The Garcia family have been cooking some of the best Tex-Mex in San Antonio, TX for ten years, but it's their brisket that has everyone coming back. To learn more, read "What to Make for Cinco: Brisket Tacos" in our National edition.
Smoked Brisket Tacos with Pico de Gallo
Recipe adapted from Garcia's Mexican Food, San Antonio, TX
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours plus marinating and resting time
Cook Time: 6 hours plus marinating and resting time
Total Time: 7 and 1/2 hours plus marinating and resting time
For the Brisket:
1½ tablespoon chile powder
1½ tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 5-pound brisket, preferably the flat cut
Apple juice in a squirt bottle
For the Pico de Gallo:
4 beefsteak tomatoes, cored and diced
¾ cup white onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 jalapeños, stemmed and chopped
Salt, to taste
For the Tacos:
Smashed avocado, for serving
16 5-inch-round flour tortillas, warmed
1. Make the brisket: In a small bowl, whisk together the spices to make a dry rub. Massage the brisket with the rub and let marinate for at least an hour at room temperature or as long as overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Place a chimney starter on the top grate of a kettle grill. Stuff crumpled newspaper in the bottom and fill with lump hardwood charcoal. Light the newspaper and let charcoal burn until it has become ashy white.
3. Overturn the chimney to spill the charcoal into the grill, covering half of the bottom grate. Add a few chunks of soaked, non-treated wood chunks (preferably oak) to the charcoal and allow to smolder. Close the lid and let the grill heat to between 225° and 250°.
4. Place a foil pan filled half-way with water next to the charcoal. Place the top grate on the grill and arrange the brisket on the grate over the foil pan. Close the lid and open the top and bottom grill vents. Position the lid so that the top grill vent is on the opposite side of the fire.
5. Smoke the brisket, maintaining a temperature 225° to 250° by replenishing charcoal when needed, occasionally spraying the brisket with the apple juice until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 190°, about 6 to 7 hours.
6. Remove the brisket from the grill and allow to rest on a cutting board for 30 minutes before cutting into medium-thin slices.
7. Make the pico de gallo: Combine the tomatoes, onions and jalapeños and season with salt.
8. Make the tacos: Place a spoonful of avocado on each tortilla, add some of the brisket, and top with a little pico de gallo.