Simple Beef Tacos for Anytime

There’s all kinds of ways one can do taco meat. Carne Asada and similar Mexican preparations are great. On the other hand, I find they don’t keep very well and are best eaten right away, when fresh—along with fresh salsa, finely chopped onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

So, for anytime, it’s hard to beat simple ground beef with taco seasoning (you can make your own with: chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, onion powder, salt, paprika, and garlic powder).  But let me tell you: toss the directions on taco seasoning packets or containers. No, you do not drain the fat. No, you do not add water. What you do do, is get quality ground beef. 8/20 or 85/15 will do just fine, and more an more places are showing up with grassfed ground beef—even supermarkets that have nothing else in the grassfed realm. Then, cook it very lowly and slowly in a skillet while you chop, chop, chop with the sharp edge of a spatula, such that you have no chunks bigger than a BB. More spiced & seasoned surface area means more flavor explosion (Taco Bell knows what they’re doing in this regard; and I don’t care what anyone says, but the standard, Mark I, Mod A plain crunchy taco is the best thing on their menu).

So now comes the part where you have to wing it. Once the meat is done, you begin sprinkling the seasoning on, fat & all, and stir it in well. Taste, add, taste, add, etc. Optional is adding some beef stock to help mix 7 dissolve the seasonings but be sure to keep it simmering so that it reduces back down.

You’re done. Do two pounds or more at one time and you’ve got some for days. When you need it, spoon some out in a small bowl, nuke for 20 seconds, and you’re ready. Pro tip: Put fresh chopped onions into the meat after it has cooled and been in the fridge a while. Another advantage is that when it cools all the fat settles and hardens on the bottom, so this gives you a chance to break that up and distribute throughout, with the onions.

In terms of tortillas, yea, you can get the crunchy formed shells and I looked at some brand the other day and all it had was corn, corn meal, lime & water. That’s my minimum standard for corn tortillas. Bonus if it’s just organic sprouted corn, lime & water. Our local Whole Foods has a good brand that’s exactly that.

In terms of what’s on it, I like simple. Shredded lettuce, grated or sliced cheddar, hot sauce. I’ll dice some tomatoes if I have them, but not necessary.

Today’s lunch.

IMG 1643
Taco Time!

Those were the small tortillas and as always, I heat them directly over the flame on my gas stove. Lettuce was Romaine, but this is one application where shaved iceberg is good for the crunch.



  1. Raphael S on May 31, 2013 at 02:31

    “Bon’app” ?!?!

    If you tell me you haven’t been to France but know the shortening of ‘bonne appetit’ I won’t believe you! :)
    Reading it made me homesick and smile though haha

  2. gallier2 on May 31, 2013 at 03:37

    Raphael S, it’s “bon appétit” even if bon is pronounced like bonne. It has to do with the fact that French hate to pronounce 2 vowels in a row (some combinations are possible like éa, aï but most are not).
    Just saying.

  3. Hugh on May 31, 2013 at 06:39

    Making fresh corn tortillas to order is pretty easy, especially with a kitchen scale. I’ve found that 15 grams of masa to 25 grams of water is a good ratio. If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can flatten the tortilla between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper with a heavy skillet. Cook on a hot griddle or nonstick skillet about 1 min per side, then let steam & finish cooking a few more minutes covered with a towel.

  4. Richard Nikoley on May 31, 2013 at 06:41

    Yea, I was going to say that.

    Any rate, Raphael, yea, used to live there and seem to recall people saying bon’app informally now & then. But there’s a lot of that stuff. Just like most people I was around never say Tu es… but T’es, yea, just like Gallier says.

  5. Paul on May 31, 2013 at 06:59

    Hugh, I’ve tried it 2 times, smoked my whole apartement. I used coconut oil.

  6. EF on May 31, 2013 at 07:53

    How timely – the wife and I are making beef tacos tonight.

    Do not drain the fat is key. So is sour cream and cilantro.

  7. Justin on May 31, 2013 at 09:18

    I make 2 lbs of grassfed ground taco meat and use it on taco salads (made similarly to how you suggest though with the rendered fat I never seem to need to add any water). Pro-tip of my own — add sliced mushrooms into the taco meat to absorb even more of the fat/flavor and make the beef go a little farther. I’m getting hungry just thinking about this.

    Simple taco salad: sliced avocado, organic lettuce, salsa (I admit my favorite at the moment is pace picante medium), pickled jalapenos, and taco meat! SO GOOD. So easy. It’s almost a weekly meal in our house.

  8. Richard Nikoley on May 31, 2013 at 10:45

    Love the sour cream, especially the way the Mexicans do it. Fresh cilantro can go with anything at any time.

    On the other hand, I’m naturally resistant to kitchen sink preparations.

    Justin. I actually did a taco salad recently and did it in kind of a unique way, basing it on my mom’s recipe going back to when I was in HS. I’ll have to blog about it.

  9. Butter on June 1, 2013 at 13:19

    Richard, I’ve found the perfect diet for you. The Hallelujah diet

  10. Jack on June 2, 2013 at 18:49

    Sour cream and tacos rule! First fried fish and now tacos. Hoping you will do sloppy joes tomorrow!

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