Cooking for a Crowd: Brisket Tacos


We have a soft spot for what are sometimes referred to as “middle-school tacos”—think ground beef and a packet of Old El Paso seasoning—but the real deal requires scarcely more effort, especially when feeding a crowd. This fiesta-friendly recipe adapted from Cocina 214 uses beef brisket that spends hours of alone time in the oven, freeing the cook to take care of other important tasks. Like making margaritas.

Brisket Tacos

Serves 20

1 beef brisket, approximately 8-10 pounds

1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 poblano pepper, roughly chopped

½ cup coarse salt

¼ cup seasoned salt

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons granulated garlic

3 teaspoons black pepper

3 quarts water

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup white vinegar

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

1 bunch cilantro

For the brisket: Heat oven to 350. Place all ingredients into a roasting pan and cover with foil. Cook for 5-6 hours or until meat is falling apart. Remove meat from juices, and when cool enough to handle, shred with two forks. Make ahead note: meat can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated in its juices. Reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop.

60 small flour tortillas

2 pounds Monterey Jack cheese, grated

4 cups prepared pico de gallo

5 yellow onions, sliced and grilled

4 cups prepared fire-roasted salsa

6 limes, cut into wedges

To serve: Heat broiler and place oven rack in the middle. Working in batches, line a sheet pan with tortillas (don’t overlap) and distribute cheese evenly on each. Broil until cheese is melted then remove from oven. Place tortillas on a serving platter and top with brisket, grilled onions and pico de gallo in that order. Serve with salsa and lime wedges on the side.