Shredded Beef Tacos

Being a native of Arizona, I have been able to eat at a lot of good Mexican food restaurants in my life.  That is one of the best things about living here!  Oddly enough, even though I love to cook, I really haven’t made my own Mexican food very much in the past.  Most of it has seemed like a mystery to me.  I had no idea how to achieve the amazing flavors I’ve experienced.  Until now!

My favorite food in all the world is tacos.  This year I have been on a mission to find taco recipes and cooking techniques that will achieve the type of restaurant tacos I love.  And,  I think I have finally found it!  These tacos are so flavorful.  And, the interesting thing is, the ingredients are very simple.  It involves cooking the meat for a very long time, and then kind of infusing the concentrated juices into the meat.  Sounds difficult, but it is not hard at all.

My family loved these tacos as well.  My husband grew up having taco parties for special occasions.  Our daughter heard about that, and decided she would like to have one for her 18th birthday.  I served these tacos, and they were a hit.  It is a great thing to do for a party, as you can cook the meat a few days earlier, and then just fry the meat in the shells at the last minute.  In another post, I’ll share a great salsa recipe to go with it.

One warning, if you are going to try this recipe. You have to watch it close at the end or it can burn very quickly.  I know from experience.  It was the saddest thing.  The aroma of the meat cooking tantalized me all day, and I was really looking forward to dinner that night.  Then, all of a sudden, the lovely aroma turned into a reeking aroma in a matter of minutes.  All of that beautiful meat ruined.  So disappointing!  I have tried the recipe twice since then, watched it attentively the last hour, and it turned out great.  Just make some rice and beans to go with it, and you have a restaurant quality Mexican meal for your family and friends at home!

Shredded Beef Tacos

  • Servings: approximately 12
  • Difficulty: moderate due to the many steps
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  • 4 lbs. sirloin tip roast or rump roast
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 T +1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 T canola or vegetable oil
  • corn tortillas
  • bottle of canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • condiments for tacos, such as lettuce, cheese, onion, and salsa, (optional)
  1. Add the salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to a small bowl so it will be easy to add to the meat.  Set aside.
  2.  Trim any big chunks of fat off of the roasts.  Be sure to use 4 pounds of meat or it will be too salty. Dice into big cubes, approximately 2 inches each.
  3. Pour oil into a large soup pot.  Preheat the pot to medium high heat.  As soon as it is hot, add the cubed meat to the hot pan along with your little bowl of seasoning.  Fry the meat until browned, about 4 to 8 minutes on each side.
  4. When the meat is browned, pour in enough water to barely cover the meat, about 1/2 gallon.  Turn the heat to high and COVER.  Once the meat comes to a boil, back the heat off to a low simmer.  Cook it for about 2-3 hours stirring occasionally.  Make sure you use a tight fitting lid so the liquid won’t evaporate too quickly.  If you notice the liquid evaporating fast you may need to add more water, but you don’t want to add too much or the flavor will be dilluted.
  5. After 2-3 hours poke the meat to see if it is easy to break up and shred.  If it is, don’t shred it, just REMOVE THE LID, and keep simmering until most of the liquid has evaporated.  If it is not easy to break down yet, just put the lid back on and continue simmering until it is easy to shred.  You want to keep as much liquid in your pot until the meat is tender.  Only at this point do you want to remove the lid and let the liquid evaporate.  This will ensure your meat is extremely tender and falling apart.  All together the meat will take about 3 1/2-4 hours total.  Keep monitoring your meat and stirring during the last hour and especially as the liquid level gets low.
  6. Once the liquid has almost completely evaporated, use a wooden spoon to break the meat down and shred it in the pot, stirring it into the last little bit of liquid that is left in the pot which shouldn’t be very much.  Set aside the meat.
  7. In a large, deep skillet, pour enough vegetable or canola oil to fill pan about 3 to 4 inches deep.  Heat oil to medium high.  When oil is hot, carefully place about 2 to 3 tablespoons of shredded meat into a corn tortilla.  Gently fold the tortilla in half over the meat.  Hold the taco with metal tongs, and place into the hot oil, continuing to hold it closed with the tongs for about 30 seconds or until the taco stays closed on its own.  Keep frying until shell is just starting to brown, approximately 1 minute 30 seconds more on each side. Don’t get the shell too brown, or it won’t be like the kind you get at a restaurant.  Drain and set to dry on a plate lined with paper towels.
  8. When cool enough to touch, stuff with fillings such as shredded cheese and lettuce, diced onions and tomatoes, and salsa.  Makes approximately 12 tacos.

Recipe from Cook AZ I Do, adapted from: 


About Shari

My name is Shari, and I am an Arizona native and married mother of 3 who loves to cook and bake and figure out how to garden successfully in our suburban home in the desert. On this blog you will find a combination of savory and sweet recipes that have been tested by me, along with many tips to help you be successful. I hope you enjoy them! (
This entry was posted in Cinco de Mayo, Company, Main Dish, Mexican, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Shredded Beef Tacos

  1. Vicki says:

    Yummy! One of my favorite things too!

  2. Pingback: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With a Taco Party! | Cook AZ I Do

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