The Simple Plate

Brisket Carnita Tacos

This is a recipe I shared several months ago on the website that I’ve since altered to be cooked in a dutch oven and made changes to the recipe. This is one of my family’s all time favorite meals. Who doesn’t love a good taco, right? And nothing beats the sweet and tangy flavor of the carnita inspired sauce or the tender brisket meat in these tacos. The sauce reduces down and is thickened with masa flour, which adds such a depth of flavor to the sauce that I thought was missing from before. It takes a little time to cook these, brisket being a tougher cut, and the braising in a dutch oven method did such a better service to both the sauce and meat. This recipe makes the perfect amount for 3-4 people, but if you wanted to cook a larger cut for a party you could (provided you have a pot big enough)! If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can use standard cookware, but it may effect the cook time. More moisture will be allowed to escape via a standard cookware lid, whereas a Dutch Oven’s lid traps the moisture helping to tenderize the meat. Once removed and the moisture is allowed to evaporate, it cooks the sauce down. So if using a standard pot, just be aware you may have to add additional liquid and cook slightly longer on the covered portion.

Brisket Carnitas Tacos


2-3 pounds brisket meat

1 can tomato paste

3 ½ cups beef broth

2 Naval Oranges, juiced

1 lime, juiced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 tsp cumin

2 ½  tsp kosher salt + more for salting brisket

1 ½ tsp oregano

½ tsp cracked pepper + more for seasoning brisket

¼ tsp red chili flakes

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbs masa flour

Cotija Cheese, crumbled (optional)

Lime Wedges (optional)

Cilantro (optional)

Olive Oil (for searing)

How to:

  1. First, prepare the braising mixture by juicing your oranges and lime into a small bowl along with the red chili flakes, oregano, garlic, cumin, chopped onion, salt, pepper, garlic, and beef broth. Whisk in the tomato paste until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Then, heat a large Dutch oven to a high heat with a bit of oil on the bottom. Allow this to come to temperature as you rub the cut of brisket with the salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Once the Dutch oven has preheated, take your brisket and carefully lay it in the hot oil. Sear on all sides for 4-6 minutes, or until a brown crust forms.
  4. Now, you’re going to pour the liquid mixture over the brisket. Make sure brisket is fat cap side up. Depending on the size of your brisket, you may need to add more broth. You want the entire brisket to be just covered with the liquid. Allow the liquid to come up to a hard simmer, cover with the Dutch oven lid, and reduce to a low-medium heat. Cook, covered, for two hours.
  5. After the meat has cooked for 2 hrs, remove the lid from the pot and stir the liquid. Let it cook uncovered an additional hour. The liquid should reduce greatly during this time as the steam is allowed to escape.
  6. Afterwards, remove the brisket to rest. Let the liquid to continue to cook on a medium heat for 10-15 min as the brisket cools.
  7. Next, whisk the masa flour into the remaining liquid and cook for 5 min before removing from the heat. It should form a thick sauce.
  8. Roughly chop the brisket meat and add back into the sauce. Toss to cover. Serve in corn tortillas and sprinkle with cotija cheese, lime wedges, cilantro, onion, or any other toppings

Note: If you are using a larger cut of brisket than the recipe lists, you will need to increase the amount of cook time and amount of liquid. The Brisket should be tender before removing from braising liquid. Adjust seasoning to taste.

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