or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Taco Issues

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Please help. I'm having problems with my tacos at my restaurant. We are making deep fried tacos to order. We make the meat in a pan with the fallowing recipe.

 

10 pounds Ground Beef
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 cup Chili Powder
2 tablespoon Cumin
1/2 cup Smoked Paprika
2 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1/4 cup Black Pepper
2 Red Onion (Finley Diced)

 

Place the raw ground beef in a large pot. 
Cover 1/2 way with water and add seasonings and the
finely diced onion. Bring the meat to a boil 
then turn down to simmer.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Break up the 
ground beef as it simmers. Drain meat in a colander. 

 

We then keep the taco meat in a warmer. When we get a order we put the meat inside a corn tortilla shell. We use a fry basket that clamps the shell around the meat so you can fry the taco with the meat inside. 

 

Here are the problems....

 

1) If we drain the grease off the meat, then the meat seems to get dry relatively quickly inside the warmer. Then tastes burnt and old even though its only been on the warmer a few hours.

 

2)  If we DO NOT drain  the grease off the meat and leave the greasy meat sitting in the warmer, then the meat stays much better. BUT the bottom of the taco shell gets really greasy. To the point where the bottom splits open either during the cooking process or at the table. 

 

We have also tried cooking the meat then draining the meat then putting it in the fridge. Then placing the meat on the flat top grill to warm the meat to order. Then putting it inside the shell and frying it.This process seems to over cook the meat because we are cooking the meat 3 time. Once in the pan, once on the grill and again inside the fryer.

 

My questions is this.....

 

What is the process Mexican restaurants use to make deep fried tacos.

 

1) How do they prepare the meat.

 

2) How do they hold the meat.

 

3) How do they prepare the tacos to order.

 

Keep in mind we are not a Mexican restaurant. We are a bar and grill that wants to serve good deep fried tacos!

 

Any help would be great.

post #2 of 20

I'm not sure I can answer your question but I do have 1 for you.  If you chill your meat why do you reheat it before placing it in the shell to deep fry it?  It would seem to me that the meat should get hot enough even if you skipped the warming stage, but the meat right in the shell and fried it.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

Well. sometimes when we put the cold meat inside, the taco shell would get over done by the time the cold meat inside was fully warmed. It was inconstant that way. Either slightly cold meat or over done shell.

post #4 of 20

Mexican restaurants that I go to don't serve ground beef tacos, or fried tacos. This sounds like something you get at the Jack in The Box drive through at 2am.

 

You are boiling ground beef with some seasonings then draining it all off, how much flavor could there be in your final product?

Do you have another means to cook the meat other than boiling? Meat has to be browned and seasoned properly.

 

The recipe calls for only 2T salt for 10lbs of meat? 2 cumin, 2 garlic, not nearly enough. For me, smoked paprika does not scream tacos, it shouldn't be there.

 

What else do you put on the tacos?

How many do you sell a day?

I would skip the deep fried, go with a soft fried corn shell, add your properly seasoned meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, hot sauce or fresh salsa.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

 

 

This is what a deep fried taco looks like. They are delicious if made rite. Its not something you get at a fast food restaurant. Its an item my city is very familiar with. Where i'm from you cant call yourself a Mexican restaurant without a good fried taco. If your eating meat cheese and lettuce inside a precooked molded taco shell your probably at taco bell. The only problem is.... I cant figure it out.

post #6 of 20

I am Mexican American. Tacos all my life.

 

Boil? Deep Fry? Paprika?

 

No.

 

"2)  If we DO NOT drain  the grease off the meat and leave the greasy meat sitting in the warmer, then the meat stays much better. BUT the bottom of the taco shell gets really greasy. To the point where the bottom splits open either during the cooking process or at the table."

 

If you're going to pre-make the taco-thing, then you might as well put them on the prep list and freeze, then throw in the fryer when ordered.

 

When making a "taco" (with the crispy tortilla-chip, formed shell), one would brown the meat in its own fat, simultaneously with the onions using whichever seasonings you choose-traditionally (in south Texas, anyway)-salt, pepper, cumino, fresh minced garlic (or powder), and maybe some chili powder. By the time the meat is browned, the onions will be translucent and ready. One would then drain the beef and then serve.

 

I honestly couldn't imagine pre-making the beef and sitting it in a warmer. Doesn't sound pleasant. I wouldn't know how to pre-make ground beef of any sort...makes be think of fast food burgers. Bleh.

 

How much meat do you prepare for an average shift? What temp are you holding it at? How are you holding it? Sheet-pan? Lexan or cambro-type plastic bins?

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

On a normal day we serve a minimal amount of tacos say 20 to 30. But on $1 "taco night" we serve 50 to 100. Taco night is the day we keep the meat on the warmer for quick service. The other days we keep the pre-cooked meat in the fridge and warm it up on the grill to order. We also use the ground beef for other menu items like Nachos, Mexican pizza, burritos.. etc. So we go through about 10 pounds of meat a day or much more on "Taco Night". Are you saying we should cook the raw ground beef to order every order?

 

 

As far as "Boiling" the meat. I shouldn't actually call it that. Its not completely submerged in water like boiling noddle. We add a small amount of water and kind of simmer it. Then drain. I got the recipe from another online forum. But I'm defiantly going to try it without paprika. 

post #8 of 20

There is a much easier and much much tastier way to go about this, ground beef poses a lot of problems and can be difficult to sear.

 

Firstly, you're omitting 2 of the most important flavor factors.  Searing and braising in flavorful liquid.

 

This is a basic enough recipe for tacos. I've made it, it's good. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/mexican-pot-roast-tacos-recipe.html

I suggest you use the whole chuck rather than the ground beef, and shred it after it is cooked.  It is much easier to sear a whole chuck than it is to sear the same amount of ground beef.  Later, when the roast is ready it's easy to remove the fat from the liquid because it floats on top.  Then when you shred the meat it stays moist within the braising liquid, can be held in the braising liquid or be mixed with the braising liquid at the time of serving, and it's plain old delicious.

 

This has a variety of uses.  It looks more authentic and has a better mouthfeel than the ground beef, can be used in your burritos, top your nachos, and wherever else needed.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
post #9 of 20


Shredded is the way to go. When I was in Mexico none of the places used chopped raw meat

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #10 of 20

Ground beef tacos are definitely a Mexican-American thing.

post #11 of 20
American "Mexican" taco, not Mexican American taco. Subtle but very distinct difference. The tacos made by Americans born in (or originating from) Mexico don't resemble Taco Bell or Del Taco at all or KC-style tacos at all. TexMex tacos, also, are more like American "Mexican" tacos but generally very good.
Edited by BrianShaw - 1/9/15 at 10:36am
post #12 of 20

hat means you are frying at to high a temperature

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #13 of 20

The problem with switching to chuck is his price point is set for ground beef.  Unless he can make a major score and buy bulk he's kind of in a bind.  

post #14 of 20

Sear the ground beef on your flat top adding onions at the start and garlic later on so it doesn't burn. Add your chili powder and cumin when it as about half done so the spice oils release. Salt to taste, black pepper to taste, I would go with some mexican oregano also(small amount). Transfer to your steam table pan. This will leave a lot of fat behind. Add just a tiny bit of water and a little masa flour as a binder to hold the liquid with the meat. You don't want soupy but you don't want dry. You can add a little water as the day goes on if needed. I make taco meat in 5 pound batches for myself and freeze it in ice cube trays. Pop it out and put it in a baggie. If I want tacos I take out as much as I need and reheat with a tiny bit of water.

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

American "Mexican" taco, not Mexican American taco. Subtle but very distinct difference. The tacos made by Americans born in (or originating from) Mexico don't resemble Taco Bell or Del Taco at all or KC-style tacos at all. TexMex tacos, also, are more like American "Mexican" tacos but generally very good.


I meant tacos made by Mexican-America people...

post #16 of 20

W...T....F.... is all I can say! Boiling ground beef in water???? Then draining the fat?!?!? Theennnn.... holding it in a warmer for hours????!!!!  And if that wasn't bad enough... you cook the piss out of it by throwing that sad, dried out meat into a fryer after all that abuse and torture! Ground beef tacos just scream "Taco Bell" to me... but to do all that to some poor, innocent ground beef is just breaking all the rules of cooking professionally.

 

You said yourself that  "Where i'm from you cant call yourself a Mexican restaurant without a good fried taco"  But in your first post you said you are a "Bar and Grill". It sounds to me like it's just a "Bar" with a kitchen that has taco night and doesn't have anybody with any experience actually cooking in the kitchen. Sorry to be so harsh but that is my impression from what you posted. I say that because anybody who cooked professionally for more than a year or so would really be appalled at the methods used here.  

 

If I was cooking there, Yes, I would cook the ground beef to order and sear it on the griddle.... read sear... with fresh garlic, onions, freshly toasted cumin, cayenne, little bit of oregano, lots of kosher salt and cracked pepper. I'd pan or griddle fry raw corn tortillas and I would never place these in a deep fryer because that is just wrong.  I'd just make regular tacos instead of deep fried tacos and the customers would love them and there would never be a problem. I'd make fresh salsas to serve with it and I would top the tacos with a bit of shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and queso fresco. I'd also offer it with a side of some slow cooked beans (not canned) , maybe black or peruvian beans (made with lots of garlic, onions and salt), also finished with a bit of queso fresco on top. This is easy and fast to cook and assemble.  

 

I may not love the idea of a ground beef taco and it screams hack job to me but at the same time I can appreciate good "Tex-Mex" food... What I do know is, I can make a damned good Tex-Mex style ground beef taco and I had one guy that would always want me to make them for him...even though they weren't on my menu. That's how I would do it....

 

Please just toss the deep fried, alto-shammed, ground beef taco idea in the trash and start over with something fresh. If I was drinking at your bar, I'd probably order a second plate of some good tacos if they really were good tacos. If I got some deep fried, dried out innards or falling apart and super greasy attempt at making a taco bell mess, I would probably not order food the next time I drank at your bar. 

post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBeerd Cantu View Post
 


I meant tacos made by Mexican-America people...


Yes, I know and completely understand.  Here is Los Angeles we get three kinds of tacos; that is the point I was making (not implying at all that you weren't correct):

 

Crisp shell with ground beef inside (Taco Bell, Del Taco, and the Americanized sit-down "Mexican" restaurants) which are formularized and assembled from pre-made ingredients.  At Taco Bell the employees are often pimple-faced kids workign their way through high school; at the restaurants they tend to be Mexican-Americans who are cooking rather unfamiliar product in a rather unfamiliar style.  Both sell well, though.

 

Tacos made by Mexican-Americans (who sometimes are so new to this land that they just want to be called Mexicans) are much more true to what is served in Mexico.  Food by Mexicans for Mexicans, for the most part.  These are the best and most varied.  No ground meat, no heap of lettuce and tomato, no Cheddar cheese, no crispy corn shells and definitely no flour tortilla.  Always the standards familiar fillings (like asada  and carnitas) and some rather exotic (like cabeza and buche -- whatever that really is).  I recently tried trompas (pig snout); what an unexpected yummy taste sensation!  I'm talking about small family restaurants and street-side trailers where ordering can be a challenge if one doesn't speak Spanish... and where salsa, even the mild salsa, can be a challenge if one has a delicate tongue.

 

... and then there are the trendy places that emulate real Mexican tacos with soy products (like Jack the stoner does in his absolutely insipid deep-fried "taco" product), or expensive/unfamiliar ingredients like braised pork belly... and then charge an arm-and-leg for them.  Sometimes good; other times just "not bad".  Every time, not what I'd return for.

 

I understand and respect regional differences and expectations.  I eat all tacos (even Taco Bell on rare occasion), but the best are the one's made by Mexicans for Mexicans in the various regional styles of Mexico!  It is an approach that is well worth emulating rather than emulating corporate America's vision of Mexican street food.

 

p.s.  Vic.. I'm with you bro, but not cayenne.  There are so many better chile options readily available these days.  :)

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
 

 

p.s.  Vic.. I'm with you bro, but not cayenne.  There are so many better chile options readily available these days.  :)

Agreed, but that's one of the only dry chile spices at my golf course. I would only use it for those ground beef tacos when that guy ordered them. In fact, I hesitated to post that one ingredient specifically because I knew it would seem a bit "off".

post #19 of 20
That top picture of taco looks a lot like an empanada... anybody else notice that? @kcbarfly if you use shredded/braised beef instead of ground beef your holding issues will go away.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
 


Yes, I know and completely understand.  Here is Los Angeles we get three kinds of tacos; that is the point I was making (not implying at all that you weren't correct):

 

Crisp shell with ground beef inside (Taco Bell, Del Taco, and the Americanized sit-down "Mexican" restaurants) which are formularized and assembled from pre-made ingredients.  At Taco Bell the employees are often pimple-faced kids workign their way through high school; at the restaurants they tend to be Mexican-Americans who are cooking rather unfamiliar product in a rather unfamiliar style.  Both sell well, though.

 

Tacos made by Mexican-Americans (who sometimes are so new to this land that they just want to be called Mexicans) are much more true to what is served in Mexico.  Food by Mexicans for Mexicans, for the most part.  These are the best and most varied.  No ground meat, no heap of lettuce and tomato, no Cheddar cheese, no crispy corn shells and definitely no flour tortilla.  Always the standards familiar fillings (like asada  and carnitas) and some rather exotic (like cabeza and buche -- whatever that really is).  I recently tried trompas (pig snout); what an unexpected yummy taste sensation!  I'm talking about small family restaurants and street-side trailers where ordering can be a challenge if one doesn't speak Spanish... and where salsa, even the mild salsa, can be a challenge if one has a delicate tongue.

 

... and then there are the trendy places that emulate real Mexican tacos with soy products (like Jack the stoner does in his absolutely insipid deep-fried "taco" product), or expensive/unfamiliar ingredients like braised pork belly... and then charge an arm-and-leg for them.  Sometimes good; other times just "not bad".  Every time, not what I'd return for.

 

I understand and respect regional differences and expectations.  I eat all tacos (even Taco Bell on rare occasion), but the best are the one's made by Mexicans for Mexicans in the various regional styles of Mexico!  It is an approach that is well worth emulating rather than emulating corporate America's vision of Mexican street food.

 

p.s.  Vic.. I'm with you bro, but not cayenne.  There are so many better chile options readily available these days.  :)

(even Taco Bell on rare occasion)

 

bleh!

 

jajajjajaja!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking