Who doesn’t love brisket? Picky children, maybe. But never fear. Steven Raichlen, author of “The Brisket Chronicles: How to Barbecue, Braise, Smoke, and Cure the World’s Most Epic Cut of Meat,” shared two recipes your whole family will love. See them below, and check out our interview here.
Makes about 100 tots; serves 8 to 12 as a starter. Prep time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: About 25 minutes.
- 2½ pounds baking potatoes (3 to 4 potatoes), scrubbed and unpeeled
- Sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra as needed
- 2 tablespoons potato starch, plus extra for dusting your work surface
- 1 large egg (preferably farm-fresh and organic), beaten with a fork
- 2 cups finely diced or chopped barbecued brisket (about ½ pound)
- 2 cups coarsely grated cheddar cheese
- 2 scallions, trimmed, white part minced, green part thinly sliced on a sharp diagonal and set aside for garnish (optional)
- About 2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- Place the potatoes in a large pot with 1 teaspoon salt and water to cover by a depth of 3 inches. Briskly simmer the potatoes over medium-high heat until just tender when pierced with a bamboo skewer, 12 to 18 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander. When cool enough to handle, slip off and discard the skins.
- Grate the potatoes on the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. (Alternatively, use a food processor fitted with a grating disk. Do not use a chopping blade.)
- Sprinkle the potatoes with 1½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons potato starch. Gently fold to mix. Fold in the beaten egg, brisket, cheese and scallion whites (be careful not to over-fold or the tots will be gummy). Correct the seasoning, adding salt and/or pepper to taste.
- Form the tots as you would gnocchi. That is, lightly dust your work surface with potato starch. Take a 4-ounce piece of the potato mixture (about the size of a lemon) and roll it into a rope about 12 inches long and ½-inch thick. Cut it crosswise into 1½-inch pieces. Continue rolling and cutting the potato mixture until all is used up. The tots can be formed several hours ahead and stored in the refrigerator on a sheet pan lined and covered with plastic wrap.
- Just before serving, pour oil into a deep frying pan or heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium-high heat. Fry the tots in batches (don’t crowd the pan) until golden brown on all sides, turning with a skimmer or slotted spoon, 4 to 6 minutes in all. Transfer the tots to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Continue frying until all the potato mixture is used up.
- Sprinkle the tots with the scallion greens, if using, and serve immediately.
Real Deal Holyfield Brisket Breakfast Tacos
From Raichlen: “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 as you desire—given the setup, it’s easier (or at least more efficient) to make breakfast tacos for many people rather than just a few.”
Real Deal Holyfield Brisket Breakfast Tacos
Serves 4. Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 4 slices barbecued brisket (each slice ¼-inch thick; about half a pound total)
- 1 baked or boiled russet (baking) potato, cut into ¼-inch dice (use whatever cooked potato you might have on hand)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 flour or white corn tortillas (each 6 inches in diameter)
- 4 large eggs (preferably farm-fresh and organic)
- 1 cup warm refried beans, canned or homemade
- 1 cup Gangsta Salsa (recipe follows), or your favorite salsa
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallion greens
- Preheat the oven to 250°F.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter 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 in the oven.
- Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the 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 or oil to equal 2 tablespoons. When the fat starts sizzling, crack in the eggs. Fry until cooked to taste, 2 to 3 minutes on one side if you like them sunny-side up, or 2 minutes per side for over easy.
- Assemble the tacos: Lay a tortilla on a plate. Spread it with a quarter of the refried beans. Top with a quarter of the fried potatoes and a slice of brisket. Slide an egg on top. Spoon salsa on top and sprinkle with a quarter of the scallion greens. Assemble the remaining tacos the same way. Serve the tacos open-face, with any remaining salsa on the side.
Makes 2 cups.
- 2 large tomatoes, stemmed and cut in half widthwise
- 2 large tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half widthwise (or more tomatoes)
- ½ small onion, peeled and halved
- 3 serrano chiles, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise (for milder salsa, remove the seeds)
- 1 habanero chile, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise (for milder salsa, remove the seeds)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Coarse sea salt
- If using a smoker for this recipe, set it up following the manufacturer’s instructions and heat to 275°F. Alternatively, set up your grill for indirect grilling and heat to medium-low.
- Arrange the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion and chiles, cut sides up, in foil pans. Place in the smoker or away from the heat on the grill. If using a grill, add 1 cup unsoaked wood chips or 2 wood chunks to the coals. Cover and smoke the veggies until they are just beginning to soften, 20 minutes. Keep some crispness—the vegetables should remain raw in the center. Let cool.
- Cut the veggies into 1-inch cubes and place in a food processor. Purée as coarsely or smoothly as you desire. Work in the lime juice, cilantro and salt to taste. The salsa should be highly seasoned.
- Transfer the salsa to a serving dish or bowl. Serve at once, or cover and refrigerate—it will keep for several days.