Feast your eyes upon Mexico’s most underrated tacos
Everyone loves tacos al pastor. Beef steak, chorizo, and shrimp tacos are also hugely popular choices in both Mexico and the United States. But some regional specialties remain tragically overlooked. Jalisco-style tacos de barbacoa, for example, are perhaps the most underrated members of the taco family.
The central Mexican state of Hidalgo is rightly famed for its barbacoa: a succulent, pit-roasted mutton served over soft corn tortillas and often washed down with a mug of pulque. But there are other ways of doing barbacoa and few are better than the slow braised beef packed into crunchy corn tortillas found in the western state of Jalisco.
Here in Guadalajara, the Jalisco state capital, the quality of barbacoa can vary considerably from one establishment to another, but when it’s done right it’s better than practically any other taco filling. Although generally considered a breakfast food, tacos de barbacoa also make a fine lunch and I’d probably eat them for dinner as well if they were still on sale anywhere in the evening. (I’ve looked; they’re not.)
Once stewed in a tomato- and chile-based broth, each helping of shredded beef is typically stuffed into two tortillas and then fried on the comal until the outside turns satisfyingly crispy. Meanwhile the inner layer remains soft and soaks up the flavor from the meaty juices. Add one spoonful of diced raw onion, another of fried onion, a pinch of cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of salsa, and you’re in taco heaven…