Brisket is a cut of beef or veal that comes from the breast or lower chest areas of the cow. Because cows have no collarbones, these muscles support around 60% of the cow’s body weight, and are therefore very strong muscles, which can make the meat very tough. Because this cut of beef is a very tough cut of meat, it needs to be cooked properly. The best way to cook a brisket is in a long, slow cooking process, usually requiring liquids of some sort to keep the meat moist and tender throughout the cooking process. There are many different ways to cook a brisket, and every culture has it’s own specific way of preparing this very popular cut of beef. Here in the United States, and particularly in areas where BBQ is a way of life, a smoked, slow cooked cooking method has the best results, and therefore the best flavor. Brisket is a staple in the diet of Texans, and has been a part of the Texas culture since the times of the Indigenous Indians who lived in the Southern parts of Texas. Brisket is a part of every Texan’s BBQ repertoire, as well as all the other BBQ hotspots in the United States.
When we had our friends Priscilla and Jonathon over, Our Colorado Gaucho Grill, brisket was part of our festive menu as well. We are still finishing up that large piece of meat, using it up in many different ways. We froze what we could not eat at the time, and slowly have been taking out more as needed. I think we have finally finished this brisket off.
We eat a lot of salads in the summer and a lot of different varieties of salads are on our summer menu. We love Southwestern foods, and I made a Southwestern Brisket salad with tomato-jalapeno vinaigrette to go with it. It was quick and easy to make as well as being cool and refreshing to eat. It was a win/win, particularly while eaten and enjoyed out on our beloved deck, with a glass or two of a smooth red blend to complete the meal.
I always make each of our salads slightly different, because we both have different tastes. Larry is a big cheese eater, and I am not. I love avocados, Larry doesn’t. I like variety and texture, whereas Larry, not so much. As with all of my recipes, make things the way YOU like them, since after all, you are the one who is going to be eating and enjoying the meal. I only offer suggestions and my own preferences.
Southwestern Brisket Salad with a Tomato-Jalapeno Vinaigrette
2 cups shredded lettuce
1/4-1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
1/2 cup shredded jalapeno cheddar cheese, or favorite cheese, or as much or as little as you like
1 tomato, diced small
1 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup cooked corn
1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
1 lb cooked brisket, shredded
fried tortilla strips
hard boiled eggs, sliced thin – optional
Layer all the ingredients on your salad as you like, and top with the fried tortilla strips and chopped cilantro. Then add the dressing. You can make this salad in layers, or toss everything together. Either way, it all tastes great.
To cook the tortilla strips, cut a tortilla, corn or flour, into very thin strips and cook in hot oil. This will only take about a minute. Don;t over cook the tortilla strips or they will burn. Once they are done, immediately remove them from the hot oil and toss with salt.
I use my food processor almost as much as I use my chef’s knife. Both are vital tools in my kitchen, and as you can see, my food processor is WELL USED. I have another one, but I refuse to give this one up until I absolutely have too. My food processor has to be close to 30 years old. It was a gift from my late mother, so it has a lot of sentimentality to me. I will only stop using it when it is on its last legs and can process no more. But I digress …..
1 heaping TBSP garlic
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large jalapeno
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 tsp chocolate chili spice – optional
1 tsp oregano
2 TBSP cilantro
Place everything in the food processor and blend until everything becomes a liquid. Chill before using.
When it’s time to eat, top your salad with the dressing, then sit back, relax, and enjoy your Southwestern brisket salad.