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Friday, November 18, 2011

Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

I absolutely love Mexican food!  One of the things I miss most about living in California is not being able to get mouth-wateringly good carne asada whenever I want.  There are good Mexican restaurants here in Kentucky, but they just don't compare to those hole-in-the-wall places I came to love in San Diego.  Mexican food has always been in my cooking repertoire, and it's one of those cuisines in which I feel confident when not using a recipe (except when making tamales!).  I make delicious green chile enchiladas (if I do say so myself), but I don't remember learning how to make them...I just know.

So, enter the humble taco.  I've always made tacos at home using hamburger meat, but last week while taking stock of my freezers (yes, I have multiple freezers), I realized that I have a ton of stew meat that I bought last fall from Marksbury Farm.  I immediately thought that done right, it could make some awesome taco meat...and I was right!  With five minutes of prep in the morning and about 10 minutes in the evening, you can have delicious and healthy tacos after a long day of work.  Who doesn't want that?!

Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

Cook's Notes: I used a Porter as the beer of choice, but feel free to use any beer that tastes good to you.  Also, you can find queso fresco in the deli section or Mexican food refrigerated case at your local grocery store or at any Latin American specialty stores.  If you're not sure how to cut an avocado, see my tutorial.

Taco Meat:
2 pounds beef stew meat
1 bottle of dark beer
1 cup fresh or prepared salsa
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Pepper, to taste

Corn Tortillas
Finely shredded cabbage
Sliced avocado
Thinly sliced radishes
Queso Fresco
Lime wedges

To make the taco meat:
Pat dry the stew meat and place in your slow cooker.  Add the beer, salsa, onions, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper.  Stir to mix.  If the meat isn't completely covered by liquid, add enough water to cover.  Set on low and cook for 8 hours.

Once the meat has cooked and is falling apart, remove to a rimmed baking sheet with a slotted spoon.  Taste the meat for any seasoning adjustments.  If you're happy with the texture of the meat, using a wooden spoon, press down on the chunks until the meat is shredded.  If you'd like the meat to be a little drier, place in a 400 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until the meat is crispy enough for your taste.  If it gets too dry, add a little bit of the slow-cooker cooking liquid.  (When done, toss the remaining cooking liquid.)

To assemble the tacos:
Heat the tortillas on the stovetop (in a pan or on a griddle) or wrapped in foil in a hot oven.  To make each taco, layer two tortillas and add about two tablespoons of taco meat.  Top with crumbled queso fresco, radishes, avocados and shredded cabbage.  Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top of each taco right before eating.

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Candy November 18, 2011 at 6:21 PM  

Wow, these look good! I wish I had one right now!

S December 12, 2011 at 2:53 PM  

I am definitely going to try this! Looks so good and EASY.

Christina @ ovenadventures December 25, 2011 at 1:40 AM  

Made these for dinner and they were fabulous. Love this recipe

Mindy December 27, 2011 at 12:35 PM  

Mis-Cakes, I'm so glad you liked it!

Anonymous,  April 21, 2012 at 11:19 AM  

This recipe looks great, but I am not a fan of using beer in my cooking.

Do you think that there are any replacements that would work just as well? Thanks :)

Mindy April 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM  

@Anonymous, I would substitute a low-sodium beef broth--I think about a cup and a half should do it. Add enough water to cover the meat. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

mzzbev April 29, 2012 at 1:16 PM  

I too miss those "holes in the wall" restaurants with Abuela in the background cooking all the food. Growing up in El Paso, I've never had "carne asada" and I'm so glad I found your recipe. I had a co-worker ask me about it the other day and I had no idea was he was talking about....and I grew up eating frijoles con tortillas. My mom just never made, at least I don't think she did. Anyway, please come to my Fiesta – Cinco de Mayo linky party. I’d love to have you enter all your delicious Mexican/Tex Mex recipes! Hope to see you there! http://isavortheweekend.blogspot.com/2012/04/fiesta-cinco-de-mayo-linky-party.html

Mindy April 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM  

@iSavortheWeekend, thanks for the comment! Technically, this isn't carne asada, which is a flat steak grilled, but I have a hard time finding the right cut of meat here in Kentucky, so this will have to do! :-)

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