Shredded Beef Tacos

Shredded Beef TacosShredded beef tacos are probably the most requested dish in a Mexican restaurant.  On a combination plate, it’s the best friend to the enchilada or chile relleno.  Here, I show you 2 ways to make them:  the longer and most economical way and the “I’m hungry now and I need some tacos right away” method.  The recipe is for the longer, roast beef method.  For the expedited recipe, just use 4-12 oz. cans of roast beef with gravy.  You can find them near the canned tuna and chicken.

Frying the shells can be a time-sucker, but if you choose to do it this way, follow steps 3-5 in the recipe below, adding the tomato, 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic and the spices to the blender.  After opening the meat cans, squeeze the gravy of 2 cans into the blender.  No water is necessary.  After microwaving the tortillas, add the beef, then fold the tortillas in half and secure with 1 or 2 toothpicks.  Drop them into a 1/2″ of heated oil in a large saucepan until golden brown and crispy, turning them once.  Drain on a paper towel, remove toothpicks and serve.

I have found an easier method, which I describe in the recipe.  Here is a preview:

Oven Toasted Taco Shells

Just add some rice and beans and you’re good to go!

Shredded Beef Tacos
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 dozen tacos
  • 2 lbs. chuck roast (or 3 cans roast beef)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ½ brown onion, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • Additional chopped tomatoes, onion, avocado, lettuce, your favorite grated cheese (I used queso fresco)
  1. Season all sides of the roast with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add the beef to the pot and brown on all sides. Add the garlic and onion. Add enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer with a lid for 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.
  2. Allow the meat to cool in the liquid. Shred the meat and set aside.
  3. Remove the onion and garlic from the pot and place in a blender, adding the tomato, 1 tablespoon cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ½ cup of the meat broth. Puree until well-blended.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add all of the shredded beef and brown for about 5 minutes.
  5. Pour in the tomato mixture from the blender. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced, about 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, turn oven on to 350 degrees.
  7. Place ½ of the tortillas on a microwave safe plate and microwave until soft, about 30-45 seconds. Spray each side with cooking spray, then using tongs, hang each tortilla on a rack in the oven, lining them up (see picture above). Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Using tongs again to prevent burning yourself, remove the tortillas. Stuff each with a heaping spoonful of the shredded beef.
  9. Serve with your favorite taco toppings: for example, fresh tomato, onion, avocado, lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream.

Et cetera:  This meat also makes great burritos!