The highlight of any week if you ask us? Taco Tuesday! Not only are tacos beloved, but they’re also trending. Keep reading to get Chef Howard’s take on amazing tacos that take Taco Tuesday to a whole new level!
The year was 1973 (at least that’s what the legend says). In the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota the Snow White Drive asked people to “Stop in on Taco Tuesday,” and a the legend was officially born…..
Since that day, the idea of “Taco Tuesday” has been adopted by everyone everywhere with Taco John’s trademarking the phrase in 49/50 states, with New Jersey being the exception. Taqueria’s, Mexican restaurants, and bars all over the US have been taking advantage of the phrase and running Tuesday specials to draw customers in for their version of what a taco is. With the popularity of food trucks, tacos have taken on a life of their own! The fillings and combinations of flavors being thrown into a tortilla shell are endless and, in some cases, seem to not make sense, but, somehow, they manage to work.
Here are some of my favorite types of tacos to make and some that I’m not afraid to build a road trip around (not even a joke, ask my wife….).
- Puffy Tortilla Tacos – imagine, if you will, a world where flour tortillas are deep fried until puffy and filled with deliciously savory and spicy shredded braised beef, an avocado salsa, and some creamy lime spiked crema. This was one that I was lucky enough to grab when I lived in Dallas a few years ago, and it has stuck with me for several reasons. The texture of that fried corn tortilla was soft yet perfectly crispy. The braised beef was flavored with cinnamon, red chiles, cumin and coriander. Cinnamon, you say? YES, it was this beautifully sweet undertone that went perfectly with the mild heat of the Ancho chile and savory brightness of the cumin and coriander. Topped with fresh onions, cilantro, and that cold fresh lime infused crema… it was just perfect. I don’t know how else to describe it other than just WOW….
- Birria Tacos – Talk about an internet craze gone wild during the pandemic! The history of the Birria goes back to Coatzingo Mexico in the 1950s but you aren’t here to read about that; you want to know what makes the best Birria taco and what to expect when you dip. Birria was traditionally made from goat but when they realized that they could get more yield and make more money from beef they switched over. The move to the US came in about 2013 in LA when Ruben Ramirez and his cousin Oscar Gonzalez opened up a stand in in South Central; from there the rest is history. Today Birria is everywhere. It was a TikTok viral trend of 2020, and the tacos are filled with everything you can imagine, but the one thing that has stayed the same is the Consommé, a rich broth flavored with chilis, garlic, onion, beef broth and beef fat.
- The Vessel – When most people think of a taco they think of a corn or flour tortilla fried into the traditional shape and filled, but what if I told you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, the tostada is taking its place in the kitchen alongside the taco. While tacos are considered to be snacks easily eaten because of the shape and portability, a tostada is something that is meant to be eaten at a table. Its flat, crispy, sturdy base makes it a great way to layer ingredients and create combinations often times not easily eaten in the form of a taco. Layers of beans, roasted vegetables, stewed or grilled meats, pickled peppers, and fresh herbs are all things you can expect to find on a single perfectly toasted crispy base.
- Flautas and Taquitos – Is it a fried rolled taco? Is it a flauta? Is it a taquito? Well, it is kind of all of them but it’s not…. Depending upon where in Mexico you are (or where the chef/restauranteur is from) the size and shape of the tortilla is the difference. A flauta is often times made from a flour burrito shell, filled, and rolled very long and thin before being fried. A taquito on the other hand is generally made from a corn tortilla, is shorter and fatter, a taquito is thought of as a snack (just like a taco) while a flauta is the main part of a meal. Which ever version you choose the fillings are the same, they are both just as tasty as the other and are never lacking in flavor!
- Fried Tacos – You’re probably thinking “fried taco? Aren’t most tacos already fried? But this isn’t the same kind of fried taco. Take that corn tortilla shell, fill it with some well-seasoned taco meat, cheese, your favorite hot sauce and a cabbage and vinegar slaw then close it up and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. Once cold, heat some oil in a pan to shallow fry and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side so they are golden brown and crispy. Serve while hot with your favorite salsas, and you have a great easy alternative to your normal tacos.
Interested in creating a Taco Tuesday inspired menu item or product? Chef Howard and our R&D team have got you covered! Contact us today to learn more about our innovation and product development capabilities.