There’s all kinds of ways one can do taco meat. Carne Asada and similar Mexican preparations are great. On the other hand, I find they don’t keep very well and are best eaten right away, when fresh—along with fresh salsa, finely chopped onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
So, for anytime, it’s hard to beat simple ground beef with taco seasoning (you can make your own with: chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, onion powder, salt, paprika, and garlic powder). But let me tell you: toss the directions on taco seasoning packets or containers. No, you do not drain the fat. No, you do not add water. What you do do, is get quality ground beef. 8/20 or 85/15 will do just fine, and more an more places are showing up with grassfed ground beef—even supermarkets that have nothing else in the grassfed realm. Then, cook it very lowly and slowly in a skillet while you chop, chop, chop with the sharp edge of a spatula, such that you have no chunks bigger than a BB. More spiced & seasoned surface area means more flavor explosion (Taco Bell knows what they’re doing in this regard; and I don’t care what anyone says, but the standard, Mark I, Mod A plain crunchy taco is the best thing on their menu).
So now comes the part where you have to wing it. Once the meat is done, you begin sprinkling the seasoning on, fat & all, and stir it in well. Taste, add, taste, add, etc. Optional is adding some beef stock to help mix 7 dissolve the seasonings but be sure to keep it simmering so that it reduces back down.
You’re done. Do two pounds or more at one time and you’ve got some for days. When you need it, spoon some out in a small bowl, nuke for 20 seconds, and you’re ready. Pro tip: Put fresh chopped onions into the meat after it has cooled and been in the fridge a while. Another advantage is that when it cools all the fat settles and hardens on the bottom, so this gives you a chance to break that up and distribute throughout, with the onions.
In terms of tortillas, yea, you can get the crunchy formed shells and I looked at some brand the other day and all it had was corn, corn meal, lime & water. That’s my minimum standard for corn tortillas. Bonus if it’s just organic sprouted corn, lime & water. Our local Whole Foods has a good brand that’s exactly that.
In terms of what’s on it, I like simple. Shredded lettuce, grated or sliced cheddar, hot sauce. I’ll dice some tomatoes if I have them, but not necessary.
Those were the small tortillas and as always, I heat them directly over the flame on my gas stove. Lettuce was Romaine, but this is one application where shaved iceberg is good for the crunch.