Taco meat is camping magic. You can put it on chips, mix it into eggs, wrap it up, stir it into queso. It’s a versatile food and making the perfect taco meat is an art. If you’ve ever been subjected to the grisly unseasoned madness of someone who thinks all you need is chili powder and black pepper, you know how foundational wetness is to making that meat palettable. My recipe hinges on two things: a robust blend of spices and moisture.
First, start off with a pound of good ground beef—something with a decent fat content. Remember, moisture is key. My recommendation is to combine all the ingredients in a ziploc and let them sit in the refrigerator for a couple hours to let all the flavors really soak in.
What you need:
Spices—lots of spices. These can vary in proportion and you’ll want to play around with them depending on what sort of dish you’re making.
- Cumin (several tablespoons)
- Chili Powder (also several tablespoons)
- Paprika (and, yes, several tablespoons)
- Weezy’s Garlic Salt (maybe a couple teaspoons)
- Weezy’s Southwest Blend (also a couple teaspoons)
- Black pepper (just a shake or two)
- Ancho Chili Powder (also just a shake or two)
- Red Pepper Flakes (a dash)
- Oregano (also a mere dash)
- Optional: Red Onion, diced; garlic powder; smoked salt
The wetness (sorry, but not sorry at all):
- 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (yes, I am hipster enough to only use Bragg’s)
- A quarter of a pineapple, diced
Now simmer all the ingredients. You’ll know you have the right mix of spices if the meat browns and it stays lighter in color. And there should be liquid, plenty of liquid (the wetness), in the pan after all the meat is browned.