06/11/14

Best “Gringo” Taco Meat Ever!

Taco Meat Recipe

This is my favorite “gringo” taco meat recipe…

Now, in all fairness these aren’t “real” Mexican-style tacos (which I love with all of my chubby little heart) but a “next level” upgrade to the weekly suburbanite special that I grew up on. Pretty darn tasty, too!

The big deal about this recipe is that it doesn’t include “taco seasoning” which, in my opinion, just makes everything taste like…well…taco seasoning. If I wanted that, I’d “make a run for the border.”

If I go to the trouble of buying good, fresh meat, I want to taste meat!

5 More Terrific Taco Tips:

  • Always warm crispy taco shells (or tortilla chips) in a 250F oven for 5-10 minutes. Warming them releases the natural oils, making them crispier and tastier.
  • To jack the flavor up even more, skip the lettuce and cilantro, and buy a bag of “Fiesta” or “Southwestern” salad blend. Mix it up according to directions, and use it as you would plain lettuce in your tacos.
  • If you haven’t tried “Crema” (Mexican sour cream) you should, it’s bolder and more tangy than the regular stuff.
  • Like the taco shells, four or corn tortillas are MUCH better when warmed. Heat them in the dry pan, over medium heat until they just start to brown on the bottom. Flip and repeat. When the tortilla starts to puff up, remove and place inside a  folded towel. If cooking in advance, or in large numbers, wrap 10-12 of the warmed tortillas in foil, and place in a 150F oven to stay warm.
  • Lastly (and this is my favorite) I always mix beef and pork 50/50. Pork has tons of flavor, but is very dry on it’s own. Beef adds a richness, and the necessary fat. Together…amazing! This goes for meatballs, and meatloaf, as well!

I like these best the old-fashioned way: crispy taco shell, sour cream, shredded mexi-cheese, chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes and avocado. My wife and daughter prefect flour “soft” tacos, and once in a while I get a hankerin’ for some fresh corn tortillas from the local Hispanic market.

Enjoy!

-Chef Perry
SimplySmartDinnerPlans.com

Taco Meat Recipe

Best “Gringo” Taco Meat Ever!

1 white onion, diced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup hot water
1 lb. 80/20 ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 Tbs. seasoned salt (to taste)
2 tsp. ground black pepper

Mise en Place:

Dice onions, heat water, combine all spices.

Prepare the Dish:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until just starting to brown, add hot water and simmer until all the water had cooked away (about 10 minutes).

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Add the ground beef and ground pork, in chunks, cooking until it begins to brown. Using a spatula, or flat-edge wooden spoon, begin chopping the meat. Add the spices, and continue chopping until the meat is evenly browned and broken in to pieces no larger than 1/2 inch round.

Stir, cover skillet, and remove from heat. Allow to rest 5 minutes, stir, and rest another 5 minutes.

Great for soft tacos, crispy tacos, burrito or enchilada filling, nachos, and taco salad!

PS – Of you’ve never had a “real” Mexico-style taco. Turn off your computer, right now and run (don’t walk) to your nearest taco truck. Typically, what you’ll find are two layers of warm corn tortillas, slow cooked or grilled meat (chopped or shredded), diced white onions, cilantro, and the eaters choice of any number of delicious spicy hot sauces!

If God made anything better…He kept it for Himself!

Real Mexican Tacos

Something lovely from MY favorite taco truck…

03/2/12

Make your own Taco Seasoning

If you’re buying taco seasoning from the store in those little foil packets, you can save yourself a lot of money – and a lot of  sodium! – by making your own at home.

Oh, and it tastes better, too!

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.

Store in an airtight container.

Would you like to make your taco seasoning in fajita seasoning? Just use a little vinegar (1-2 tablespoons) with the taco seasoning, and it’ll taste just like that  fajita seasoning!

(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)