• Braised Brisket Torta with Tamarind Salsa


The Ultimate Brisket Sandwich

By Andrew Zimmern

I encourage you to buy a whole brisket. It may seem daunting, but with a few tips and the right knives, you’ll be able to conquer trimming. cooking and slicing like a pro. I like a whole brisket because the fat helps to keep it moist. I like to cook a whole brisket because it can feed an army… with leftovers. I also buy whole briskets because I can cube up a couple pounds to throw in the freezer for a snowy day when I have a hankering for stew. With a whole brisket, it’s important that you trim off any extraneous fat, leaving a 1/4 -inch layer over the top to insulate the meat while it cooks. A nice slicing knife makes the job a breeze.

Today, I’m using the brisket to make delicious tortas. I stuff bolillo rolls with tender slices of brisket, topped with pickled onions, cilantro, queso Oaxaca and a spicy, fruity tamarind salsa. Lots of leftover meat? I have you covered. Try this brisket chili, brisket sandwiches, brisket hash, or how about brisket nachos? And if you just want a classic holiday-style brisket, I guarantee my grandmother’s recipe will be a winner.


Knives Used:

Classic Hollow Ground Brisket Knife

Shun Brisket Knife

The Shun Classic Hollow Ground Brisket Knife is the perfect tool for a barbeque or family feast. It’s ideal for trimming and slicing larger cuts of meat, including brisket, ham, turkey, and roasts. The Shun Classic Hollow Ground Brisket Knife’s long, narrow blade makes it easy to cut slices in a single pass to ensure more of the juices—and flavor—stay inside the meat.

Braised Brisket Torta with Tamarind Salsa


  • 8-12 pound whole brisket
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 1 quart beef broth

To serve

  • Pickled onions (recipe below)
  • Tamarind Salsa (recipe below)
  • Oaxacan cheese, shredded
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Bolillo or other similar sandwich rolls


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Allow the brisket to come to room temperature. Trim excess fat, leaving about a 1/4-inch thick layer on top. Season brisket with salt, pepper, oregano, chile powder and cumin. Add a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil to a large griddle or in a large roasting pan. Brown the brisket on both sides. Remove from pan.

Caramelize the onions in the roasting pan you will braise the brisket in. Place the brisket on top of the onions and add the quart of broth.

Bring to a boil and tent with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and lower the heat to 325 degrees F. Cook for 5 to 6 hours, depending on how large your brisket was. When tender, let rest for 30-45 minutes. Reserve some of the braised onions to go on the sandwich.

Slice the brisket against the grain. Build your torta on toasted bolillo from a local panaderia or bakery. I like to add slices of brisket from both the flat and the nose, topped with Oaxacan shredded cheese, the tamarind salsa, sliced pickled red onions, and cilantro.

Pickled onions

  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 red onions, peeled, halved and sliced thin
  • 4 Serrano chiles, sliced thin
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin

Combine the vinegar and sugar, stir to dissolve. Place the chiles, onions and carrot slices in a mason jar. Cover with the liquid and refrigerate for 36 hours before serving.

Tamarind Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 chipotles in adobo, with a few tablespoons of the sauce from the can
  • 8 ounces package seedless tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

Preheat the broiler to high.

In a sauté pan, add the oil tomatoes, garlic and onion. Toss to coat the vegetables in the oil. Blister them under a broiler. You want some nice char!

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree.

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