Mexican Shredded Beef Salad
Estilo Norteño-Northern Style
Mexican Salpicón de Res is a mouthwatering regional Mexican shredded beef dish served at room temperature or cold. The version I’m making today hails from the Northern region. It’s heavy on the Brisket, but has a lot of greens too. Roasted chiles, crispy radishes, avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro on a bed of romaine lettuce, tossed with a Chipotle and vinegar dressing, and finally sprinkled with Queso Ranchero. It’s a burst of flavors with the succulent, melt in your mouth brisket and the crisp cool salad vegetables. This recipe takes some planning but is a showstopper once prepared. Many prefer this on tostadas (crispy, deep fried corn tortillas) but I prefer small, homemade flour tortillas with a simple bottled salsa like Cholula.
What is Mexican SALPICÓN de Res?
My parents hail from Sonora and did not grow up eating Salpicon de Res. Head over to Chihuahua where my Grandfather’s roots are from and everyone will know what Salpicón de Res is. I came across this recipe in an article in Saveur Magazine published easily about 20 years ago talking about Texas Border food. It is an excellent and beautifully written article about how truly unique some of the regional Texas -Chihuahua border food is. The recipe featured was from the El Paso Chile Company’s Texas Border Cookbook. This recipe adaptation combines the freshness of cool, crisp vegetables that compliment the flavors of the smoky brisket. It’s a perfect match.
Salpicón is a dish you find mostly in the upper half of Mexico, en el Norte. In Sinaloa, the dish is heavy on the vegetables: potatoes, carrots, onions, even green beans. Every household makes it differently according to their own family’s recipe and preferences. Typically served on toasted or fried corn tortillas (Tostadas) with a little cheese on top. Chihuahua and Sonora style Salpicón, is heavy on the beef and salad vegetables; today I added roasted Poblanos to the Chipotle vinegar coated brisket on top of romaine lettuce with lots of avocado, tomato, cilantro and I prefer to top mine with Ranchero cheese and on a flour tortilla. It’s a perfect starter or easily a main meal.
There are 3 steps to this recipe. One is to cook the brisket in a slow cooker, second make the dressing for the “salad” and third assembling. Don’t let the various steps discourage you, it’s an absolutely delicious recipe that you will make again and again.
How to cook brisket in the slow cooker
For the max flavor, I used a 2.5lb Brisket but flank steak is a perfect substitute for this recipe as it’s full of flavor. For this size brisket, it takes 8-10 hours on low. I add onions, bay leaf, Mexican oregano, a whole head of garlic, good amount of salt and let it do it’s thing in the slow cooker. The brisket should be easy fork tender when it’s done. I remove it from the slow cooker and let it cool enough to shred with my hands or forks. The strained beef broth is saved for a future Mexican rice or Albondigas soup.
How to make the Chipotle Dressing/Sauce
Do you love Chipotle restaurants? I think we all do and always with gauc. When I was making this recipe, I realized that the Chipotle dressing/sauce is very much like the Chipotle honey dressing so I’ve added this recipe under Dressings and Sauces for you to enjoy with your salads or bowls. I’ve made this is the food processor or high speed blender which is optimal for pureeing the chipotle peppers. You will need a 7.5oz can of chipotle chiles in adobo, seeded, white wine vinegar (or white vinegar), fresh lime juice, Agave nectar (optional), garlic and salt.
Add the seeded chipotle peppers to a food processor or blender, then add white wine vinegar, fresh lime juice, garlic and salt. Puree until smooth all chiles and garlic are completely pureed. Add Agave nectar and pulse until combined. Taste for sweetness and salt and add more if needed.
Toss about half of the dressing along with the roasted poblanos, onions, cilantro and shredded beef. Toss gently until the beef mixture is completely covered. Check for salt. Set aside and prepare vegetables.
Prepare the vegetables
The remainder of the salad is pretty easy to prepare. You will want to prepare the following vegetables:
- Romaine lettuce leaves. About 8 leaves washed and dried. (enough for a large platter)
- Radishes: washed, dried and thinly sliced
- Cilantro leaves for salad and garnish. Whole or roughly chopped.
- Ripe tomatoes sliced in wedges.
- Ripe avocado sliced in wedges or cut into cubes.
- Roasted Poblano, Hatch or Anaheim chile peppers, thinly sliced. You can use canned or frozen hatch chiles as well. (See our quick tutorial on how to roast chiles.)
- Red onion sliced thinly sliced.
How to Assemble SALPICÓN de res for serving
We are ready to put this mouthwatering Salpicón together! On a large platter, arrange the romaine leaves. Next, add the dressed Salpicón beef mixture and distribute evenly on the platter. Next, add the thinly sliced radishes, fresh avocado, cilantro leaves and fresh tomato. As I mentioned before, I love this dish with small, flour or corn tortillas, a simple homemade or bottled salsa and I love both as a meal or starter for a large group.
Enjoy this very special, Regional Mexican dish. I hope you love it as much as I do. My hope is to continue to share and highlight dishes of my heritage and inspired food recipes of my City of Angels.
You can use a chuck roast, or any other meat that will shred easily. I prefer brisket and flank.
You can eat this with the romaine leaves or make a salad out of all the ingredients. Make enough dressing in case you want to add more dressing.
You can use roasted hatch chiles, roasted Anaheim chiles or even roasted green bell pepper.
Yes. Just mince the seeded chipotles as finely as possible and add all ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake very well.
Yes. Use a large stock pot with lid. Cooking times will vary but estimated at 3 hours, give or take.
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Mexican Salpicón de Rés – Mexican shredded beef salad
- Slow cooker
- large platter for serving
- food processor or blender
For Brisket or flank steak
- 2.5 lb brisket, trimmed or flank steak
- 2 whole bay leaf dry
- 2 tsp oregano Mexican, dry
- 2 tsp salt kosher
- 1 tsp pepper coarse ground
- 1 whole onion white, cut into wedges
- 1 head garlic with the top cut off
- water enough to cover brisket
- 1/2 cup avocado oil can use extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup lime juice fresh
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic fresh
- 2 tsp Agave nectar
- 1 can Chipotle chiles in adobo separate chiles from adobo sauce and remove seeds from chiles
- 1/2 remaining Adobo sauce from chipotle chiles
- 1/2 head romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
- 1 whole avocado peeled and sliced or cubed
- 6 whole radishes washed, dried and thinly sliced
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup red onion sliced
- 2 whole Poblanos peppers roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced. You can substitute, canned or frozed hatch or anaheim chiles.
For brisket or flank steak
- In a slow cooker, place brisket or flank steak and add onion, garlic, bay leaves, Mexican oregano, salt and pepper.
- Add enough water to cover the meat plus 2 more inches of water.
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
Preparing the brisket or flank steak after it's cooked
- Once the meat is cooked, remove from the liqued and allow to cool.
- Shred with two forks or use hands and remove any excess fat.
- Place the meat in a large bowl and set aside.
- Remove the chiles only from the can of Chipotles. Set remaining adobo sauce aside.
- Remove the seeds from the chiles.
- Add the seeded chiles to the food processor bowl or blender.
- Add remaining ingredients, avocado oil, white wine vinegar, fresh lime juice, garlic cloves, 1/2 of the remaining adobo sauce and salt.
- Puree until completely smooth. Check for salt.
- Add Agave nectar and pulse. Taste and add more to suit your taste.
Assembling the salad
- In the large bowl with the brisket, add the roasted poblanos, 1/2 cup sliced red onion, 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves and gently toss with the Chipotle dressing. Make sure mixture is coated well.
- On a large platter assemble romaine lettuce leaves.
- Add the dressed Salpicon (brisket mixture) on top of the romaine leaves.
- Top with avocado slices, radishes, additional red onion, fresh tomato, cilantro leaves.
- Serve with crumbled , Mexican queso fresco on tostadas or small flour tortillas.
All content and photographs ©Claudia’s Table and claudiastable.com