If you find yourself at home craving a succulent taco, chances are you go to the store and grab the following items; tortillas, ground beef, taco seasoning, cheese, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, and maybe some beans to go on the side.
This all sounds great until you've been to Mexico, and realize that what you are really craving is something a little more auténtico: homemade tortillas filled with sizzling carne asada, piled high with fresh pico de gallo, and an ice cold Corona on the side. Luckily, I am going to let you in on a little secret, and share how you can easily replicate these delicious tacos on your own at home.
During my time in Baja I had the opportunity to build incredible relationships with some of the local women of Loreto. They taught me the ins and outs of making some of the best tacos. Since then i've had fun throwing BBQ’s for friends and family. Here's how to pull off a true mexican bbq.
- 1 bag masa harina (you can usually find this next to the flour at your grocery store)
- 1-2 lbs flank or skirt steak
- 4-5 Roma tomatoes
- 1 lrg bunch cilantro
- 1 onion (white or purple)
- 5-10 limes (you can never have too many limes)
- 1-2 avocados (serve on the side or on your taco)
- 2-3/person whole spring onions
- 1 bag tortilla chips
- Coronas or Pacificos, to your liking!
First, and foremost, get your grill or BBQ cranking! Turn it up to medium-high.
Now, prepare your pico de gallo.
Pico de Gallo
- Dice the roma tomatoes and toss in a bowl.
- Mince white or purple onion into small pieces and toss in the bowl with the tomatoes.
- Pull the cilantro off of the stems and mince (a hardy bundle should do); toss in the bowl with the tomatoes and onion.
- Squeeze three or four small limes over the veggies, add a few shakes of salt and pepper, and mix it all together.
- Your Pico is complete!
Next we will work on your tortilla making skills. Without being shown for your first time, this process can come with some trial and error. However, I have complete faith you will be able to figure it out, and they are so delicious they're worth it!
Homemade Corn Tortillas
What you need:
- 2 cups masa harina
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups warm tap water
- 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Mixing bowl
- 1 gallon plastic baggie
- Rolling pin or water bottle (unless you happen to have a tortilla press laying around)
- Cast-iron griddle or skillet
- Clean kitchen towel
- Prepare your tortilla press: cut your plastic baggie in half so you open it like a book.
- Mix the dough: mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl. Pour in water and one teaspoon of oil. Using your hands knead the dough mixing all the ingredients together. It's helpful to oil your hands before doing this to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. We kept a paper towel soaked in oil next to us throughout the process, and continually oiled our hands. The dough is done when it is no longer sticky and feels similar to play-doh. Adjust the dough as you go; if the dough is too sticky, add some more masa one tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too crumbly add water one tablespoon at a time. Remember: it is important to use your hands: “True tortillas are not made with a spoon.”
- Roll the dough into balls: pull off enough dough for you to be able to roll it into roughly the size of a pingpong ball.
- Press the dough: place your ball of dough inside the plastic baggie you cut open and using the rolling pin, roll out your ball to about ⅛ inch thick. You can also use a cutting board and apply pressure to flatten the balls. Using the cutting board allows you to make perfectly shaped tortillas.
- Peel the tortilla away from the top of the plastic, flip the tortilla over into your palm and remove the back of the plastic.
- Toss the tortilla directly onto your griddle and cook each side for 1-2 minutes. Your griddle should be nice and hot when you start, and kept over a medium heat throughout the process.
- After your tortilla is cooked wrap it up in a clean kitchen towel. The tortillas will steam and soften in the towel so if they come off the griddle a little dry don't worry.
OK, your Mexican BBQ is almost complete!
Toss the spring onions with a little salt and oil. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Brush the grill with a little oil to prevent sticking. Throw the onions and the steak on the grill. Pull the onions off the grill when they are lightly charred.
Slice up your avocado and toss those chips in a bowl.
When your meat is done cooking (about 8-10 minutes per side for medium rare, or cooked to your liking), pull it off the grill and let it sit for 5 minutes. Slice it into strips and put it in a serving dish. Set it up so everyone can gather around the table and make their own tacos putting whatever they like on their steaming tortillas.
Make sure you top off your taco with fresh lime and wash it down with a cold cerveza!