Recipe of the Week: How to make Valentina's brisket breakfast taco at home
Breakfast tacos can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them.
On hurried mornings, a quickly scrambled egg in an even more quickly heated flour tortilla will get the job done, but if you're Steve Raichlen, you might fry those eggs in brisket butter, made from rendered brisket fat, and top them with potatoes, refried beans and slices of leftover brisket.
His spin on the quintessential Austin breakfast, which appears in his newest book, "The Brisket Chronicles," came from Valentina's owner Miguel Vidal, who serves a brisket-topped taco at his Tex Mex barbecue restaurant in South Austin.
In the book, Raichlen explains that Vidal, who grew up in San Antonio, uses mesquite wood to give his barbecue an even more pronounced smokiness, and that flavor carries over into the breakfast menu on dishes like this taco, called the Real Deal Holyfield. You can cook the eggs any way you like, including scrambled, which is my favorite for breakfast tacos, but Raichlen's method of heating up each element before assembling the tacos will ensure that they are warm when it's time to eat. It's a great way to use up any leftover brisket you might have from the long holiday weekend.
Real Deal Holyfield Brisket Breakfast Tacos
Like much Tex-Mex street food, the Real Deal Holyfield features commonplace ingredients — tortillas, eggs, potatoes, refried beans and salsa — staples of Mexican American cooking. But it takes a little choreography to put them together for breakfast. I’ve tried to streamline the recipe to the point where you can make it in a single frying pan. (You keep the various components warm on a rimmed sheet pan in the oven.) You’ll need some leftover barbecued brisket and a large cooked potato. A purist would make the tortillas, refried beans and salsa from scratch, but your favorite commercial versions deliver a pretty awesome breakfast, too. The recipe can be multiplied to make as many tacos as you need.
— Steven Raichlen
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
4 slices barbecued brisket (about 1/2 pound total)
1 baked or boiled russet potato, cut into 1/4-inch dice (or use whatever cooked potato you might have on hand)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 flour or white corn tortillas
4 large eggs
1 cup warm refried beans, store-bought or homemade
1 cup salsa
1/4 thinly sliced scallion greens
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Warm the brisket slices, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a rimmed sheet pan and keep warm.
Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet. Add the potatoes and pan-fry, stirring with a spatula, until hot, browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the sheet pan with the brisket and keep warm.
Warm the tortillas in the skillet, 30 seconds per side. (Alternatively, warm the tortillas on your grill.) Transfer to the sheet pan with the brisket and potatoes and keep warm. You’ll need at least 2 tablespoons of fat in the skillet to fry the eggs. If enough butter remains in the skillet, heat it over a medium-high flame; if not, add butter to equal 2 tablespoons. When the fat starts sizzling, crack in the eggs. Fry until cooked to taste, either sunny-side up, over easy or even scrambled.
Assemble the tacos: Lay a tortilla on a place. Spread it with a quarter of the refried beans. Top with a quarter of the fried potatoes and a slice of brisket. Place an egg on top and sprinkle with a quarter of the scallion greens. Assemble the remaining tacos the same way. Serve with remaining salsa on the side.
— From "The Brisket Chronicles: How to Barbecue, Braise, Smoke, and Cure the World's Most Epic Cut of Meat" by Steven Raichlen (Workman, $19.95)