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Smoked Brisket Tacos

Photo courtesy of Tamayo
From: Chef Richard Sandoval, Tamayo, Denver. Yield: 4 servings.

3 Tbsp. canola oil
4 lb. brisket, trimmed of excess fat
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
4 dried ancho chiles, seeds removed
1 cup guava puree
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
enough water to cover the brisket
2 cups wood chips, soaked in water overnight
1 head napa cabbage, shredded
2 oz. chipotle rouille
juice of ½ half lime
to taste, salt
2 avocados, cut into 12 slices
as needed, tortillas
as needed for garnish, pickled onions

Chipotle Rouille:
2 cups mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. chipotle puree (canned chipotles in adobo pureed in blender)
1 Tbsp. honey
juice of 1 lime

Pickled Onions:
1 small red onion, sliced paper-thin
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. habanero salsa of choice (optional)

For brisket: Bring a large sauté pan to high heat on the stove (pan should be large enough for brisket to fit into, or you may need to cut brisket in half). Season brisket aggressively with salt; add oil to the pan. Brown brisket thoroughly on both sides, then remove to rest. Meanwhile, add onion, garlic, celery, carrot and ancho chiles to the pan and cook until caramelized. Add guava puree to the pan and cook for an additional minute.

In a large roasting pan, place brisket, the vegetables, vinegar and enough water to cover brisket. Cover pan with aluminum foil and place into a 350°F oven. Cook for 4 to 5 hours, or until brisket is tender. Remove pan from  heat and strain brisket and vegetables, reserving the sauce. Discard vegetables and return braising liquid to  sauce pan to reduce to thicken.

While sauce is reducing, place brisket into a smoker with the wood chips and smoke for about an hour, or until smoky flavor is imparted. Shred warm smoked brisket with a fork and add to the reduced braising liquid.

In a large mixing bowl, combine  cabbage, rouille, lime juice and salt. Toss to combine.

For chipotle rouille: Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Reserve in refrigerator.

For pickled onions: Place onions into a large bowl and toss with the salt and sugar. Let marinate for about an hour at room temperature. After an hour, strain off liquid from this and add vinegar and habanero salsa. Reserve in refrigerator.

To plate: Place equal amounts of smoked brisket into each tortilla and top with the slaw. Finish each taco with the cabbage slaw, sliced avocado and pickled onions. Serve immediately.

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