This Chili's Copycat Brisket Quesadilla is a quick and easy lunch to make with leftover brisket.
I love brisket, I love quesadillas, and I really love this Chili’s Copycat Brisket Quesadilla. If you don’t live near a Chili’s, or simply want to make it yourself, this recipe is for you. Making the quesadilla is pretty easy and straightforward if you already have some leftover brisket to use.
If you need a guide on how to smoke a brisket, you can check out my recipe here.
This meal worked well for me as a weekday lunch, though with a side of rice and beans you could make a hearty dinner too. These will hold up pretty well in the fridge if you’re meal prepping, though working from home has been nice in that I could fry one up fresh every day.
The key to a crispy crust is butter.
If you want your Chili’sCopycat Brisket Quesadilla to be crispy, flavor packed, and authentic, you should butter the outside of both tortillas. Butter is fat, and fat is the key to flavor. Technically, I used Country Crock, but you get the idea.
If you wanted, you could just fry the quesadilla in cooking oil, but butter is a better choice. Butter is solid and room temperature, and that tends to help fried food from getting soggy a few minutes after it’s done cooling.
If you check out the picture below, you’ll see that I only lightly buttered the tortilla. Going too heavy with butter will just lead to having to fry it longer.
Should I shred or chop brisket for my Chili’s Copycat Brisket Quesadilla
In truth, the Chili’s quesadilla uses shredded brisket. If you have some freshly smoked brisket, go ahead and shred some before storing the leftovers. Since my leftovers were already refrigerated, it was way easier to thinly chop the brisket into small squares.
When chopping the leftover brisket, the key is to keep the pieces short and thin, so that you don’t pull out too much meat while eating the quesadilla.
How to customize your brisket Quesadilla
In trying to emulate Chili’s recipe, I created a kind of Pico de gallo with tomato and onion. This worked well, but there are a number of other go-to quesadilla ingredients you can try.
- Pinto beans: a few spoonful’s of drained pinto beans would go very well with the cheesy brisket.
- Hot Peppers: This recipe doesn’t have a lot of heat to it as written. A small quantity of thinly sliced hot peppers would go well. You could fry them up with meat before assembling the quesadilla to help cook in the spice.
- Mild Peppers: Some thin sliced rings of mild peppers will add color and crunch to the quesadilla.
- Cilantro: A small amount of fresh cilantro will add a dynamic flavor to the quesadilla
If you want to jazz up how you serve this quesadilla, try serving it with smoked green enchilada sauce instead of regular salsa.
What kind of cheese should I use in a Chili’s Copycat Brisket Quesadilla?
I used shredded mozzarella in my brisket quesadilla and it came out great. In general, you can use whatever shredded cheese you have on hand. I’m pretty sure Chili’s uses a Monterey jack blend, and you can also safely get away with a supermarket taco blend or Mexican blend. If you’re feeling particularly fancy, you could also freshly shred a block of cheese. I find that freshly shredded cheese offers a stronger flavor.
What can I do with leftover smoked brisket?
If you smoked a whole brisket like I did, you might be sitting on a lot of leftovers. I spent most of a weekend making brisket based meals, all of which were delicious. Check these out:
- Brisket burnt ends: Twice cooked brisket chunks in caramelized barbeque sauce, basically meat candy.
- Texas Brisket Sandwich: This brisket sandwich is large and in charge, served with some coleslaw and cheese in a large crusty roll.
- Brisket sliders: Small steamed brisket burgers, soft and delicious.
As a side note, you can also look at my other quesadilla recipe for inspiration.
Recipe for a Chili’s Copycat Brisket Quesadilla
Chili's Copycat Brisket Quesadilla
- 1 Frying Pan
- ½ Cup Smoked Brisket
- ½ Cup Shredded Cheese Monterey Jack or Similar
- 2 10 inch Tortillas
- ¼ Cup Diced Tomato
- ¼ Cup Diced Onion
- 1 tsp butter or other butter substitute
- Start by prepping your toppings. Chop up about a quarter cup of tomatoes and a quarter cup of onions per quesadilla. Thin slice about a half cup of smoked brisket, and cross cut the slices into small squares. Lightly butter one side of both tortillas. Optional step: Fry the brisket squares with some onion and barbeque sauce for a saucier brisket.
- Heat the pan to medium high heat. Once hot, put one of the tortillas butter side down into the pan. Spread a half cup of shredded cheese on top. Leave a small border around the outer edge of the tortilla exposed. Fill in any gaps in the cheese to your satisfaction.
- Spread the meat, tomatoes, and onions over top of the cheese. Try to get an even distribution of ingredients. Place the remaining tortilla on top, butter side up.
- Using a spatula, gently lift up a side of the quesadilla to check its progress. Once the bottom side is nicely browned, flip the quesadilla over. Here’s a tip: slide the spatula fully under the quesadilla until you can lift the quesadilla by its center. If the quesadilla is still too floppy and wants to fall apart, let it cook a little longer. Lift the quesadilla up 4-6 inches and flip it one fluid motion.
- Let the other side of the quesadilla cook, and once it's browned up, pull it off the pan to a plate. Cut it into halves, quarters, or sixths, and serve with some sour cream and salsa. Enjoy 🙂