The Great Dallas Brisket Taco Hunt

Five brisket tacos at five places in five hours: It's more meat -- and more fun -- than it seems.

Rusty's brisket taco was by far my favorite.

The finish line in site, we ordered celebratory Pacificos to sip while we waited for the final tacos to be assembled. Rusty keeps the bottles on ice in open coolers up front, something I vowed to remember when summer returns. Cheap beer should always be this cold.

The tacos made use of huge pieces of brisket, their muscle fibers running the length of the folded corn tortilla. I thought this would make for difficult eating, but it was tender enough to manage. Topped with a dusting of cotija, onions, cilantro and a tiny lime wedge that required great effort to liberate of its juices, Rusty's taco made a solid nod to tradition. It was small and cheap ($2), and it tasted of a culinary simplicity I celebrate every time I encounter it.

Rusty Taco was our final stop -- and our favorite.
Sara Kerens
Rusty Taco was our final stop -- and our favorite.
Taco Joint: Feed your hangover with brisket.
Sara Kerens
Taco Joint: Feed your hangover with brisket.

Maybe I was just happy to be done. Taco Joint served up another taco crawler's favorite because he said "it packed big flavor," but I liked Rusty because it felt like an honest taco. It reminded me most of the street tacos that got the whole thing started, and it rejuvenated my taco enthusiasm — remarkable, considering my condition when I ate it.

Not everyone was this happy, though. Later that night I received a text from Joe, the third taco crawler. He didn't have a favorite taco, he said, but he did have an announcement: He was going vegan.

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29 comments
Guest
Guest

Casa Milagro in Richardson has awesome briskey tacos.

Guest
Guest

Guess it would help if I could spell brisket.

Steve
Steve

That bottom taco looks way 70's.

Seanewell
Seanewell

Check out Long Boat Key Tacos & Catering at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival over Easter Weekend!!!

RGV41
RGV41

Does the O have something against Fuzzy's? I never see Fuzzy's mentioned in the myriad of taco articles...

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Fuzzys sucks, it way overrated by it cult following

RGV41
RGV41

I'm not a Fuzzy's cultist, but I'm not a hater either. They don't suck.

Raine Devries
Raine Devries

LaGrange's tasty brisket tacos are sadly missing from this list!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

For what his taco hunt was, it was a successful trip. Almost any true taqueria or mexican taco joint is not going to have brisket tacos, they all use the barbacoa style. Im just glad fuzzys didnt make the list, probably the shittiest tacos Ive ever eaten. and since Scott or the CoA is taking requests, how bout a chicken parm crawl. I need to know who has the best in town please

Daniel
Daniel

Fuzzy's does indeed blow. Its success is mystifying.

informed opinion
informed opinion

Yeah you're right, in order for them to grow from 1 store in 2003 to 42 in 2012 they must suck hard. Haterade?

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

Fuzzy's is to tacos what Olive Garden is to Italian food. just because they're everywhere doesn't mean they're good. (They're not!)

Putomamon
Putomamon

This is much more like an short outing than a "Great Hunt". It's merely a single sortie in a larger war.

There's 10 taco places near my old job in Carrollton, there's 10 near my house, 20 near my current job, 20 near my wife's job, 15 more over on the other side of town if we are visiting the in-laws...

I recommend a full monthly spot devoted to this great battle. It would take years to get through them all and would make you a true scholar of the subject.

To be a true taco nerd, you must envelop yourself with your subject matter. As is, you have simply done the "wikipedia book report" version.

Kevin
Kevin

Is this a Dallas Morning News article? Or maybe D magazine blog post? I expect something a little less 'OMG I'm living on the edge by leaving Uptown/Park Cities' from the Dallas Observer. Gringo tacos are almost as overdone as upscale burgers.

Wayne L
Wayne L

I think it's also worth mentioning that brisket tacos are simply another alternative to barbacoa tacos. Obviously the gringo taco spots you went to and friendly tex-mex places aren't putting a cabeza into the ground overnight and also dont allow for too much unsightly fat. So enter brisket. Still nice and beefy and recognizable to any local, yokel, bbq-fan or texan.

I think they have a place and are not a "bastardization" at all. Sometimes you want some beef in a taco...and not shitty-ass ground beef.

btw, I'm not so sure DC is considered the "North" neither in current nor historical context.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

....I'm not so sure DC is considered the "North" neither in current nor historical context...

Tell that to these other guys...

Jim Brashear
Jim Brashear

If you're in the mid-cities, try El Taco.H, which is co-located with Baja Grill in Grapevine and Watagua. http://www.eltacoh.com They have a new concept, Funky Baja Cantina on FM 1709 in Keller, with a menu of tacos. The best is the "Espanto" brisket taco with chorizo.

Gregg
Gregg

blue goose makes some mean brisket tacos. get there early to get it fresh.

kyle
kyle

This article makes me SO sad. These are boutique tacos! If you want REAL tacos, try Tacos La Banqueta in East Dallas, Taqueria El Si Hay in Oak Cliff, Fuel City, or Taco Hut in Lewisville.

Daniel
Daniel

Brisket tacos are an authentic local specialty in a city that is, frankly, inauthentic most of the time. Give'em some lovin' fer chrissakes.

And BTW, Fuel City is way overrated. El Si Hay is awesome, though.

Guest
Guest

Who are you targeting with these stories? Someone from up north comes and visits all of the least authentic taco stands in the city, makes a huge deal about eating five tacos over four hours (Really, shut up. It's not that much food), and then the favorite is RUSTY TACO because it reminds you of authentic street tacos? One of the worst tacos places in the entire city is your favorite because you claim it is the most authentic. Has anyone told you that the entire damn city is filled with... you know, actual authentic tacos? El Guero, El Si Hay, etc. You must have passed dozens of these places. Are you scared of Mexicans? You are a complete failure as a food writer.

Beda
Beda

Guest, it's really chicken of you to make the rude remarks about Scott that you did without using your real name. Please be man enough to make such statements out in the open instead of hiding behind the anonymity of "Guest."

Deep_Sigh
Deep_Sigh

Good grief as soon as he gets the urge for a tripas taco, I'm sure he'll find a sufficiently authentic place to please the purists.

Craig Greene10
Craig Greene10

This is my family that owns the Rusty Taco and i agree with Scott about this carpet bagger. I am glad you liked them Scott.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

What a carpet bagger this guy, huh?

Thing is, I wanted to go on a brisket taco crawl so that's what I did. I didn't want to go on a suadero, or a barbacoa crawl, but a brisket taco crawl because one of my readers requested it. The word brisket is English which led me to research Americanized brisket tacos in Dallas. I ate at Mia's, Avilla's and Manny's to gain some understanding of the original Dallas brisket taco and Tex-Mex influences. Mia's got its very own blog post and a mention in this story. And then I went to five places that I thought built on that theme in some way or another, and offered something new.

And by they way I'm not afraid of Mexicans. I find them delicious.

Aaronstew2003
Aaronstew2003

I was sorry you omitted Mia's. Its my personal favorite brisket taco. Nice to hear about these others though.

Daniel
Daniel

Dude, Mia's invented the damn thing. I like your premise and your writing, but your omissions (the aforementioned being principle among them) are kindalike glaring. Manny's. Hell, even uber-honkytown Fernando's. For the love of St. Christ, man, even Mi Cocina knows better than to stick lettuce in that shit. The places you went to are all good and well, but their target demo is drunk college kids from places like Tyler and the Northeast who know neither Mexican food nor Tex-Mex from the hole in their gosh darned arse (Good2Go excepted and winning special plaudits for creativity).

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

I like some other things at Good 2 Go, but I'm just looking at brisket here and Taco Republic's was far more innovative.

 
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