Who doesn’t love a good taco? These tacos were inspired by carnitas, but I’ve put a twist on the protein and used brisket instead. I’ve been making these for gatherings with friends and family for a few years now and they’ve become one of my most frequently requested dishes. They are tender, delicious and flavorful, and the best part? They’re super easy, especially if you are feeding a crowd!
What You’ll Need
For these tacos, you’ll need brisket, onion, olive oil, a variety of spices, brown sugar, an orange and a lime, jalapeños, bay leaves, tomato paste and liquid smoke. If you don’t like brisket, you can easily substitute with your favorite protein. These also work well with pork butt or shoulder. If you try with anything else, like chicken breasts or another cut of beef, let me know!
Of course, you’ll also need your favorite taco fixings, like onions, jalapeños, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, salsa, hot sauce, the possibilities are endless, and I have yet to find a topping that doesn’t go well with these!
First, peel and dice the onion, and seed and finely chop the jalapeños. Zest and juice both the lime and the orange.
Make Spice Rub & Season the Brisket
Combine the spices, brown sugar, olive oil and tomato paste in a bowl.
Massage the spice rub into the brisket.
Assemble and Cook
Add the brisket to a crock pot, top with the chopped onion and jalapeno, lime and orange zest, and bay leaves. Add the lime and orange juices and liquid smoke. Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 6-8 hours, or until the brisket is cooked through and shreds easily. I recommend cooking on low.
Finish the Brisket
Once the brisket is cooked, use tongs to remove the brisket from the slow cooker and transfer to a cutting board. Leave all the juices in the slow cooker – you’ll use them later.
Shred the brisket and transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Spread the shredded brisket evenly on the baking sheet, then broil until just starting to crisp – be careful! The broiler can be very unforgiving so watch closely!
Once the brisket has crisped up a little bit, add the meat back to the slow cooker and toss in the juices. Transfer to a serving plate.
Assemble the Tacos
Assemble your tacos using your favorite toppings. I like to set up a taco bar and allow my guests to make their own. Some of my favorite toppings are pickled red onions, jalapeños, shredded cheese, queso, sour cream, cilantro and tomatoes, but you can use whatever you’d like!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 Hours
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you like a little extra spice)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4-5 lbs brisket
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 jalapeños, diced
- Mix the spice rub ingredients throughly.
- Massage the spice rub all over the brisket and add to a slow cooker.
- Top with chopped onions and jalapenos, orange and lime zest, and bay leaves.
- Add orange and lime juices, and liquid smoke.
- Cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for 6-8 hours, or until brisket is cooked through and shreds easily.
- Once cooked, remove brisket from the slow cooker and transfer to a cutting board or plate, leaving juices in the slow cooker. Using two forks, shred.
- Turn on your broiler.
- Transfer shredded brisket to a baking sheet covered in foil.
- Broil brisket until just starting to crisp, about 4-5 mins. Watch closely as broilers can be very unforgiving.
- Once crispy, remove from oven and transfer the broiled brisket to the slow cooker and toss in the juices.
- Transfer the brisket to a serving plate.
- Serve with your favorite toppings – some of my favorites are pickled red onions, jalapeños, shredded cheese, queso, sour cream, cilantro and tomatoes, but you can use whatever you’d like!