all, is my favorite fruit and I eat it every which way including whacked into a wedge and as a featured ingredient in smoothies and on salads, skewers, sandwiches and such.
I’ve used the typically discarded watermelon rind in recipes too – my latest creation is Thai-style Watermelon Rind Shrimp Ceviche! Check out the recipe and join me to #LeaveNoRindBehind ! Continue reading →
I enjoyed a one-of-a-kind, sorta-strange experience as only Austin can host at the Taco Takedown that was held this past weekend near the be-hip-or-go-home scene at SXSW (South by Southwest). I’ve been in quite a few cook-offs including the iconic Pillsbury Bake Off in Vegas with $1 Million prize (obviously I didn’t win), the Crisco Cook Off in Nashville as part of the Country Music Festival, and even many times in my home-town Hatch Green Chile Cook Off where I hold bragging rights as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner.
The right to battle it off as a finalist in most of these showdowns required each recipe to make it through some sort of qualifying round, being made and examined in a test kitchen by professional chefs and pre-judged on factors like presentation, fit within a certain category, creativity, convenience, taste and so on. Typically, pages of rules, do’s and don’ts, and lists of disqualifications were also involved. However, not at the Taco Takedown – basically all the info I was given was just show up with your best taco. So, of course I started over analyzing and guessing at the non-existent details. And, in the end I decided to fly by the seat of my pants. I wondered what kind of taco would win – surely in Austin, a freaky taco would beat a traditional taco any day.
My Beefy Man Hunk Taco Model
That’s why I wrapped all my loves, as strange as the combo might sound, in one tortilla – viola, a Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce (and Pickled Rind Relish) recipe was born. Well, I guessed wrong because a Crispy Chicken with Avocado Taco dished up by Evin at Food Good, Laundry Bad took top honors. As partial as I was to my wacky yet wonderful watermelon beef taco, I have to admit, the winner was really, super-ultra-deluxe good – and it was fried, how could I compete with that?! But, I got to go home with the beefy man-hunk taco model — so, really, I was the WINNER!
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of meaty beef, and summer-sweet watermelon and a surprise of spiciness, these are a few of my favorite things (is there a song here . . )? I knew these flavors would mingle together for a memorable taco –as they did. I didn’t want to smoke the brisket, so I had four massive slow-cookers breaking down the beef into the perfect tenderness for fork shredding. But, holy-moly, it took a long time to shred 27 pounds of brisket! The BBQ sauce was a not-too-vinegary, not-to-tomatoey sauce sweetened with watermelon just and spiced up with Sriracha. Probably the most unique thing going on was the pickled watermelon rind that was diced up in the salsa. A true southerner uses ALL parts of the watermelon. And, of course, I topped it all off with some salty, crumbly queso fresco cheese.
Use this Spicy Watermelon Barbecue Sauce on beef — but also on chicken, baked beans, fish, sausage, pork and more. I’ve also used it as a salad dressing!
Because you’re probably not cooking for a 250 person crowd, I’ve scaled down the recipe for you to feed about 8 and maybe some leftovers!
Add ingredients for brisket into 6 - 8 quart capacity slow cooker. Cook on low setting for 10 hours. Remove brisket from cooking juices and strain out onions and peppers. Chop of onions and peppers, set aside. Cut excess fat of brisket and use fork or fingers to shred beef. Stir back in onions and peppers.
For Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce:
Prepare BBQ sauce by adding all ingredients together in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and reduce to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Pour desired amount over beef, remainder may be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Makes about 2 cups.
For Picked Rind Relish:
To make relish, toss together all ingredients in medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, place sauced, shredded brisket in tortilla. Top with relish and queso fresco.