In my world, there are two kinds of brisket. As a certified BBQ judge, I see competition brisket. It’s always presented in thin slices, artfully arranged in a styrofoam box, like the photo to my right. This is the standard presentation for brisket and there is very little deviation if you want to get a good score (to my BBQ friends, yes I know this is a raggedy looking box, but it’s the only one I could find on Google images that looked similar to what you see in competition).
HOWEVER, anyone who’s cooked brisket knows there’s a tastier way to prepare it. It involves cooking the meat until it’s really tender and falls apart. At a Southern Heritage event in Franklin last summer, Tony Stone, the former president of the Kansas City Barbecue Society and a thoroughly stand-up guy, cooked brisket the way people actually like to eat it and it flew out of our booth. At the end of the festival, one guy came back and bought a whole pan of the stuff.
So when I’m home and there’s nobody here to make fun of me, I cook brisket the way I like it. There are plenty of recipes. Here’s one from Ina Garten if you want to try it.
The only problem with brisket is its size. It’s huge. There’s no way to cook just a little bit of brisket. But here’s what I do and I like the results better than the actual brisket out of the oven or smoker. After you make your brisket and have it for supper, cut the rest into chunks and freeze it. After you thaw it out, just cut it into small pieces. You might notice in the photo to my left that the fat cap characteristic of brisket is still on the meat. You might be tempted to trim this off, but DON’T DO IT! Fat is what? I can’t hear you! Yes, that’s right. Fat is flavor.
After you chop the meat up, throw it in a skillet with some caramelized onions (cooked really slowly with some vegetable oil) and, here’s the trick, barbecue sauce. Any will do. I have about 875 different bottles of barbecue sauce hanging around my house right now. Add more sauce than you think you’ll need. You want this to be sloppy.
Now, get you some tortillas and heat them up in another skillet with a little oil. Put the brisket mixture on half the tortilla, top with any cheese (I blush to say my favorite, Velveeta, works really good in this – the slices not the chunks). Fold the tortilla over and cook it on both sides until it’s crispy and brown. You will know you have achieved perfection when the grease runs out the edge of the tortilla while you’re eating it.