How to Make Mexican Tacos
Wanna taco 'bout how to make authentic Mexican tacos? Live every day like it's Taco Tuesday and try out these seven types of tacos!
Choose a Meat
Save that pound of carne molida(ground beef) in your freezer for burgers! Authentic Mexican tacos are made with many types of meats, such as pork shoulder, steak, chicken, and even cabeza de res(cow head)! Tacos are not typically prepared with ground beef.
Here is a list of seven of the most popular varieties of tacos in Mexico, accompanied by the cut of meat you should buy at the grocery store.
|Type of taco||translation||cut of meat|
|marinated pork tacos||pork shoulder or loin|
|slow-roasted pork tacos||pork shoulder or loin|
|braised pork tacos||pork shoulder or butt|
|spicy pork sausage tacos||longaniza (similar to chorizo)|
|grilled steak tacos||skirt steak or flank steak|
|stewed goat tacos||goat meat or mutton|
|chicken tinga tacos||chicken breast|
Marinate the Meat
The key to juicy, flavorful Mexican tacos is a marinade that has a perfect balance of citrus and spice. You’ll need a blender to make most marinades for Mexican tacos.
The ingredients for the marinade vary depending on the type of taco, but it typically consists of a combination of several of the following ingredients:
The meat will take on more flavor the longer you marinate it, so plan to leave the meat in the marinade for several hours—or even overnight.
Cook the Meat
In Mexican culture, there are a variety of traditional ways to cook meat for tacos. Many are impractical for the average taco maker, so we’ve included alternatives!
|Type of taco||Traditional Method||Alternative|
|tacos al pastor||slow-turning vertical rotisserie or spit||broil in the oven|
|tacos de cochinita pibil||wrapped in banana leaves and roasted in a traditional Mayan underground pit called a pib||wrap the pork in banana leaves and cook in the oven|
|tacos de birria||slow cooked in a hole in the ground covered with maguey leaves||braise meat on the stovetop|
To get perfectly tender carnitas meat, use a slow cooker. For delicious longaniza or tinga tacos, a simple stovetop method works fine!
Prepare the Tortillas
Mexican tacos are traditionally served on fresh, handmade tortillas de maíz. If you’re not in Mexico, where there is a tortillería(tortilla shop) on every street corner, go to your local Hispanic grocery store. For an authentic taste, stay away from the bland, dry, pre-packaged supermarket tortillas.
To heat the tortillas, put a griddle on medium heat and cook the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side. There is no need to add any oil or butter.
Add Your Toppings
If your idea of a perfect taco includes crema agria(sour cream) and a copious amount of queso cheddar(cheddar cheese), just stick to American tacos. When it comes to authentic Mexican tacos, simplicity is key.
Here are some ingredients that are used as toppings for Mexican tacos:
|pineapple (tacos al pastor)|
Isn’t limón translated as lemon? Well, yes, in parts of the Spanish-speaking world. However, limón is used to refer to limes in many parts of Central and South America!
Hungry for more? Satisfy your craving for food-related vocab with these delectable articles!
- Interactive lesson and article: At the Restaurant