Holy Moly, these brisket tacos are where it’s at! I’ve loaded this recipe with antioxidants from an abundance of spices, herbs, raw cacao, and coffee! All of these flavors come together to make an insanely delicious, healthy brisket recipe that’s paleo, whole-30, and low-carb! You can enjoy the brisket on its own, or build a crazy-good paleo taco. I used Siete Coconut and Cassava Flour Tortillas to keep this taco recipe grain-free and gluten-free. Throw in some fresh avocado, lime juice, cilantro, and some spicy pico de gallo, and you have an out-of-this-world cowboy brisket taco recipe!

Brisket tacos on a nutritionist’s blog?

If you’re new to my blog, you may be wondering, what is brisket doing on a nutritionist’s website? Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing here. Yes, brisket has saturated fat, and no, I’m not worried. Saturated fat has gotten a bad rap over the years, but it’s finally time to clear up its reputation. It’s a highly misunderstood nutrient with conflicting research and opinions that have confused the general public and media into thinking fats are evil.

I spent most of my early twenties on a low-fat diet. I was miserable and unhealthy and suffered from depression, insomnia, and hormonal imbalances. Thankfully, over time, I started adding more and more high-quality fat back into my diet. This includes fats from avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and of course, 100% grass-fed animals and butter. What a difference this has made for my health and my moods! Yes, that’s just my n=1 experiment. But see what the science has to say below.

Here’s why brisket and other saturated-fat containing foods can and should be part of a healthy diet.

 

Slow Cooker Cowboy Brisket Tacos | Paleo, Low-carb, Keto | The Real Food Effect by Candace Kennedy, Holistic Nutritionist

 

Stop Fearing Saturated Fat

Here’s the science. About 17 recent meta-analyses and systematic reviews have not found a clear link between heart disease and saturated fat intake. Clinical trials and solid research, however, have proved the opposite. Studies show that high-fat diets can actually improve cholesterol levels, support brain function and be part of a healthy lifestyle when you consume the right kinds (ahem, grass-fed meat) and the right amounts.

It’s true that some fats are not part of a healthy diet (you should avoid oils that oxidize easily such as canola oil, vegetable, and seed oils, and soy oil). However, you do need the right kind of fat for many essential bodily functions, from building cell membranes to supporting your body’s hormone production. Fat also provides protection for organs and cells and is a carrier of fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, E, D and K.

It’s also true that not all fats are created equal. The right amounts of the right kinds of fat will make you healthier, help your brain work more effectively (your brain is 60% fat!) and improve the absorption of key nutrients. On the other hand, the wrong kinds of fats will slow you down and make you less healthy.

Dr. Cate Shannihan, author of one of my favorite books, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, wrote an amazing article on how to choose the right fats (and avoid the wrong ones). I highly recommend you give this a read. (You should also check out that book! Fascinating research on epigenetics and how vegetable oil and sugar alter our genetic expression.)

 

Slow Cooker Cowboy Brisket Tacos | Paleo, Low-carb, Keto | The Real Food Effect by Candace Kennedy, Holistic Nutritionist

 

Here are a few of the many benefits of fats (including saturated fats):

  • Your body primarily uses fats for energy.
  • They’re excellent sources of fat-soluble nutrients, including CLA and omega-3s.
  • Saturated fats like coconut oil contain brain-boosting, bacteria-fighting MCTs
  • They carry precursors to important nutrients and antioxidants like glutathione, a powerful antioxidant needed for liver detoxification.
  • They can improve liver function by encouraging liver cells to dump fat cells.
  • They are the most stable and least likely to oxidize at high temperatures, making them great for cooking.

 

Quality matters:

I’ll emphasize this again. Quality matters. There is a huge difference between CAFO (conventionally-raised) meat and 100% grass-fed beef when it comes to both nutrient make-up and environmental impact. Grass-fed beef has higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3s, vitamin E, and CLA than it’s conventional counterpart. It also has fewer inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than CAFO meat. 

Grass-fed animals are also much better for the environment and can actually benefit the environment by sequestering carbon back into the soil. Well-managed pastures can also improve the quality of run-off water and increase the biodiversity of pasture ecosystems, resulting in healthier topsoil.

Slow Cooker Cowboy Brisket Tacos | Paleo, Low-carb, Keto | The Real Food Effect by Candace Kennedy, Holistic Nutritionist

How much brisket/saturated fat should you eat?

While I don’t recommend anyone mainlining saturated fat or have a diet consisting primarily of saturated fat, I do believe that some amounts can and should be part of a healthy diet. Having some grass-fed lamb, steak, or brisket a few time a week is absolutely fine. Every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is probably not the best idea. 

 

Where to find grass-fed meat:

  • If you live in the Bay Area, Belcampo and Prather Ranch both carry delicious, locally-raised, high-quality beef.
  • If you live outside the Bay Area, try to find a butcher that sources locally. Make sure to ask your butcher or farmer about how the cows were raised and what they were fed to make sure you’re buying high-quality, sustainable brisket. 
  • If you don’t have access to local, pasture-raised beef, don’t worry. US Wellness Meats carries some of the best quality meat out there. Plus, they ship directly to your door. Can’t get easier than that.
  • I haven’t tried it myself, but I have friends using a company called Butcher Box. It’s a subscription-based meat delivery service that sends high-quality meat and poultry to your address on a regular basis. Might be worth checking them out as well.

Now that you’ve found some delicious, nutrient-dense, sustainably-raised brisket, let’s start cooking.

 

Slow Cooker Cowboy Brisket Tacos | Paleo, Low-carb, Keto | The Real Food Effect by Candace Kennedy, Holistic Nutritionist

 

Here’s what you need:

For the brisket:

  • 2 to 2.5 lbs grass-fed brisket
  • 1 large sweet onion, large diced
  • 2 T tomato paste (look for tomato paste in a glass jar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T cowboy rub (see recipe below)
  • 2 T maple syrup or raw local honey (omit for Whole30 and add 1 more tablespoon of tomato paste)
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

For the Cowboy Rub:

  • 2 t ground coffee
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t dried mustard powder
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 2 t cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1 t ground black pepper

For the tacos:

Gadgets:

 

Here’s what you do:

  1. Let your brisket rest outside of the fridge for about 20 minutes before beginning.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cowboy rub, tomato paste, garlic, maple syrup/honey, smoked paprika, and sea salt. Coat the brisket with this mixture and spread evenly on all sides.
  3. Place the chopped onion at the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the brisket on top of the onion and then cover the brisket with the fresh cilantro.
  4. Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours or until the brisket shreds easily with a fork. 
  5. Remove the brisket from the slow cooker and shred (I use two forks and just pull it apart). Place it on a large platter or cutting board and add some of the juice from the slow cooker on top. You can also add all of the onions from the slow cooker. The onions add amazing flavor to the brisket and tacos. 
  6. Enjoy the brisket on its own, or build a delicious paleo taco. Take some coconut/cassava/almond flour tortillas. Add brisket and some of the slow cooked onion. Top with pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a bit of cilantro.

 

Tips for reducing food waste:

There aren’t a lot of food scraps left from this recipe, fortunately, but there are some cilantro stems and onion peel.

  • You can save the onion peel in a food scrap bag in your freezer. Just wash it well first, dry it and add it to your scrap bag. When the bag gets full, use the scraps to make a slow-cooked stock or bone broth.
  • Save the cilantro stems and add them to a smoothie for a zesty, detox smoothie. These stems would be great with avocado, spinach, lemon juice, cucumber, coconut or almond milk, and some cinnamon. 

 

 

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Slow Cooker Cowboy Brisket Tacos | Paleo, Low-carb, Keto | The Real Food Effect by Candace Kennedy, Holistic Nutritionist

 

Printer-friendly recipe card:

 

Slow Cooker Cowboy Brisket Tacos
This brisket taco recipe is loaded with antioxidants from an abundance of spices, herbs, raw cacao, and coffee! All of these flavors come together to make an insanely delicious, healthy brisket recipe that’s paleo, whole-30, and low-carb!
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For the brisket
  1. 2 to 2.5 lbs grass-fed brisket
  2. 1 large sweet onion, large diced
  3. 2 T tomato paste (look for tomato paste in a glass jar)
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 2 T cowboy rub (see recipe below)
  6. 2 T maple syrup or raw local honey (omit for Whole30 and add 1 more tablespoon of tomato paste)
  7. 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  8. 1 1/2 t sea salt
  9. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
For the Cowboy Rub
  1. 2 t ground coffee
  2. 2 t ground coriander
  3. 1 t ground cinnamon
  4. 1 t dried mustard powder
  5. 1 t ground cumin
  6. 2 t cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
  7. 1/2 t chili powder
  8. 1 t onion powder
  9. 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  10. 1 T sea salt
  11. 1 t ground black pepper
For the tacos
  1. Paleo-friendly tortillas (I like Siete Coconut Cassava Tortillas)
  2. Pico de gallo
  3. Guacamole or sliced avocado
  4. Cultured sour cream (I like Nancy’s)
  5. Fresh lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Let your brisket rest outside of the fridge for about 20 minutes before beginning.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cowboy rub, tomato paste, garlic, maple syrup/honey, smoked paprika, and sea salt. Coat the brisket with this mixture and spread evenly on all sides.
  3. Place the chopped onion at the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the brisket on top of the onion and then cover the brisket with the fresh cilantro.
  4. Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours or until the brisket shreds easily with a fork.
  5. Remove the brisket from the slow cooker and shred (I use two forks and just pull it apart). Place it on a large platter or cutting board and add some of the juice from the slow cooker on top. You can also add all of the onions from the slow cooker. The onions add amazing flavor to the brisket and tacos.
  6. Enjoy the brisket on its own, or build a delicious paleo taco. Take some coconut/cassava/almond flour tortillas. Add brisket and some of the slow cooked onion. Top with pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a bit of cilantro.
Candace K. Nutrition http://candacekennedy.com/

Important Notes:

I am not a doctor, and I don’t claim to be one. I can’t prevent, treat, cure or diagnose illness or disease. The information presented on this website is not meant to replace a one-on-one relationship with your health care professional and is not intended as medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. The purpose of this website is to share knowledge from my research and experience. I encourage you to make your own decisions regarding your health care based on your own research and relationship with your health care professional. 

I make a small commission from the product links above, although the price of the products stays the same for you, whether or not you purchase through my affiliate links. You can purchase these products directly from the sites if you don’t wish to use my affiliate links.

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