Brisket Tacos, aka Pulled Pork Sandwiches

When there’s a 4 pound pork roast taking up a good portion of your freezer, there comes a day when you just have to handle it.  Last Thursday, Husband’s car needed some work done, so I walked over to a local coffee shop with a pile of food magazines and recipe file folders and set about finding some new meals.  Quite a few were just a little behind the CSA produce schedule (lentil/Swiss chard/tofu tacos; spinach mint pesto), but this easy BBQ was of interest because I didn’t want to turn on the oven, and my slow cooker and I get along fine. I know the recipe says beef, but see note regarding pork above.  No reason not to make pork tacos instead.  This is from Good Housekeeping‘s June 2015 issue, and I starred a bunch of recipes highlighting summer produce.

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a32690/bbq-brisket-tacos/

Ingredients

  • 1 c. ketchup
  • 3 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed with press
  • 1/4 c. The Ultimate Rub
  • 1 beef brisket (about 3 to 4 lbs)

Directions

  1. Spray bowl of 6-to 8-quart slow coker with nonstick cooking spray. Add ketchup, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic; whisk to combine.
  2. Coat brisket on all sides with The Ultimate Rub; add to slow-cooker bowl. Cover and cook on Low 8 hours or until tender but not falling apart.
  3. Transfer brisket to cutting board. With 2 forks, shred meat. Return meat to slow-cooker bowl; stir to coat with sauce.
  4. Serve pulled brisket with tortillas and cilantro leaves, radishes, limes, cheese, and choice of salsa.
Abou 335 cals, 33g protein, 32 g carbs, 9 g fat (3 g sat), 4 g fiber, 810 mg sodium.

I had a little twinge of panic when I saw the recipe calling for a spice mixture on a very different page in the magazine, but of course, a Google search brought it up in no time. It’s also linked in the original recipe posted on GH‘s website.

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a32728/the-ultimate-rub/

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. brown sugar (be sure to break it up)
  • 2 tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cinammon

Directions

  1. In medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, kosher salt, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, paprika, black pepper, and cinnamon. Store in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag up to 6 months.
  2. For: 1 1/2 pounds steak, use 2 tablespoons.; 1 pound vegetables, use 1 tablespoon.; 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, use 1/4 cup.; 1 pound salmon fillets, use 3 tablespoons.

It didn’t take me long to decide that I didn’t want to deal with all those spices.  It was already almost noon, and if I got this baby cooking quickly there was a good chance we could eat it for dinner.  So I used a smoky barbecue steak seasoning rub we already had on hand instead of  The Ultimate Rub.

I made the barbecue sauce as listed, even though food critic comments rang in my ears as  I measured out the ketchup.  I used horseradish mustard and accidentally doubled the Worcestershire sauce because I switched it with the balsamic vinegar proportion on the next line.  So I reduced the vinegar by a tablespoon to balance it out.  My pork was still frozen, so I couldn’t cut it into 2 pieces, but I did make a deep cut down the middle and rubbed the dry spice into the cut.  I set the cooker on high since I was looking for a finished product in about 6 hours.

After about 4 hours, I made some more cuts and flipped the pork over to get that sauce well distributed.  Everything was looking great, though I could tell this meat wasn’t going to shred nicely.  After about 6 1/2 hours, the meat was registering above 155°, so I pulled the roast out and began to slice it into bite sized chunks.

 

 20160729_190054-1

Verdict: While the meat wasn’t as tender as I would have liked, the flavor of the rub and the sauce was excellent.  There was a great sweet and spicy combination going on here, and while the rub itself smelled smoky at the beginning of the cook time, the smoky flavor wasn’t really apparent afterwards.  This photo shows a sandwich, which I ate the first night, but I did make it into a taco a couple of days later with the leftovers.  I used white corn tortillas, topping the pork with shredded lettuce and some spicy green tomatillo salsa.  I would make this again, but plan to cook the pork (fully thawed) on low for a longer amount of time to improve the tenderness.  Topping the meat (sandwich or taco) with some creamy coleslaw would also be a great alternative  to the  shredded cabbage and sliced radishes suggested in the original.

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