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Slow-Cooked Brisket Tortas with Roasted Poblanos and Smoky Chipotle Salsa

Slow-Cooked Brisket Tortas with Roasted Poblanos and Smoky Chipotle Salsa

  • Yield: 8 to10 large tortas or lots and lots of tacos


  • One 5-pound portion of brisket
  • 10 large cloves garlic, halved
  • Chilpotle Mexican Hot Sauce, such as Bufalo, or your favorite chipotle hot sauce
  • 3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, crushed between your fingers
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Zatarain’s liquid crab boil
  • Juice of 1 lime, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • For garnishing:

  • Soft rolls, such as bolillo rolls or torta rolls (or soft tortillas for tacos)
  • Chunky Guacamole
  • Smokey Chipotle Salsa
  • Charred Tomatillo Salsa
  • Charred jalapenos or poblanos, skin removed, seeded and cut into strips
  • Finely shaved cabbage
  • Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • Mexican crema
  • Chopped or shaved red onion


  • Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, make 20 evenly spaced slits all over the brisket and slip one piece of garlic into each slit. Drizzle a drop or two of the hot sauce into each slit, then season the brisket on all sides with the kosher salt and black pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil until very hot. Sear the brisket on both sides until deeply browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a slow cooker. 

    To the drippings in the hot skillet, add the onion, bay leaves, cumin, and oregano and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chiles in adobo and cook until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, 2 minutes longer. Spoon the onion mixture over the brisket. Stir the crab boil into the beef broth and pour over the brisket. Set the slow cooker to high and cook until the meat is quite tender and easily pulls apart, 6 to 8 hours. Remove the brisket from the slow cooker and set aside until cool. .

    When the liquid has cooled somewhat, skim any excess fat off of the top and discard. Using an immersion blender, process until sauce is mostly smooth. Sauce may be reduced further if it is too thin. Add hot sauce and lime juice to taste, then stir in the cilantro. 

    Using a sharp knife, slice the meat across the grain into thin slices. This is easier to do when the meat has cooled completely. (Alternatively, the brisket may also be pulled into shreds if desired.) Place the sliced meat into a baking dish and spoon the sauce over the meat for reheating, or use immediately. (If necessary, reheat the beef in a low oven or over indirect heat on a grill.)

    Serve on warm rolls or with tortillas, garnished as desired with any or all of the following:  salsa, guacamole, roasted chiles, shaved cabbage, shredded cheese, crema, shaved onion, and cilantro.

Recipe Details