Brisket Tacos Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 15 min. + marinating Cook: 8 hours
Brisket tacos are perfect for tailgates, family get-togethers and potlucks. Use a slow cooker to make tender beef brisket. Then, set out your favorite toppings for DIY tacos.

Updated: Apr. 03, 2024

Beef brisket tacos are a serious upgrade from the ground beef tacos that I grew up with. The tender strands of pulled brisket get their smoky, subtly sweet flavor from an overnight marinade. That marinade doubles as the cooking liquid, resulting in deeply flavorful juices that keep the shredded brisket moist. Put it together with soft tortillas and your favorite taco toppings, and you have a winning dish for taco night.

We make the brisket from scratch in a slow cooker. If you happen to have leftover barbecue brisket or slow-cooker brisket, you can shred them and wrap them up in tortillas, too.

Ingredients for Brisket Tacos

Ingredients for Brisket TacosTMB Studio

  • Beef brisket: There are two cuts of brisket: the flat cut and the point cut. Either works in this taco recipe. Just make sure you come home with a fresh brisket, not corned beef.
  • Beer: Beer contains enzymes that help tenderize the tough brisket. If you’re new to cooking with beer, reach for a light beer. It adds less flavor than a bold dark beer. Nonalcoholic beers also work. Just be sure to avoid hoppy beers because they can make the brisket taste bitter.
  • Brisket marinade: Our Test Kitchen used Claude’s Barbeque Brisket Marinade Sauce, which contains liquid smoke, vinegar, chiles, sugar, molasses and spices—everything you need to make a brisket taste incredible. If you can’t find it, use barbecue sauce or a homemade marinade for beef brisket.
  • Corn tortillas: This recipe calls for corn tortillas, but you can substitute flour tortillas if you prefer. To make the dish extra special, make your own corn tortillas or flour tortillas.


Step 1: Marinate the brisket overnight

Brisket Marinating in a bowlTMB Studio

In a bowl or shallow dish, combine the beer, brisket marinade, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Add the brisket and turn it to coat. Cover and refrigerate it overnight.

Step 2: Slow-cook the brisket

Slow cooking Brisket in slow cookerTMB Studio

Transfer the brisket and marinade to a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low until it’s tender, 8 to 10 hours.

Step 3: Shred the brisket

Shredding the brisket with forks on chopping boardTMB Studio

Remove the meat from the slow cooker. Reserve the juices in the slow cooker, but discard the bay leaves. When the brisket is cool enough to handle, shred the meat with two forks.

Cooking shredded brisket in slow cooker TMB Studio

Return the shredded brisket to the slow cooker.

Editor’s Tip: You can keep the brisket warm in the slow cooker for up to two hours. Just make sure the temperature stays above 135°F.

Step 4: Assemble the brisket tacos

Using tongs, serve the shredded brisket on tortillas with a variety of toppings, like shredded cheddar and sliced jalapenos.

Editor’s Tip: Warm the tortillas in the microwave or a hot skillet to make them more pliable.

Brisket Tacos topped with lemon, jalapeños and cheese and served on plate TMB Studio

What do you put on brisket tacos?

There are so many great toppings for brisket tacos that you can choose to mix up the flavor and texture. Toppings also create a fun display for DIY taco bars at parties.

  • Make them cheesy: Use a melting cheese like shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack, or opt for a crumbly cheese like cotija.
  • Add a creamy texture: Serve tacos with sliced avocado or homemade guacamole. For a cool, tangy flavor, try a dollop of sour cream, media crema table cream or Greek yogurt.
  • Have fun with salsa: You can’t go wrong with a homemade salsa like roasted corn salsa, pico de gallo or salsa verde.
  • Include some crunch: Add texture with finely chopped lettuce, shredded cabbage or crunchy coleslaw.
  • Add fresh flavor: Serve the tacos with chopped tomatoes, lime wedges and cilantro. Some people don’t care for cilantro, so we usually leave it on the side.
  • Include onions: Chopped onions and pickled red onions are classic toppings for tacos. For a tamer flavor, use green onions instead.
  • Get spicy: Amp up the spice with fresh, roasted or pickled jalapenos. A bit of hot sauce or hot salsa is never a bad idea, either.

Can you make this brisket taco recipe ahead of time?

You can slow-cook the brisket in advance, but it’s not a good idea to assemble the tacos ahead of time. You’ll end up with soggy tortillas! Store the brisket with its cooking juices in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to four days in the fridge, or up to three months in the freezer.

How to Reheat Brisket for Tacos

Reheat brisket in a covered pan over low heat on the stovetop. Add water, cooking juices or barbecue sauce to the meat to keep it from drying out. The brisket is ready to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°.

Brisket Tacos Tips

Brisket Tacos topped with lemon, jalapeños and cheese and served on plateTMB Studio

What do you serve with brisket tacos?

Serve brisket tacos with cilantro lime rice, refried beans and a fresh salad like corn salad. Tacos pair well with any dip made for tortilla chips, too. Wash them down with a refreshing margarita or paloma cocktail.

How do you keep brisket from getting tough?

Brisket can become tough if it’s cooked too quickly or at too-high temperatures. It takes time to coax out the meat’s tender texture, so use a low-and-slow cooking technique (like slow-cooking, smoking or braising). Marinating the brisket in beer also helps to tenderize the meat and prevent it from turning out tough.

Watch how to Make Brisket Tacos

Beef Brisket Tacos

Prep Time 15 min
Yield 10 servings.


  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer or nonalcoholic beer
  • 1 cup brisket marinade or barbecue sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 fresh beef brisket (3-4 pounds), fat trimmed
  • 20 corn tortillas (6 inches), warmed
  • Optional: Shredded cheddar cheese, lime wedges, media crema table cream, fresh cilantro leaves, thinly sliced green onions, jalapeno slices and salsa


  1. In a bowl or shallow dish, combine first 5 ingredients. Add brisket; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Transfer brisket and marinade to a 6-qt. slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low until tender, 8-10 hours. Remove meat; discard bay leaves. Reserve juices in slow cooker. When cool enough to handle, shred meat with 2 forks. Return to slow cooker.
  3. Using tongs, serve shredded brisket in tortillas. Add toppings as desired.

Nutrition Facts

2 tacos: 278 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 58mg cholesterol, 947mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 3g fiber), 31g protein.

Birthday parties back home were big gatherings of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and anyone else we considered family. As soon as guests arrived, hot pans of shredded brisket, or carne deshebrada, appeared, along with huge bowls of salads, frijoles, tostadas and salsas. Brisket was the dish we always counted on because it could be made in the oven or a slow cooker. —Yvette Marquez, Littleton, Colorado