My most favorite of all days. The day of putting salsa on things and corn tortillas and yummy smells and margaritas! Growing up, tacos were kind of a thing in my family. Why, I’m not really sure, we’re like, the whitest white family you’ll ever meet. But for whatever reason my grandmother on my dad’s side makes tacos. It’s her thing. And so my mom made them like she made them. And then taught me…well I think I learned more from osmosis, but you get the point. My whole dang life; someone’s birthday? Tacos! Someone died? Tacos! Someone’s getting married? Tacos! Relatives visiting from out of town? Tacos! Summer vacation? Tacos!
Let me preface this by saying we do not buy pre-made crunchy taco shells from the store. No, no, no. That won’t do my friend. You get your corn tortillas, you get your small-ish shallow frying pan good and hot with your oil in it, and you fry. (As I write this I’m thinking a video tutorial may be necessary, if anyone wants one shout it out in the comments!)
Get yourself some ground beef (or turkey or chicken or even black beans) and cook it in a separate skillet first, seasoned to your liking. I recommend seasoning it yourself with chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Those pre-made ‘taco seasoning’ packets you buy at the grocery store are usually super high in sodium, and in our house that just doesn’t fly.
Once your meat is cooked, put it on a back burner of your stove behind whichever burner your taco frying pan is on. Get your oil hot in your frying pan. You’ll know its hot when the surface begins to ripple. You can also make a sacrificial test run by throwing a tortilla in there to see what happens. (And by throw I mean ‘gently lay’- you obviously don’t want to burn yourself)
Lay the tortilla in the oil until the edges begin to pop and sizzle. Then use your tongs to flip it over to the other side. Scoop your desired amount of filling and gently lay it on one half of the tortilla being careful not to let meat bits fall into the hot oil. This part is a little tricky and may take some practice. If a piece of meat does fall in the oil, don’t panic, just take your tongs and scoop it out as quickly, and gently, as possible. (Meat left in the oil can pop and fly up and take out an eye, true story. Did I mention you should be wearing an apron? Because you probably should.)
Use your tongs to fold the tortilla in half, turning it once to let both sides crisp up. When your ready (and hopefully before you’ve burnt the taco) pick up the taco by the top (open side) of the ‘shell’ and move it over to your prepared cookie sheet/cake pan/pyrex lined with paper towels, to drain.
Then keep repeating all those steps until all your tacos are fried or all your meat is used up. If you have more meat than tortillas, save the ground meat in a ziplock bag and freeze it! I use the extra for chili, soup, or a speedier taco night another day.
You may have noticed that you’re literally frying one. Taco. At. A. Time. Yup. That’s just how it’s done. And if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. It is time consuming. And I’ll admit that one time while making them when I was 4 months pregnant, I actually got light-headed half way through and had to take a break and sit down. But once you get good at, it goes by fairly quickly. And really the only downside is if your making them on a hot day without air conditioning. Otherwise, IT’S ALWAYS WORTH IT.
Enjoy and you’re welcome!