Recipes: Brisket three ways for cowboys

Brisket chilaquiles, quesadilla with mole negro, green salad by Catch the Wave in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO – Can’t make it out to the Cowboy Breakfast at Cowboys Dancehall this Friday? No sweat. You can make your own Western meal at home with brisket three ways by chef Leo Davila.

Smoked brisket chilaquiles, divorced style

Brisket chilaquiles by Catch the Wave.
Brisket chilaquiles by Catch the Wave. (KSAT)


For the totopos:

  • 4 cups corn oil
  • 12 corn tortillas, cut into 8 triangles

For the green salsa:

  • 3 cups tomatillos
  • 1/4 white onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • 2 sprigs cilantro (coriander)
  • 2 sprigs epazote
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup water

For the red salsa:

  • 12 plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • 2 sprigs epazote
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup water

For the smoked brisket:

  • 1 beef brisket, trimmed, 8-10 pounds
  • 4 cups yellow mustard, to coat
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse black pepper

For the fried eggs and plating:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup queso fresco
  • 1/2 cup crema de rancho
  • 1/4 white onion, julienned
  • 1/4 red onion, julienned


For the totopos:

In a pot, heat the oil to 355°F. Add the cut corn tortillas and cook until browned. Drain on paper towels.

For the green salsa:

Place all the ingredients in a pan and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes. Blend and adjust the salt.

For the red salsa:

Place all the ingredients in a pot and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes. Blend and adjust the salt.

For the smoked brisket:

Generously rub the brisket with mustard, kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Set smoker to 205°F and smoke for 12 hours. Once smoked, immediately wrap with plastic wrap and foil. Allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Slice or shred to desired preference.

For the fried eggs and plating:

Heat the oil in a large pan over low heat. Crack the eggs, one by one, into the oil. When the egg whites begin to turn opaque, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with the salt.

To plate: Divide the chips among 4 bowls. Cover half of them with the green salsa and the other half with the red salsa. Top with the smoked brisket and the fried eggs and finish with the cheese, crema de rancho and onions.

Smoked brisket mole quesadilla

Brisket quesadilla with mole negro by Catch the Wave San Antonio.
Brisket quesadilla with mole negro by Catch the Wave San Antonio. (KSAT)


  • 2 cups blue or white corn masa
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 8-10 pound brisket, trimmed
  • 4 cups yellow mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse black pepper
  • 4 ounces Oaxaca or white melting cheese
  • Mole negro (see recipe below)
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, small dice
  • Pickled vegetables, for plating
  • Fried egg, for plating
  • Mexican crema, for plating
  • Pepitas, for plating


For the tortillas:

Add 2 cups masa harina and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the warm water and stir until the water is absorbed. Add the rest of the water incrementally until the flour melds into a dough. Use your hands to knead the dough into a cohesive ball. If the dough is sticking to your hands, add a bit of masa harina to dry it out.

Separate the dough into golf ball sized chunks; this will make tortillas approximately 4 inches across.

Flatten the dough balls using a tortilla press or a flat-bottomed pan. Be sure to line each side of the dough ball with plastic or plastic sandwich bag with zipper and sides cut off.

Heat a skillet or comal to medium-high heat. Add a tortilla and flip after 20 seconds. Then cook each side for 1-2 minutes or until light brown spots begin to form.

Continue cooking the rest of the tortillas. Serve immediately

For the smoked brisket:

See directions (above).


Preheat a skillet to medium heat, sauté aromatics until translucent. Add 1 teaspoon of oil, add onions and cook 3-5 minutes. Next add the bell peppers and cook 3-5 minutes, as well. Once cooked, reserve aromatics in a side dish.

Place one cooked tortilla in the same skillet, sauté for 20 seconds on each side. Add Oaxaca cheese in a single layer. The goal is to have the cheese melt and to not burn the tortilla.

Add the reserve aromatics and drizzle the Mole negro directly onto the cheese blend. Add brisket slices.

Close the corn tortilla and continue to cook until golden brown. Remove quesadilla and cut into equal triangles.

Place triangles on a plate; serve with bell peppers, pepitas, Mexican crema, pickled vegetables and an egg if you’re feeling adventurous.

Mole negro


  • 8 dried mulato chiles
  • 8 dried pasilla chiles
  • 4 dried chilhuacle negro chiles
  • 1 plum tomato, halved
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced into 4 pieces
  • 3 tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4–6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons corn or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 ripe plantain, peeled and sliced
  • 6 tablespoons almonds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 1 whole clove
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 3 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried aromatic herbs (such as marjoram, thyme, or oregano)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 10 ounces Oaxacan or dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Kosher salt (to taste)


Wipe chiles with a damp cloth. Using kitchen scissors, cut a slit, lengthwise, along one side. Open chiles up and remove seeds, veins and stems; discard stems. Toast seeds and veins in a large dry skillet, preferably cast iron, tossing occasionally, until completely blackened, 7–9 minutes. Set aside.

Working in batches, toast chiles, turning occasionally, until slightly darkened and blistered but not burnt, about 1 minute per side. Transfer chiles to a medium bowl and add boiling water to cover (at least 2 1/2 cups). Let soak until chiles are softened, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook tomato, onion, tomatillos and garlic in same skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until almost completely blackened, 10–15 minutes. Let cool slightly, then remove skin from tomato; discard. Transfer tomato, onion, tomatillos and garlic to a blender. Add 1/2 cup broth and purée until smooth. Set tomato purée aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add plantain and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set half of plantain aside for serving; place remaining plantain in a medium bowl.

Wipe out skillet and toast almonds, pecans and peanuts in skillet, stirring often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with plantain.

Toast bread crumbs in skillet, tossing often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Toast cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves, raisins, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, dried herbs, aniseed and cumin seeds until spices are fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Working in two batches, purée plantain mixture, adding 1 cup broth to each batch, until very smooth. Transfer plantain purée back to bowl. Set aside.

Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. Purée chiles and 1 1/2 cups soaking liquid in clean blender, adding more soaking liquid as needed, until smooth. Add toasted seeds and ribs and blend until smooth. Strain chile purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl.

Heat remaining oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Cook chile purée, stirring constantly, until reduced by about one-third, 15–20 minutes. Add reserved tomato purée and cook, stirring often, until thickened, 8–10 minutes (reduce heat if needed to keep mixture from splattering). Add reserved plantain purée and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, 8–10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 cup soaking liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

Add chocolate and stir until melted. Return mole to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and adding broth by the cupful, until mole is just thick enough to coat spoon, about 30 minutes. Add sugar to taste and season with salt. Serve with meat or fish of choice.

Do ahead:

Mole can be made 1 week ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat, adding broth as needed to loosen.

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Super green salad with smoked brisket & orange ginger vinaigrette

Green salad with brisket by Catch the Wave San Antonio.
Green salad with brisket by Catch the Wave San Antonio. (KSAT)


For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 orange, juiced, about 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

For the smoked brisket:

  • 1 beef brisket, trimmed, 8-10 pounds
  • 4 cups yellow mustard, to coat
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse black pepper

For the greens:

  • 2 cups spring mix
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 ounces strawberries
  • 2 ounces blueberries
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 ounces pepitas
  • 2 ounces queso fresco


For the Vinaigrette:

In a small jar or blender, add all of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and well combined. Store refrigerated for up to 1 week.

For the smoked brisket:

See recipe (above).

Dressing the greens:

In a large stainless steel bowl combine the spring mix and baby spinach. Carefully drizzle the orange ginger vinaigrette on one side of the bowl. In a circular motion, toss the greens on vinaigrette side of the bowl. The greens should be shiny and coated, but not soggy or drenched in your vinaigrette.

*Chef tip: The vinaigrette is poured onto the side of the bowl in order to ensure even coating of the salad and to prevent soggy or overdressed greens. Overdressed greens can be oily and bitter.

Salad assembly:

Using a nice salad bowl, place your dressed greens in the center of the plate, arrange the tomatoes, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, fruit and avocado around and throughout the dish. Finish with a sprinkle of pepitas and queso fresco.

Don’t miss Catch the Wave at Culinaria’s Titans of Tailgate this Sunday at Sunken Gardens and at Sangria on the Burg on Feb. 10. Chef Davila also offers CBD infused products. You can follow Davila on Instagram and Facebook.

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