Friday, June 13, 2014


After the smashing success of carnitas, I looked around eagerly for something else I could braise and stuff in a taco, and beef was the next logical choice. I remembered seeing (and bookmarking and unbookmarking a few times over the years) this recipe at The Way the Cookie Crumbles, and followed it back to its source at Use Real Butter. It’s only marginally more difficult than the carnitas: marinate the meat with vinegar, lime, garlic and spices; add liquid; bake the heck out of it until it falls apart in shreds; pile on tortillas and gorge.

The only challenge was finding “eye of chuck,” the cut particularly specified in the original recipe. This is where having access to an actual butcher would come in handy, especially if you are incapable of learning cuts of meat (as I seem to be, no matter how many times I look at those cow diagrams). I did the best I could and went to Whole Foods, where of course there was nothing actually labeled “eye of chuck,” but the very helpful man behind the counter immediately consulted his supervisor, who told us that it was a certain portion of the chuck roast closest to the rib, and instructed his employee exactly where to cut it off for me. Customer service at its finest!

Unsurprisingly, these tacos were as succulent and flavorful as I’d imagined, another “I can’t believe I just made that” hit. The beef would be just as good in a burrito, quesadilla, tostada, nachos or any other tortilla-related format. Now I just need to figure out a good braised-chicken taco and I’ll be set.

1½ pounds eye of chuck (chuck eye steak or chuck eye roast)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup beef stock
Corn or flour tortillas
Toppings of your choice, such as salsa, guacamole, lettuce, cheese, etc.

1. Trim the fat off the beef and cut the meat into 1-inch-thick slices. In a zip-top bag, combine the oil, vinegar, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt, and garlic. Place the meat slices in the bag, seal, mix it around and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Bring the meat to room temperature and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place all contents from the bag in a baking dish (a Dutch oven works well) with the beef stock. Cover the dish and bake for 1½ to 2½ hours. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes, then shred it with two forks.

3. Serve beef on tortillas with toppings of your choice.

Serves: 4-6
Time: 2-3 hours, plus marinating time
Leftover potential: Good.

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