That being said, homemade tacos, even with my beloved America's Test Kitchen recipe, just didn't cut it. That McCormick-style seasoning mix and some browned ground beef never tasted like the real thing.
Enter Google. Why had I never looked up "Mexican restaurant style taco meat" before?! I tried a few recipes, then did what any self-respecting cook does and morphed them all to make my own.
The results are ridiculous. I no longer have to leave my kitchen for a $2 Taco Night special to get my fix. Add in some homemade refried beans (try these) and easy-as-pie homemade corn tortillas (whoops, not this time), and your tacos will blow your mind. They key is boiling the meat. Sounds a little yuck, but try it once and you'll never go back.
Drink pairing: Gabe will go classic with a Negro Modelo, while I tend to hit up a nice farm Saison. Or a Mike's if I'm feeling down home.
Music pairing: New Jason Isbell, "Something More Than Free." I may be going out on a limb, but I think that kid has talent.
Restaurant-style Ground Beef Tacos
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 90 minutes
2 lbs. organic grass fed and finished hamburger
1 yellow onion, diced
2 rounded tsp minced garlic
1 TB chile in adobo (puree the whole can and then freeze the rest in 1 TB portions)
1 rounded tsp pepper
1 rounded tsp Mexican Oregano
1 TB salt
1/2 rounded tsp Cumin
1/2 rounded tsp dried cilantro
4 C water
Place ground beef, onions, and garlic in a large sauce pan or stock pot. Cover with water. Add spices and then mash the mixture with a wooden spoon until the beef is broken up and the spices are mixed in.
Cover the pan and let mixture boil at a medium heat for 25 minutes.
Once the beef is cooked through, remove the lid and cook for another hour or so until the liquid has cooked down. Spoon off excess fat.
Serve. Eat too much. Proceed to eat some more.