I LOVE Mexican food, especially shredded beef tacos!!! I have been to many Mexican restaurants and I seriously think that Miguel's Jr. has THE best shredded beef tacos (if you think otherwise, I'd love to hear where you get your shredded beef tacos from!). I've tried a few crockpot recipes for shredded beef but nothing has come close to what I consider a really yummy shredded beef taco.
One day I typed "authentic shredded beef taco" in the google search box. I clicked the first link that came up and it was the One Stop Cook blog that hadn't been updated for awhile and had a not-so-appetizing header. I have to admit that I am a recipe snob. I don't use recipes that are taken from random sources and when I use websites to get my recipes I read page after page of comments to see what people are saying and how to perfect it. If there aren't a lot of comments or ratings I usually won't try it. I'm glad that I overlooked the "cheesiness" of this blog because this post has 54 comments and all of them were really good! The recipe for the shredded beef itself is so easy and uses ingredients I almost always have on hand. I was SO pleasantly surprised and won't ever use another shredded beef recipe unless I am completely blown away.
Here are a few things you should know. Although the meat recipe is SO easy, the meat alone has to cook for 3-4 hours so make sure you're going to be home. Also, I'm sure that you could adjust this for the crockpot, I just haven't tried it. The actual making of the taco is labor intensive but you could just use your typical way of making tacos. Lastly, the tacos themselves aren't exactly the healthiest meal BUT if you eat them on occassion I'm sure you'll be just fine. :)
Okay so here's the recipe for the shredded beef. I modified the amount of salt because it was WAY too salty but other than that most of the information comes from The One Stop Cook blog.
2lbs. chuck roast, 2in. cubes and trim off fat ( you can also use top or bottom round )
1/2 level tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. cumin
1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder ( light or dark )
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
4 bay leaves
1 onion ( small dice )
Add meat, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and bay leaves to a 3 to 5qt. pot. Add water to cover, about 1/2in. over the top of the meat and boil covered for 2 hours stirring occasionally.
Add diced onion and boil for 1 more hour covered stirring occasionally. At this point the meat should start to break down. Remove bay leaves and continue to break it down using a wooden spoon or spatula (I prefer the wooden spoon). Continue to boil uncovered until the liquid has evaporated and continue to shred the meat with the wooden spoon or spatula. At this point my meat is usually tender and the liquid has evaporated. If yours isn't, keep boiling until the liquid has evaporated.
Now if you want to take this a step further and make the tacos in the same way that the blog suggests, it is more time consuming but so yummy!
Shredded Beef Tacos
2/3 head lettuce ( shredded )
2 tomatoes ( small dice )
3 oz. cheddar cheese ( shredded )
16-20 corn tortillas ( 6in. )
2-3 cups oil ( corn or vegetable )
Heat oil in an 8in. cast iron skillet for more even cooking. You can use any 8in. skillet, I just like the performance of cast iron for frying. Or use a deep fryer. Never fill pan more than 1/2 full of oil, it may bubble over during cooking. Okay so my side note, I don't measure the temp of the oil, I've always cooked my tortillas in oil and so I just take a small piece of tortilla put it in the oil and if it gives a good sizzle then it's ready for me. (If you're into exacts, here are the original instructions: heat to 350 degrees. It is very important to reach 350 degrees or the tortillas will not cook right.) With a pair of tongs place 1 tortilla into the oil and fry for about 3-5 seconds, just long enough to make the tortillas pliable and easy to work with. Repeat process until all tortillas are cooked, stack them on a plate, flip the entire stack over and get ready for assembly.
Note: Always be careful when using hot oil it can be very dangerous if not handled properly.
Take about 2 to 3oz. of shredded beef and place on upper half of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and insert 2 toothpicks. Kind of like sewing. Repeat until all of the tacos are done. You might want to turn the heat down on the oil while doing this. (If this is confusing, go to the original post so you can see his assembly pictures.)
Take 2 to 3 tacos at a time and place into 350 degree oil and cook for about 1 to 3 minutes a side, or until crispy. You might notice after a batch or two that the oil will lower in temperature. There is something called “recovery time” when using hot oil. This is caused by putting a cool product into something hot.
Remove tacos and let stand for 1 minute. Remove toothpicks, open and add shredded lettuce, cheese and diced tomatoes. You’re ready to eat!