Friday, April 27, 2012

Beer-Braised Brisket Burritos

Writing this post is giving me big time burrito cravings. The pictures simply don't do this justice! These are awesome! Some of the best burritos I've ever made or had, and quite frankly, really easy to make. Mexican is by far my favorite food genre, so I'm a pretty good judge here. Even Andrew commented a few times about how great the flavor of the beef was.

I could eat Mexican every single day. I think its a shame that most people don't recognize it's pure awesomeness. I feel like when most people think Mexican then envision plates of sloppy Chi-Chi's entrees where everything blends together, but there is so much more out there. The flavors are so deep and so fresh, always making for a good weeknight dinner option! Cilantro. Cumin. Tomato. Chili. Mango. Garlic. Avocado. I mean seriously...this is where it's at. I'll take Mexican over Italian any day. Not that there's anything wrong with Italian, I love it too, but the flavors of Mexico are so much more interesting.

This recipe takes some time in the oven, but it's super simple and something surely everyone will enjoy. Make the beef, wrap it up in a tortilla with some Easy Mexican Rice with Beans and your favorite toppings, and call it dinner.

The cook time on this beef is about 4 hrs. After all, it's beef so low & slow is the name of the game.

Ingredients for Beer-Braised Brisket:
6 Slices Bacon, cut into 1" pieces
2-2.5 lb Boneless Beef Brisket, fat pad cut off bottom
Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 Stalks Celery, roughly chopped
1 Medium Onion, roughly chopped
1 Poblano Chili Pepper, seeded and chopped
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tblsp Flour
1 Bottle of Dark Beer (preferably Mexican)
1 Can Reduced Sodium Beef Stock
1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro, snipped roughly
1/4 tsp Cayenne
1 tsp Dried Oregano

Other Things for Your Burritos:
10" Flour Tortillas
Easy Mexican Rice with Beans
Salsa, Sour Cream, Hot Sauce, Shredded Cheese, Guacamole, etc.

Gather your ingredients for the Brisket and preheat your oven to 275 degrees.

In a dutch oven set over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Then remove to a plate, but leave the bacon fat in the dutch oven. I even used a spatula to squeeze the bacon against the side of the pan so I had as much bacon fat as possible left in the dutch.

Salt and pepper your brisket. Then set it in the dutch oven, right in the bacon fat. Oh yeah baby! Anything that starts with bacon is normally a winner!

Lightly brown the brisket, 3-4 mins per side. Then remove to plate. (If you haven't already preheated your oven, now is a good time.)

Throw your celery, onion, and poblano pepper into the now bacon/beef fat.

Let them cook for 7-10 minutes, until the onion starts to become translucent. Then add your garlic and cook for 1 minute (just until fragrant).

Stir in the flour until everything is well coated.

Next, slowly stir in the beef broth and the beer. I absolutely LOVE Modelo beer, but I didn't have any so I went with a leftover Great Lakes Christmas Ale. I know most Clevelanders would have my head for using this beer to cook with, but my options were limited.

Once all of the liquid is in, add your spices–fresh cilantro, dried oregano, and cayenne. Then add back in your bacon, giving it a stir of course.

Now that our delicious base is done, set your brisket right in the center of it. Add in any liquids that may have accumulated on its plate too. Give it a little stir and stick it in the oven.

I cooked mine at 275 for a little more than 3 hours, but you could easily turn the heat down to 250 and cook a little longer. I find that with beef you can always go lower and slower, but never cook above 275 in my opinion.

In the end you should get something delicious like this–chunky, but pulls apart in big strings, and overall juicy and savory.

Let it stand for a few minutes, then cut it against the grain. It's pretty easy to see which way the grain runs (in the pic of me poking it with the fork, it's obviously running horizontal).

Now it's time for the best part, time to build your burrito. Give it a nice base of Easy Mexican Rice, brisket, salsa, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce.

Fold over the bottoms and then the sides.

Look at that nice and tidy burrito. It looks so boring, but inside it is bursting with flavor.

This recipe is staying on my favorites list. I'll be making it a lot in my lifetime.

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