Almost Fearless

The Absolutely Perfect Chorizo Taco

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We have perfected it. It has taken a year of trial and error, tasting countless tacos around our home on the west coast of Mexico, but finally, it’s here. The perfect chorizo taco. (By the way, this perfect taco is according to the standards in our part of Mexico. If you go other places, they probably do it differently, but as the abuelita who makes her tacos on a food cart by the beach would tell you, they are wrong. This is the correct way to make a taco.)

There is a science.

1

You have to use corn tortillas. If you think flour tortillas taste better, that’s because there’s butter or lard in them. Corn tortillas are just corn flour and water (easy to make, just use equal parts of each), but the thing is, everyone eats them in Mexico. So you grow to love the taste of the corn tortilla. But, here is the trick that makes all the difference: never under any circumstances eat cold corn tortillas. That’s just horrible. They should be freshly made and grilled, but if you have the store bought kind, you can toss them on the same grill you used to cook your chorizo. Just for a minute, so they warm up, get a little crispy and add a little of the fat from the chorizo back into your tortilla.

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2

You have to serve it open-faced. Obviously.

3

Use chopped lettuce or white cabbage for the first layer on top of your warmed corn tortilla. Why? Because the meat and beans hold it in place and you don’t go spilling your lettuce all over the place. (Optional: a little chopped onion).

4

Add cooked chorizo — the Mexican kind — by cutting it in half and grilling both sides. Maybe there are other kinds of chorizo out there, but it seems like everyone uses chorizo de cerdo, and buys the Corona brand:

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Once it’s cooked, browned on both sides, dice it up. Then add a scoop of that to your taco.

5

Cook whole bayo beans (no other kind, only bayo), maybe with a little onion. Ladle a scoop of beans (not too much liquid!) over the chorizo.

6

If you want, add some salsa picante, something really hot.

7

Eat immediately by picking up the tortilla and gently folding it in half and taking a bite. Don’t put it down, you have to eat the whole thing. Did you overfill it? Yup. Don’t do that! Less is more. Just put a little of everything and make more little tacos rather than a few very overstuffed ones (besides it all spills out anyway).

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Note: you can also do this with chicken, but no, you can not make fish or shrimp tacos this way! I’m still working on that. For those, I go to the beach, and get them made-to-order and stand there on the side walk, eating them while trying not to cry in public because they are so good. Maybe after another year in Mexico, I could master the perfect shrimp or fish taco but for now I’m content to let the professionals handle it.

Photos by Drew, on his iPhone. I return from camera-exile in about a week.

 

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”

THERE ARE RARELY HAMMOCKS.

http://christinegilbert.com

8 comments

  • Chorizo I love and Tacos are one of my favourites – for you to put the two together is heaven. I will try. thank you

  • Somehow I feel like I year eating all the non-perfect chorizo tacos is not a terrible fate to be subjected to! I would happily be a guinea pig in that experiment!

    I was surprised to see the chorizo that is used in your neck of the woods. Admittedly, I’ve never had chorizo in Mexico, but there were a few bona fide Mexican joints in Nashville and the chorizo they used always looked more like ground pork than hotdogs. Do you know if chorizo varies throughout the country, or was my favorite Mexican place duping me?

    • It’s quite likely that your Mexican place was giving you the real deal. Even driving a few hours north from where I live in Mexico the way they make tacos changes. As we drove down from the US and I posted pictures, people on the east coast of Mexico, like Cancun or from further south like Mexico City were telling me that the tacos were ALL WRONG in the north. So while it might not be the way in this part of Mexico, there’s a lot of ways to do it. By the way, they do look like hotdogs but they grill up very nicely.

  • Good god I love tacos. I am really missing good Mexican food about now.
    My usual go-to for spice when it comes to anything Mexican these days is pickled jalapenos. If it’s wrong, I don’t care.

    Sort of non sequitur: Every time I see a recipe for enchiladas using flour tortillas I want to find the person who posted it and punch him or her in the face.

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