1 (3-4lb / 1.4-1.8kg) first-cut beef brisket / kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper / 2 tbsp. (30 g) olive oil / 1 red onion, quartered / 8 garlic cloves / 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar / 4 cups (960 ml) beef broth / 1 cup (165 g) crushed tomatoes / 2 tbsp. tomato paste / 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin / 1 tsp. smoked paprika / 1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander / 1⁄2 cup (20 g) chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish / 1 bay leaf
3⁄4 cup (180 ml) sour cream / 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice / 1⁄4 tsp. sea salt / 8 to 12 corn tortillas / 2 cups (140 g) shredded napa cabbage / 1 cup pickled red onion / 1⁄2 cup (60 g) crumbled cotija cheese / 1 or 2 limes, cut into wedges for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C).
2. Season the brisket on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the brisket to the pan and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the brisket from the pan.
3. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
4. Add the vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the pan drippings.
5. In a pot, pour in the pan drippings from step 4, broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste and bring to a simmer. Add the cumin, paprika, coriander, cilantro, and bay leaf. Season with salt.
6. Put the brisket into the pot (along with any accumulated juices), fat side up. Cover the pot with aluminum foil with a few layers of heavy duty foil, tightly wrapped. Transfer to the oven and braise for 4 hours.
7. Remove the pot from the oven and carefully transfer the brisket to a large cutting board, reserving the liquid in the pot.
8. Using two forks, shred the brisket in the direction of the grain (the meat should come apart easily).
9. Return the shredded brisket to the pot and stir to incorporate with the juices.
10. Return the pot to the oven and cook for 1 to 2 hours more, until very tender.
11. Remove the pot from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
12. When ready to serve, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, lime juice, and sea salt.
13. Warm the tortillas in a skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute on each side.
14. Scoop some shredded brisket onto each tortilla. Garnish with the cabbage, a dollop of the sour cream mixture, pickled red onions, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. Serve with wedges of lime on the side.
1⁄4 cups distilled white vinegar / juice of 2 limes / 1 bay leaf / 1 tsp. fine sea salt / 1⁄4 cup sugar / 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the onion and bring to a simmer over low heat.
2. Place the onion in a large bowl and carefully pour the brine over the onion.
3. Let cool, then transfer to a clean pint-sized jar; cover and refrigerate. Refrigerate in a sealed jar for up to 1 month.