Your Guide to Common Mexican Tacos

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TacoMex Cannot Get Enough Tacos! 

We know that the taco looks simple, but the reality is that so much work and effort go into preparing delicious taco fillings, and the tortilla is just the vessel that houses it. 

So what are the most common types of authentic Mexican tacos?

  • Al pastor – The pork is marinated in a blend of spices and chiles, then slow-cooked and topped with fresh pineapple. 
  • Tacos árabes – Combining both Middle Eastern and Mexican flavors, this dish features flavorful marinated pork that is usually roasted over a spit or trompo. 
  • BarbacoaBeef head or cheeks are often cooked over an open flame or a hole in the ground. Sometimes slow-roasted goat is substituted for the protein.
  • Birria – Guadalajara is the country’s birria capital. This spicy meat stew typically features goat that is marinated in guajillo chili-based broth, slow roasted and then served tucked inside pillowy corn tortillas.
  • Buche – Utilizing the pig’s stomach, this is stewed for many hours and incorporates a delightful blend of chiles and spices. Somewhat chewy, you can also order it well-done if you prefer it on the crunchy side.
  • Cabeza – The meat from the cow’s head is braised until falling apart and then spooned inside tortillas and topped with minced white onion and cilantro.
  • Campechanos – Common in southern Mexico, this dish usually features a variety of leftover meats, such as thinly sliced beef and spicy pork sausage, so it offers a well-balanced spicy, salty and crunchy bite. 
  • Carne asada An everyday staple in Mexican-American restaurants, this dish features the short loin of the cow and features a blend of cumin, citrus juices and other spices and is then grilled. The meat is thinly sliced, which makes it easy to stuff inside tortillas.
  • CarnitasAnother American staple, these little meat tacos feature shredded pork shoulder that is braised and then simmered for hours until it falls apart. 
  • Cecina – Thinly sliced, salted and partially dried (either smoked or dried in the sun), the beef or pork is marinated in spicy chili peppers and easily folds into tortillas. 
  • Chapulines – Grasshoppers are common in Mexico, so it’s no surprise that these are often dried, toasted in lime juice, garlic and chilis and sprinkled over tacos or tostadas.
  • ChicharrónSoft, not crispy pork simmers in salsa verde for a chewy, spicy taco filling.
  • Chorizo – Fresh chorizo is  mixed with spicy chili peppers (red or green!) and cooked. 
  • Cochinita pibil A suckling pig marinates in citrus juices, including limes, bitter oranges and lemons and a little vinegar. It is seasoned with annatto seed, wrapped in banana leaves and slow-roasted before being stuffed inside fresh tortillas.
  • Cueritos – Thin strips of pig skin are pickled in vinegar and then seasoned with peppers, chilis, oregano and other local spices.
  • HuitlacocheThis is a fungus that grows on organic corn, which is extremely rare. The inky black fungus is usually heated or canned and has a delightful earthiness that is similar to mushrooms. 
  • LenguaBeef tongue is slow-cooked for several hours, chopped into bite-size pieces and then placed inside tacos, topped with diced fresh tomatoes, onions and cilantro.  
  • Pescado – Fried or grilled white fish is topped with lettuce or cabbage, creamy sauce and pico de gallo salsa.
  • Pollo – These chicken tacos are marinated, grilled and cut into chunks. If the meat is shredded, this makes a tinga taco.
  • Sesos – Cow brains form a custard-like texture that is boiled down, seasoned and either grilled or braised. 
  • Suadero de res – Using beef belly and leg, this is stewed for several hours in lard and then fried. 
  • TripasThe cow’s intestines or stomach are boiled and cooked in a medley of spices. 

While corn tortillas are traditional in Mexico, many American restaurants offer the option of corn or flour tortillas. 

What will your next taco be? The choices are endless! You can find TacoMex tortillas in stores soon.

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