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Instant Pot Pulled Beef Brisket with Southwest Flavors (for tacos!)

Inspired by ropa vieja and carnitas!


2-3 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 4 pieces

Kosher salt (Diamond crystal)

Ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced, about 1 1/4 cups

8 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced, about 1/4 cup

1 Tablespoon ground chili (ancho, New Mexico, or your favorite)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 bay leaves

3 Tablespoons tomato paste

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, from about 4 oranges

  1. Season the brisket liberally on both sides with kosher salt and pepper.

  2. Heat the instant pot on the sauté setting on high. Once the pot is hot, add 1 Tablespoon of oil to the pot and half (2 pieces) of the brisket. Sear for 4 minutes on each side, remove from the pot, set aside, and repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of brisket.

  3. Add a bit more oil to the pot if it seems dry and add the onion with a generous pinch of salt, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then, add the chili, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf and cook for another 30 seconds-1 minute. Lastly, add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes, or until it turns from bright red to a deeper brick red color.

  4. Deglaze the pot with the orange juice, scraping up any brown bits that got stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add in the brisket, along with any accumulated juices, making sure to tuck the brisket into the sauce as best as you can.

  5. Turn off the sauté setting, secure the lid on the pot with the steam valve turned off, switch to the manual setting, and cook under high pressure for 1 hour. Allow the pot to naturally release for as long as possible (15 minutes is good) before manually venting to release the remaining pressure in the pot.

  6. Transfer the brisket to a bowl and pull it apart with two forks, or your hands if it’s cool enough to handle. Add back as much of the cooking liquid as you like and season to taste with salt, if needed.

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