Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crock Pot BBQ Beef Tacos

Back in September, Drew and I went to a small town festival in Celina, Texas – the Celina Balloon Festival (as in hot air balloons, not the blow up birthday kind.) It was a HOT and sunny day accompanied, fortunately, by a brisk breeze. The wind prevented the hot air balloons from launching, which was a bit of a bummer, but the festival featured a classic car show, which was a lot of fun for me as a first timer, and wonderful for Drew who drooled over most of the cars. All good festivals are sure to feature tasty food and we were not disappointed! Searching for a food truck serving gluten free food is nearly impossible, so I got tacos, hold the shell and just give me the stuff that goes inside. Drew picked out barbeque brisket tacos that were delicious! I took a bite and thought aloud, “I bet I could make this.” Drew’s skeptical response was, “You can’t really do something like this without a smoker or grill.”

Oh, yeah? Really? GAME ON. Me and my crock pot got this.

Going back to my historian roots, I did a lot of research, read a lot of recipes, and came up with my own strategy for replicating the tacos.

The apartment was filled with the summery smell of smokey barbeque sauce, and like any slow cooker recipe, the hardest part of making this meal is waiting for it to be done!

In the end, Drew was very impressed with the results. Dare I say that we thought my version was even better than the tacos at the festival?

An arctic chill seems to have taken over most of the country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the flavors of summer! In fact, this warm, tangy, melt-in-your-mouth meal might be just the comfort food you need to get you through this installment of the polar vortex.

Here is what you need:

A 2-4 pound hunk of meat – I like to look for a brisket, chuck roast, tri tip loin, etc. anything with a decent amount of fat will do. Brisket has given me the best "pulled" finish, whereas with the others, you have to cut them up into small cubes, which is still tasty!
½ cup bbq sauce – I have been using Stubbs Smokey Mesquite – choose your favorite!
½ cup apple cider vinegar
a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
one can of Coke – make sure it is REGULAR! The sugars in real Coke help tenderize the meal. The artificial chemical junk in Diet Coke just won’t work.
one onion, sliced
one clove minced garlic

Here is what you do:

Season the hunk o’ meat with salt and pepper (you could also sub Montreal Steak Seasoning in place of the salt and pepper). Place the meat into the crock pot with the fat side up if possible. Place the sliced onions on top. Mix all the liquid ingredients and minced garlic and pour the mixture over the meat. Cook on low for 6 hours. Wait. It will smell delicious and you will want to pick up the lid every five minutes, but be patient and wait. Get out of the house if you have to! After the 6 hours are up, take out the meat and onions and discard the cooking liquid. Shred the meat and put it back into the crock pot. Add in more bbq sauce and cook for one more hour. 

We like to serve this with broccoli slaw, sour cream, cheese, and corn taco tortillas, but it would be great with rice, on buns, or even on top of a green salad! It doesn’t really matter how you eat it, just eat it and enjoy!

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