Taco Truck Style Beef Tacos
Tacos vary hugely. The difference between authentic Mexican tacos and Tex-Mex style ones is huge. The authentic ones are made with soft tortilla while the Tex-Mex versions use bright yellow, solid U-shaped tortilla shells. Tex-Mex tacos are covered in cheese. Most Mexican ones have very little, if any. Even in Mexico tacos vary from region to region, so the kind of taco you can expect depends exactly where you are. You might be able to get meat, seafood, fish, chicken, or vegetarian fillings, along with a wide range of toppings and condiments.
The following recipe presents tacos Taco Truck style though, so if you live on the East coast and have tried their tacos, this is a very close approximation. Taco Truck tends to wrap the beef mixture in 2 tortillas so the juices do not soak through but if you are eating these at home at the table rather than on the move walking down the street, one tortilla per taco is sufficient. Although beef tacos can be made with marinated flank or skirt steak, we are using ground beef here so you can cook it in 10 minutes instead of overnight marinating and grilling.
The beef is seasoned with chili, garlic, cumin, 2 kinds of ground pepper, sugar and seasoned rice vinegar, to infuse it with a lot of flavors which boast Mexican appeal and all work very nicely together. The beef is served on warm corn tortillas, and then you can decide which toppings to add. Bear in mind you only have spicy beef and tortillas so far, so you might like want to consider traditional south of the border toppings like lime wedges, cilantro, tomatoes and lettuce, or how about grilled onions, cheese or radishes, like the Taco Truck offers?
You can make these different every time by choosing different toppings, but once you taste the tangy, spicy beef mixture you will probably want to make your beef the same way because it tastes so good. If you do not want to use seasoned rice vinegar (which is basically rice vinegar with added sugar and salt) you can use a splash of white wine vinegar, but taste the mixture and your palate will tell you if you need to add more salt and/or sweetener to get the flavor balance correct. Use flour tortillas instead of corn if you prefer, although the corn tortillas seem to go better with the beef mixture. You can also swap the sugar for sweetener or leave it out, but we like to add a little sweetness to balance out the tang from the seasoned rice vinegar. It just works better than way. These tacos are best served immediately while they are still hot.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon red pepper
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon white sugar
- ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 8 small corn tortillas
- Chopped fresh cilantro, tomatoes, lime wedges, lettuce, cheese, grilled onions and/or radishes
- Cook the beef in a skillet over a medium heat for 8 minutes or until browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.
- Grind in the salt.
- Add the chili and garlic powders, cumin, red and black pepper, and sugar.
- If you like your Mexican food really hot, add extra chili powder here.
- Simmer the mixture for a few minutes.
- Pour in the seasoned rice vinegar and simmer for 5 minutes more.
- Keep the mixture moving, using a wooden spoon, so it does not stick to the pan.
- Warm the tortillas for 15 seconds in the microwave.
- Fill the tortillas with the meat and add any garnishes you like.
- Serve immediately, offering 2 tacos per person.
There are plenty of taco styles and fillings, but you cannot go wrong with spicy ground beef and a few special toppings. These tacos are prepared in the Taco Truck style, which means you can expect tasty, tangy beef and plenty of tempting toppings. If you enjoy street food, you will find these tacos offer a similar flavor in every bite, so you can enjoy fond memories of tantalizing Taco Truck food but make it yourself. And these take less than half an hour to prepare from start to finish. Serve them just as they are or offer some Spanish rice on the side to make a complete meal.
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