Happy National Brisket Day! Here’s how to make it, use up leftovers

It’s National Brisket Day this weekend.

In case you needed to know exactly which day to fire up your smoker to celebrate, the official day is Sunday, but every day is brisket day for many Texans.

People wait in line for 4 to 5 hours to taste the food from Franklin Barbecue in Austin, particularly the brisket. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

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I don’t make my own brisket, but Jess Pryles sure does. She’s the Austin-based recipe developer who is the brisket queen, as far as I’m concerned. She’s written a great tutorial if you want to try making it at home, and shared recipes for brisket-related recipes, including brisket popcorn, brisket Tater Tots, burnt ends, brisket gravy.

If it’s raining this weekend, dig into Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn’s history of smoking brisket in Texas or what he learned at Brisket Camp.

If you do enjoy brisket this weekend, you’ll probably have some leftovers, which pack a ton of flavor into all kinds of dishes. You can always make brisket banh mi, but Heather Hunsaker’s brisket nachos are another good choice. We ran this recipe a few months ago from Hunsaker, who writes kitchen-concoctions.com.

Using brisket to make nachos is a quick way to feed a crowd, if you already have the brisket cooked. Contributed by Heather Hunsaker

Barbecue Brisket Nachos

For the barbecue cheese sauce:
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
3 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
1/2 tsp. barbecue rub
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
For the nachos:
1 (18-oz.) bag tortilla chips
2 cups leftover chopped or shredded brisket
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 (15-oz.) can baked beans or ranch style beans
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup pickled jalapeño slices

To make cheese sauce, melt butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in flour, whisking constantly until a thick, golden roux is formed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, whisk in milk. Whisk in barbecue sauce, rub, salt and black pepper.

Reduce heat to low and whisk in both cheeses. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened. If sauce thickens too much, stir in additional milk, as needed.

To assemble nachos, heat brisket with barbecue sauce in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until heated through. In a separate small saucepan, heat beans over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until heated through.

Arrange tortilla chips on a large serving platter or plate. Using a slotted spoon, scoop desired amount of beans over tortilla chips. Spoon desired amount of brisket over beans and chips. Drizzle desired amount of cheese sauce over brisket and top cheese with red onions and jalapeno slices. Serve immediately.

— Heather Hunsaker, kitchen-concoctions.com

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