Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish #TacoTakedown

Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.comI 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.

Taco Takedown Contenders - TheFitFork.com

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

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!

 

Brisket Taco with Watermelon BBQ Sauce - TheFitFork.com

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.  Pickled Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.com

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!

Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce - TheFitFork.com

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!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve wrapped in a tortilla and called a taco? Please share in the comments!

 

Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.com
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish
Print Recipe
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish -- a strange but good recipe that will rock your next backyard party.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Brisket Tacos with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Watermelon Rind Relish - TheFitFork.com
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish
Print Recipe
Beef Brisket Taco with Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce and Pickled Rind Relish -- a strange but good recipe that will rock your next backyard party.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
10 hours
Ingredients
For Brisket:
For Spicy Watermelon BBQ Sauce:
Pickled Watermelon Rind Relish:
Servings: servings
Instructions
For Brisket:
  1. 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:
  1. 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:
  1. To make relish, toss together all ingredients in medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To Serve:
  1. To serve, place sauced, shredded brisket in tortilla. Top with relish and queso fresco.
Recipe Notes


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Uno, Dos, Tres! Avocados Three Ways

box of avocados thefitfork

I recently received a box full of bliss on my doorstep.  So what did the UPS man deliver? No, it wasn’t a new pair of sandals for spring or video game ordered by the boys – it was a case brimming with beautiful California Avocados.  Smooth, velvety goodness ready to nourish my body with healthy fats and essential vitamins and nutrients – now THAT is something worth coming home to! I could wax poetic about the health benefits of avocados all day; surely you remember how many avocados I was eating during my “fat-loading” phase for the last marathon!

avocado arrangement 700

So, each one my new beautiful avocados were perfectly shaped and without a dent, bruise or brown spot – plus, none of them had those awful stringy things on the inside. By the way, the stringiness found in some avocados near the stem end is a result of a younger tree vigorously putting out fruit. As the tree matures, it typically stops producing fruit with this stressed-out, overabundance of cellulose fibers. Unfortunately, you can’t tell from the outside of avocados which ones are strung out – haha!  And, while you CAN eat the stringy fibers, who wants to?

With peak California Avocado season in full swing now through fall (haller-lu-ya) and Cinco de Mayo just days away, what better way to start devouring my stash than with some south-of-the-border inspired avocado recipes.

avocado guacamole

Cilantro-Lime Guacamole Recipe

Simple, smooth and just so darn good that I have been known to eat the whole bowl at one sitting! A perfect dip for chips or healthier options like carrot, jicama, or zucchini sticks.

  • 1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • Garnish (optional) : chopped red onion

Using a fork or back of spoon, mash avocado until smooth with just a few small lumps remaining for texture. Add lime juice, cilantro and garlic salt; stir well to combine. Top with red onion, if desired. Serves 4.

Avocado Red Onion Pineapple salad

Avocado Pineapple Relish Recipe

I originally made this dish as an experimental side for smoked brisket and turkey; obviously I wasn’t in the mood for coleslaw and other normal barbeque sides. We gobbled it all up and then I made it again for fish tacos and tortilla chips!

  • 1 medium avocado; pitted, scored and flesh removed
  • 2/3 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced jalapeno
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

Score avocado in shell as pictured below and remove or peel and dice. Mix all ingredients in non-reactive bowl and gently toss together. Serves 6.

avocado half

Scoring avocado is the easiest way to prep for salsa & relish recipes.

beef and vegetable stuffed avocados 

Baja Beef Avocado Bowls Recipe

Made last month as part of a “chopped” style competition at a nutrition event (and the winner, natch!), this vibrant and very easy dinner recipe uses the avocado shell and part of the flesh as a bowl – the scooped out remainder is made into guacamole and dolloped on top!  Get the full recipe for Baja Beef Avocado Bowls on my protein for performance post.

So what will I be doing with the rest of my avocados? Come back in a couple days to find out!

Avocados provided by the California Avocado Commission, but all recipes and opinions my own.

I love to live vicariously, please share your favorite way to eat avocados in the comments!