For many of you, suadero may not immediately conjure a taco of beefy tasting bits of crisped meat, but that’s too bad. Especially in Mexico City, when you see a chorizera—that cooking vessel with a dome in the center and a gurgling moat of fat surrounding it—everyone’s mouths water for suadero. The meat is cooked until tender confit style in the fat, then chopped and crisped on the hot dome before piling it on a tortilla, ready for salsa.
A lot of folks will tell you that suadero meat is one of the beefy-tasting, tough cuts from the belly section, often a cut called navel. But I’ve seen cooks in Mexico use lots of other cuts too—pretty much anything that has a rich taste and needs a long, slow cook to tenderize it. Since many of the cuts used by the pros in Mexico aren’t easily available in States-side grocery stores, I’m calling for brisket here, preferably the brisket flat (not the point), which is most richly marbled.
Street vendors using a chorizera, typically cook tripe and longaniza sausage in the same fat with the beef, creating a very rich-tasting medium for the long, slow cooking. Since a choricera might be out of the question for a lot of you, I’m suggesting that you do that slow cooking in a slow cooker and, if it appeals to you, add a little chorizo to more closely resemble the fat of the street vendors.
If you have a home-style chorizera: Nerds like me love to have traditional pieces of equipment to haul out for special events. I have a small chorizera (about 22 inches across) that can handle about 3 pounds of meat with 5 cups of pork lard. Because this is not closed, super-low cooking like the slow-cooker method described below, you’ll need to add 2 cups of water to help keep the fat at about 200 degrees F. If the meat ever sounds like it’s starting to fry rather than confit, it means that all the liquid has evaporated; add another cup of water.
About ¾cupsalsa (I really like the Árbol-Tomatillo Salsa
Cut the brisket into 2-inch cubes. Melt the lard in the slow-cooker, then sprinkle in 2 teaspoons salt. Nestle in the brisket pieces and the chorizo (if you’re using it). Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, until the meat is very tender. Remove from the fat to a cutting board. (Strain the fat and refrigerate for another round of suadero or for cooking beans or scrambling eggs.) Cut the meat into pieces a little smaller than ½ inch (some pieces will fall apart, which is totally fine.
Scoop a couple tablespoons of the cooking lard into a very large (12-inch) skillet and set over medium to medium-high heat. When hot, add the meat and cook, turning every 15 seconds or so, until richly browned and crispy, about 2 minutes. Scoop into a warm bowl and serve immediately with warm tortillas, onions and cilantro, lime and salsa for everyone to make tacos.