Mmmmm, so I made a beef brisket this weekend. I used to be afraid of cooking large hunks of meat, but now I say “bring it on” – plus, the center cut of brisket is a lean cut, so no worries there! One of the biggest perks, aside from gobbling up slices of meaty heaven straight off the grill, is having leftovers! I’ve shared recipes I’ve prepared with leftover brisket in the past (hit the bottom of this post for links), and today I have a brand new salad to add to the collection!
You will love the smoky sweet satisfaction that my Brisket Kale and Corn Salad with Low-Fat Creamy Texas Dressing offers. Also, since kale is really only one of the salad greens holds up (if not gets better) to prepping ahead, this beef salad is also perfect for packing in a jar for lunch as school, work or the gym. Continue reading →
Today is National Tortilla Chip Day! My appetite just couldn’t wait for National Nacho Day to roll around on November 6th before sharing my recipe for hot, hearty and “yippee-yee-haw” yummy Cowboy BBQ Brisket & Bean Skillet Nachos. Thousands have actually devoured this recipe, I developed it on behalf of Litehouse Foods to feed thousands of hungry expo carousers at the Produce Marketing Association’s “Fresh Summit” in Atlanta back in October. The line to get my grub was huge!
Most “skillet” nachos I’ve tasted have been limp, lame and ready to be put out to pasture, the result of wet and dry ingredients loitering too long. However, this isn’t my first nacho rodeo and I revealed a nacho hack I’d been hiding – to keep the saddle off the horse until it’s time to ride! What I mean by this is to cook up toppings in cast-iron cookware and then slop atop tortilla chips right before serving, the result passes muster with this Sheriff of Sogginess. Just imagine a platter with crisp, crunchy chips on the bottom and a hella ooey, gooey heaven on top! Don’t just imagine, try it!
Grab you some barbeque brisket, roasted corn, pinto beans and seasonings – you’ll be wrangled those ingredients up stove top in a skillet at then smothering with a heaping helping of cheddar cheese and jalapenos. I love using the center cut portion of brisket for this recipe because it is actually considered a lean cut of beef (that surprises a lot of folks) and just tastes so down home delicious. When ready to feed your hungry hombres, pile chips on a plate, cover with a generous pile of brisket and bean topping, and dollop with sour cream, guacamole, salsa or whatever scoots your boot!
These skillet nachos are perfect for a party, patio snack or last-minute meal solution with leftovers Any remaining topping from my Cowboy BBQ Brisket & Bean Skillet Nacho can be served over baked potatoes, wrapped taco style in tortillas or scrambled with eggs. And, feel free to swap out the chopped up brisket for equal proportions of lightly seasoned ground beef or shredded chuck roast — you can’t go wrong!
If this inspired by Texas recipe isn’t your style, how about some English pea and asparagus packed Skinny Garden Guacamole?
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.