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Homage to the Taco Chronicles – The Series – Brisket Tacos – The Finale

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    Homage to the Taco Chronicles – The Series – Brisket Tacos – The Finale

    To be honest I’m getting kind of sick of the same old barbecue joints here in Texas.

    There I said it. Now before you get a rope and string me up on the nearest post oak limb, let me explain. With the explosion and popularity of barbecue across the nation as well as internationally, barbecue joints are enjoying incredible success. And being in one of the epicenters of that explosion here in Texas, barbecue joints are literally popping up like mushrooms with most trying to outdo the other with their version of Central Texas style cooking.

    The problem with all that is they don’t seem to want to vary from the overall theme or distinguish themselves from one another. The same trinity is served; brisket, ribs and some sort of sausage. The same old sides as well, although some have a signature one that sets them apart, kinda.

    Now I know for those of you who may be miles from any sort of decent barbecue this may seem like a blessing. And trust me it’s fun to seek out and try them all, although that’s becoming nearly impossible. It’s almost like saying I’m going to seek out every McDonalds or Starbucks in the tristate area! But honestly it’s getting to be a sensory overload.


    What I am beginning to see and what gives me hope is the evolution and natural progression of things that seem to be happening in the business. More and more pit masters are branching out with larger restaurant venues offering a variety of food, full service bars and even wait staff. We’re also seeing what I term more “fusion” cooking beginning to be offered. It’s combining various cuisines and incorporating Texas barbecue into those recipes. That is what really gets my juices going and that’s what I’d like to introduce in this last in a series of taco cooks.

    Take for example the Bellaire, Texas (suburban area of Houston) barbecue restaurant called Blood Brothers. Three Vietnamese guys who grew up in the neighborhood gravitated toward making good barbecue in the conventional sense. They do it and do it well, always in the top ranking in Texas barbecue state wide. Yet the reason I use this place as an example is they are constantly offering specials and off the menu items that combine traditional barbecue with down home Vietnamese cuisine.

    Take for instance Pork Burnt Ends on steamed buns….

    Click image for larger version  Name:	blood bros burnt ends steamed buns.jpg Views:	0 Size:	369.4 KB ID:	1090603

    Or Sticky Peanut Butter ribs….

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    And of course the ever popular Smoked Turkey Banh Mi sandwich….

    Click image for larger version  Name:	turkey banh mi.jpg Views:	0 Size:	255.8 KB ID:	1090602

    So in keeping with this fusion cuisine theme, for my first offering I decided to take some SVQ brisket point meat, cube it up into burnt ends and serve it in a taco. But in doing so, I’ll be combining some Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich ingredients while using a tortilla to give it a Mexican taco twist instead of the traditional bread loaf.

    The Viet-Tex Brisket Burnt Ends Taco

    Course. Lunch or Dinner.
    Cuisine. Fusion between Vietnamese, Mexican and of course Texan BBQ
    Makes. 4 to 6 servings
    Takes. 60 minutes prep, 60 minutes total cooking time (assuming brisket pre-cooked)

    Ingredients


    3 pounds prepared brisket point cut into 1/2” cubes
    Beef barbecue seasoning of choice
    Favorite barbecue sauce for burnt ends
    3-4 ounces’ guacamole
    8-10 – corn OR classic flour tortillas
    Lime wedges
    Hot sauce of choice

    Ingredients – Vietnamese Garnishes

    1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
    1/2 cup water
    6 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons fish sauce
    1 Thai chili (or serrano substitute) finely chopped
    1 Daikon root approx. 6”x 2” round, cut into match sticks
    3 medium sized carrots, cut into match sticks
    1 cucumber thinly sliced
    1 small sprig cilantro leaves
    1 jalapeno pepper sliced

    Directions
    1. Take the prepared brisket point and cut into 1/2” cubes for use in the tacos. Place them in a pan, drizzle with your favorite barbeque sauce and season generously. Place the pan in a smoker at 300*F and allow brisket burnt ends to tack up and get heated through. Cover with foil when finished and allow to remain warm while preparing the remaining ingredients.
    (This recipe assumes the brisket was previously prepared. To see a full write-up on how our brisket was cooked, please see that here.)
    1. Prepare the pickling liquid by combining the vinegar, water, sugar, fish sauce and pepper in a sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Once heated and combined remove from the heat and allow to cool down a bit.
    2. Once cooled but stir warm, add the carrots and Daikon root match sticks and allow to steep in the pickling liquid for about 30 minutes until softened. Remove and discard the liquid and set aside the pickled veggies.
    3. Heat the tortillas over an open flame or comal until soft and pliable. Begin building your tacos by putting a smear of guacamole spread thin at the base of the tortilla. Along one side line up about 4 cucumber slices. On the other side do the same with 3-4 burnt ends overlapping the cucumber slices.
    4. Garnish the top with several of the pickled match sticks, some cilantro sprigs and a couple of the jalapeno slices. Top off the tacos with your hot sauce to taste.
    5. Enjoy your brisket Banh Mi Viet-Tex tacos!!!
    These were batting way above expectations. The succulent and fatty brisket was cooled by the guac, cucumber and pickled veggies, cleansing the palate with each bite. The hot sauce and jalapenos reminds you that this still has a Mexican influenced bite to it!!

    Eating brisket alone will never be the same once you’ve tried a couple of these beauties!!


    Click image for larger version  Name:	brisket taco 02.jpg Views:	0 Size:	6.26 MB ID:	1090605Click image for larger version  Name:	brisket taco 04.jpg Views:	0 Size:	7.34 MB ID:	1090606Click image for larger version  Name:	brisket taco 03.jpg Views:	0 Size:	7.27 MB ID:	1090604Click image for larger version  Name:	brisket taco 06.jpg Views:	0 Size:	7.19 MB ID:	1090607

    _________________________________________________

    For my next offering I drew inspiration directly from one of the barbecue sources here in Texas, good old Tex-Mex cuisine. There’s a favorite of mine in South Austin called Valentina’s, essentially a glorified barbecue food truck. It’s owned and operated by Miguel Vidal, a pit master whose skills in Central Texas style barbecue speak for themselves. Vidal grew up in South Texas in a Tex-Mex family where barbecue in the backyard was a rite of passage. He also enjoyed the traditional Tex-Mex cooking of his mother and grandmother which stuck with him along with the barbecue. As such many of his offerings are indeed a fusion of Tex-Mex classics and CT barbecue.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Brisket Taco.jpg Views:	0 Size:	96.1 KB ID:	1090608





    In a recent interview Vidal tells the story of how growing up he was introduced to backyard barbecue by his father who insisted on passing down the craft to his son. Because of the strong Tex-Mex influences, he says his goal was to marry the flavors he grew up with to the barbecue he loves.

    He goes on to tell a story of how his father really loved to make Huevos Rancheros for breakfast and requested that from his son while visiting his food truck one day. Vidal set about combining the ingredients into a tortilla and topped it off with a slice of fresh cooked brisket. He said he served it to him and his father replied, “what is this son?”. Vidal replied, “Pop, that’s the real deal you asked for, the Real Deal Holyfield!”

    Well the story became a legend of sorts and the name, along with the taco still graces the menu at Valentina’s. Here then is the Troutman version of that Tex-Mex taco.

    The “Real Deal Holyfield” Brisket Tacos

    Course. Breakfast or Lunch
    Cuisine. Fusion between a Tex-Mex classic and Texas BBQ
    Makes. 2 servings
    Takes. 30 minutes prep, 30 minutes total cooking time (assuming brisket pre-cooked)

    Ingredients


    2 – approx. 1/2” slices of prepared smoked brisket
    2 eggs
    1 white potato chopped into small dice
    2 slices bacon
    2-3 ounces canned (or freshly made) re-fried beans
    2 – corn OR classic flour tortillas
    Lime wedges
    Hot sauce of choice

    Directions
    1. (This recipe assumes the brisket was previously prepared. To see a full write-up on how our brisket was cooked, please see that here.)
    2. To make the Huevos Rancheros, start by cubing up a white potato into small dice. Begin cooking your bacon in a large enough pan to accommodate it and the potato.
    3. Use the grease from the bacon to help crisp up the potatoes, if need be adding some additional butter or oil. Cook both until crispy and golden brown. Remove and set aside to drain on some paper towels.
    4. At the same time heat the re-fried beans in a small pan.
    5. After finishing the bacon, reserve the bacon fat to fry the eggs. Fry the eggs sunny side up (or to your liking).
    6. Re-heat the slices of brisket while waiting on the eggs to cook. Also on an open flame or a comal, heat your tortillas until warm and pliable.
    7. Start by smearing a layer of re-fried beans onto your tortilla. Top that with your fried potatoes. Then lay down a strip of bacon onto the potatoes.
    8. On top of the bacon and to one side, place your fried egg. Drape the other side and over part of the fried egg with a slice of warmed brisket.
    9. Top with your favorite hot sauce and you too have a Real Deal Holyfield to enjoy!!
    Real Deal Holyfield's will become a classic in the Troutman’s house. I ate the two tacos I prepared in the photos below and was so stuffed and satisfied, that’s about all I ate for the rest of the day!! If you love a hearty breakfast, these indeed are the Real Deal!!


    Click image for larger version  Name:	real deal holyfield 01.jpg Views:	0 Size:	6.92 MB ID:	1090610Click image for larger version  Name:	real deal holyfield 03.jpg Views:	0 Size:	5.65 MB ID:	1090609Click image for larger version  Name:	real deal holyfield 04.jpg Views:	0 Size:	7.48 MB ID:	1090611Click image for larger version  Name:	real deal holyfield 05.jpg Views:	0 Size:	7.64 MB ID:	1090612

    Thanks again for taking the time to read my series. I hope those who have never had real Mexican tacos will take the time to cook some for friends and family. I’ve come to the point where I’m going to discontinue this series for the time being. I may return to it if I get inspired with other offerings on down the line. Right now there are other items and cuisines I’d like to explore further. It’s been fun but time to move along!

    For those interested in following or have missed any of my Taco Chronicles series, here are links to previous offerings;

    Tacos de Guisado
    Tacos al Pescado
    Tacos de Chivo Birria
    Tacos al Pastor
    Tacos al Carbon
    Tacos de Barbacoa de Res

    Tacos de Cochinita Pibil
    Tacos con Tinga de Pollo
    “This is what defines Mexico (and Texas)….a Good Taco”

    Last edited by Troutman; September 9, 2021, 09:47 AM.

    #2
    Ya done did it again.

    Comment


      #3
      I think this post alone could be a book! Thanks for this.

      Comment


      • Jerod Broussard
        Jerod Broussard commented
        Editing a comment
        I didn't realize what it was, I'm reading in HTML-HELL trying to figure out what could possibly need approving. I didn't miss out on a promising IT career.

      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Huskee Yea I encountered that Spam Warning - Only a Moderator Can Access message when I went to edit the post. I'd still like to do some tweaking, is there a way to get back in?

      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        Troutman I'll check. I assume it's all the links triggering the spam alert, I'll see if I can circumvent it. You can always PM me any changes and I'd be happy to help that way.

      #4
      This, sir, is stunning.

      I have a really big problem, though. I want to bookmark this, but which folder? Barbecue, Mexican, Asian? I'll probably just go with all of the above so it's easy to find quickly.

      Thank you for a wonderful adventure in this series. So educational and such good eating.

      Comment


      • rickgregory
        rickgregory commented
        Editing a comment
        Obviously in the Barbe-Mexi-Viet folder. Jeez...

        Or just in the "DAMN, SON THAT'S TASTY" folder.

      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        File it under Troutman - Miscellaneous

      #5
      This was a fun trip, my friend, thank you for your time and sharing these wonderful recipes!! I've tried several and have been inspired by all of them.

      I find it interesting that you mention how smoked brisket can become somewhat mundane. I make a dang good one myself, but after a while it just kind of loses its luster. I mostly cook them now with something else in mind like tacos, chili, enchiladas, Shepard's pie, etc. I really like the Vietnamese fusion thing you did. No rules, baby!!
      Last edited by CaptainMike; September 8, 2021, 07:13 PM.

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        I rarely eat just slices of brisket any longer. It's always at least between two pieces of bread or a tortilla. I was going to do some enchiladas as a third recipe but I lost so much yield to this hunk due to dry aging that I ran out of brisket!!

      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Also one last thought, not too many folks are taking the time to explore dry aging bags. I gotta tell you for beef it totally transforms the meat for the better. It's a little bit of work and you have to have patience but boy does it pay off.

      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, I've been meaning to up my game in that regards, thanks for the nudge.

      #6
      Wow Troutman …After posting many of these types of cooks myself, along with magazine worthy photos and lengthy historical and descriptive commentary, I know just how much time and effort this requires! Thank you for being such a valuable and top notch contributor to The Pit. I’m honored to call you my friend.

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        You're such a tool John. If you were here I'd give you hugs and kisses Big Boy !!!

      • Panhead John
        Panhead John commented
        Editing a comment
        No tongue though!

      • ofelles
        ofelles commented
        Editing a comment
        Man I'm glad I put on my wading boots before I read this post.

      #7
      Troutman - Out of the park again!

      You need to turn your taco adventures into a book!

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        I've got almost 150 recipes either written or partially so. Some aren't worth a plug nickel, some are repeats of the same thing but I bet there are close to 75 I could throw down. So difficult to go through editing, initial expenses and time to put a cookbook together but it's been on my mind for at least 2 years now. Thanks for the thought Jim, who knows maybe a project in retirement.

      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        Troutman I just feel you have a true gift in the way you write up these recipes, and your photography just adds to it. If you pursue the eBook format, maybe it wouldn't have a lot of up-front cost.

      #8
      Just amazing what you can do with a bent tortilla.

      BTW, I tried to make tacos from Baby Back Ribs, but I bit into a bone and nearly broke my tooth.


      For some reason, the finale comes at the end, or just before an encore.
      Last edited by bbqLuv; September 9, 2021, 01:34 PM.

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Then consider this the encore

      #9
      Great finale to the series!

      Comment


      • Troutman
        Troutman commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks, it was a lot of work but it's that joy of cooking thing.

      #10
      Maestro!

      Comment


        #11
        You did a great job with this post. Thank you.

        I've been happily eating brisket boa here for a few years. And bao made with burnt ends, as well as pork belly, is a common treat for the wife and I.

        One thing good about the Orlando, FL area is the huge Vietnamese population. We have more than our share of Vietnamese restaurants and markets and much of it is older, more traditional food from various regions of Vietnam. There are also a decent number of bakeries and pastry shops that make bao and Bahn mi bread every day.

        Thanks for all your hard work.

        Comment


          #12
          Thanks for the terrific write ups. I've been thinking a lot about fusion BBQ recently and taking trips to Chinatown for research. Along the way I can hit up flavors from Latin American, India, the Middle East and West Africa.

          One of my favorite finds are frozen Chinese pancakes/crepes from H-Mart. They can be used a "tortilla" and would great complement to the fusion Q thoughts you are working with right now.


          Comment


            #13
            Thank you so much for another inspiring post. It rang true as soon as I started reading it. I have been saying to my wife for the last 2 years that I would like to use my passion for bbq and my culinary school training to try some fusion dishes. I'm hoping to retire early next year and set some time aside to do just that! This post has strengthened my resolve! Thank you!

            Comment


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              Awesome, kindred spirit !!👍

            • efincoop
              efincoop commented
              Editing a comment
              Indeed! Fuze on!

            #14
            Bkhuna Isn't immigration great! In WA state there is also a large Vietnamese population, thanks to Gov Dan Evans stepping up in the 1970s. Great citizens, great food, and you've got to love the fusion of French & Asian cuisine (hence the baguette part of the Bahn Mi.)

            https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion...-for-refugees/

            Comment


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              Yea I think there’s about 250,000 Viets in SoCal but outside of there Houston is next, along with Chinese, Thais, Filipinos, etc. Every ethnicity on the planet is here. Makes for an awesome culinary mix!!

            #15
            I do not know where to begin...........I will revisit this later today to give this post its due. Thank you for taking the time to do all of this, Troutman.

            Comment


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks Spin, that means a lot !!!

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