Real Deal Holyfield Brisket Breakfast Tacos
Food and Drink

Excerpted from The Brisket Chronicles by Steven Raichlen, photographs by Matthew Benson. Workman Publishing ©2019

Real Deal Holyfield Brisket Breakfast Tacos

"A streamlined recipe keeping components warm in the oven while using a single frying pan. Given the setup, it’s easier (or at least more efficient) to make breakfast tacos for many people rather than just a few."

Steven Raichlen
Prep: 20 minutes Cooking: 20 minutes Serves: 4


2 tablespoons butter, olive oil, or Brisket Butter

4 slices barbecued brisket (each slice ¼-inch thick; about 1/2 pound total)

1 baked or boiled russet (baking) potato, cut into 1/4-inch dice sizes

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 flour or white corn tortillas (6-inch diameter)

4 large eggs (preferably farm-fresh and organic)

1 cup warm refried beans, canned or homemade

1 cup Gangsta Salsa (recipe follows) or your favorite salsa

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Warm the brisket slices, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a rimmed sheet pan and keep warm in the oven.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add the potatoes and pan-fry, stirring with a spatula, until hot, browned and crisp, 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the sheet pan with the brisket and keep warm.

Warm the tortillas in the skillet (or grill), 30 seconds per side. Transfer to the sheet pan with the brisket and potatoes to keep warm.

You’ll need at least 2 tablespoons of fat in the skillet to fry the eggs. If enough butter remains in the skillet, heat it over a medium-high flame; if not, add butter, oil, or brisket butter to equal 2 tablespoons. When the fat starts sizzling, crack in the eggs. Fry until cooked to taste, 2–3 minutes on one side if you like them sunny-side up, or 2 minutes per side for over easy.

Assemble the tacos. Lay a tortilla on a plate. Spread it with a quarter of the refried beans. Top with a quarter of the fried potatoes and a slice of brisket. Slide an egg on top. Spoon salsa on top and sprinkle with a quarter of the scallion greens. Assemble the remaining tacos the same way. Serve the tacos open-face, with any remaining salsa on the side.

Gangsta Salsa


Makes: 2 cups


“This pyrotechnic salsa shows how Miguel Vidal blends Tex-Mex with Hill Country barbecue. He cooks the veggies in the smoker—long enough to infuse them with mesquite smoke, but short enough to keep their vegetal crunch. You can certainly smoke the vegetables ahead of time at a previous smoke or grill session.” — Steven Raichlen


2 large tomatoes, stemmed and cut in half widthwise

2 large tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and cut in half widthwise (or more tomatoes)

1/2 small onion, peeled and halved

3 serrano chiles, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise (for milder salsa, remove the seeds)

1 habanero chile, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise (for milder salsa, remove the seeds)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

coarse sea salt

If using a smoker for this recipe, set it up following the manufacturer’s instructions and heat to 275°F. Alternatively, set up your grill for indirect grilling and heat to medium-low.

Arrange the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, and chiles, cut sides up, in foil pans. Place in the smoker or away from the heat on the grill. If using a grill, add 1 cup unsoaked wood chips or 2 wood chunks to the coals. Cover and smoke the veggies until they are just beginning to soften, 20 minutes. Keep some crispness—the vegetables should remain raw in the center. Let cool.

Cut the veggies into 1-inch cubes and place in a food processor. Puree as coarsely or smoothly as you desire. Work in the lime juice, cilantro, and salt to taste. The salsa should be highly seasoned.

Transfer the salsa to a serving dish or bowl. Serve at once or cover and refrigerate—it will keep for several days.