Slow-Cooker Carne Picada Tacos with Avocado Salsa


Loosely translated as "minced meat," the traditional texture of carne picada ranges from finely chopped to ground. Here we start with brisket, which becomes nice and tender in the slow cooker, then shred and chop the meat before serving. The seasoning is flavorful but not too spicy. Blistered jalapeños added at the end will satisfy the heat-lovers in the family. Pile the brisket into warmed corn tortillas, with lettuce, the jalapeños, cheese and avocado salsa for a healthy dinner that'll wake up your taco night routine.

Prep Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs 5 mins
Total Time:
8 hrs 30 mins
8 servings


  • 2 pounds beef brisket (flat end), trimmed

  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 8 small jalapeño peppers

  • 16 corn tortillas, warmed

  • 2 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce

  • ½ cup crumbled cotija (see Tip) or feta cheese

Avocado Salsa

  • 1 avocado, diced

  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 cup quartered grape tomatoes

  • 2 mini sweet peppers, diced

  • ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Place brisket in a 4- to 7-quart slow cooker and sprinkle with chile powder, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and oregano. Whisk water and tomato paste in a small bowl and add to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.

  2. About 20 minutes before serving, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add whole jalapeños and cover. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally and turning the jalapeños with tongs as needed, until charred and blistered on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes to soften.

  3. Meanwhile, prepare avocado salsa: Combine avocado, cilantro, tomatoes, sweet peppers, minced jalapeño, lime juice and salt in a medium bowl.

  4. Transfer the brisket to a clean cutting board. Shred it, then finely chop. Slice the blistered jalapeños.

  5. Serve the brisket in tortillas, with lettuce, the jalapeños, cheese and the salsa.


Tip: Traditionally made with cow's milk, cotija is a salty Mexican cheese that's crumbly, dense and best used sprinkled on top of dishes just before eating. Look for it with other specialty cheeses at most supermarkets, or use feta in a pinch.

Equipment: 4- to 7-qt. slow cooker

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

395 Calories
19g Fat
29g Carbs
28g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Serving Size 2 tacos & 1/4 cup avocado salsa
Calories 395
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 28g 57%
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Vitamin A 2254IU 45%
Vitamin C 55mg 61%
Folate 60mcg 15%
Sodium 638mg 28%
Calcium 121mg 9%
Iron 4mg 22%
Magnesium 76mg 18%
Potassium 880mg 19%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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