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Playing Rachael's Slow Cooked Barbacoa Tacos

Rachael tops her shredded beef tacos with Pickled Red Onions and Pico de Gallo.


  • 4 pounds lean brisket, cut into large chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • Safflower, corn or canola oil (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • ¼ cup finely chopped or pureed chipotle
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Half a cinnamon stick (about 1½ inches)
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons cumin (2 scant palmfuls)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
To serve
  • Charred corn or flour tortillas, for soft tacos, or toasted super-size flat-bottom hard tacos
  • Pico de Gallo (recipe below)
  • Pickled Red Onions (recipe below)
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges
  • Pickled jalapeno slices
  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Thinly sliced radishes
For the Pico de Gallo
  • 2 small serrano peppers or 1 large jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed for milder flavor, seeds and ribs intact for spicier flavor
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes or vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • ¾ cup white wine vinegar
  • Hot sauce, to taste (Rach likes Chipotle Tabasco Sauce or Frank’s RedHot)
For the Pickled Red Onions
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced


Serves: 6


Bring meat to room temperature and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan over high heat and add oil, 3 turns of the pan, then brown meat evenly all over.

Place meat in slow cooker or Dutch oven and add beef stock, chipotle in adobo, lime juice, ground cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, cumin, coriander and oregano. Cook in slow cooker 8 hours on low, 6 hours on high, or in oven at 275˚F for 5 hours, turning occasionally.

Shred meat and adjust salt. Serve with tortillas and toppings of choice.

To make the pico de gallo, add serranos or jalapenos, red onion, lime juice and salt to a medium mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Let macerate for 10-15 minutes. Add tomatoes, scallions and hot sauce and stir to combine.

To make the pickled red onions, heat white wine vinegar over medium heat. Dissolve sugar and salt. Turn off the heat. Add sliced red onions. Allow to cool in the liquid and transfer to a glass container. Store in the fridge until ready to use.