WARNING – this recipe is posted for informational purposes to the Herb and Spice challenged residents* of certain U.S. regions and other English speaking countries. Tacos of Mexican origin are never (well, rarely) made with ground beef, black olives, lettuce and cheddar cheese. Real tacos use actual corn tortillas, homemade salsa and a variety of imaginatively cooked meats or other fillings.

Please STAY THE HECK AWAY from ‘taco’ shells, ‘taco’ seasoning packets, bottled spice blends (Gebhardts) and cooked bottled ‘salsas’ (Pace, Old El Paso, etc.).

That said, a well made gringo taco is a perfectly tasty snack.

  • Notes for the Humor Impaired: – It’s OK if your and my ancestors didn’t use many Herbs and Spices, and they’ve written countless fine recipes. – I’m 100% American. Really. – If you want to see some really Bad recipes for tacos, search the Kraft Foods website or cooks.com.
  • Yields: 12 tacos
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 4 hours
  • Active: 30 minutes

Ingredients (17)

  • ….. for SALSA
  • 1 ea. small White onion, finely minced
  • 2 ea. fresh jalapeno or serrano chiles, finely minced with seeds and pith removed
  • 2 c. diced tomatoes – fresh or 16 oz. can (drain and save liquid)
  • ….. for MEAT FILLING
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 ea. small White onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 lb. lean (15 – 20%) ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. spice mix (see Instructions) or more to taste
  • ….. OTHER
  • Diced tomato (fresh or canned and drained)
  • Shredded cheese (good quality jack, cheddar or your choice)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 12 regular size corn tortillas
  • SPICE MIX – see Instructions


  1. Prepare the salsa by mixing the diced tomatoes, onion and chiles in a mixing bowl. Blend or leave chunky as you prefer. If salsa is too thick, add a little of reserved tomato juice or water. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to meld the flavors.
  2. Prepare the spice mix from the following ingredients: 2 Tbsp powdered medium hot chile (New Mexico, California, ancho, and/or guajillo), 1 Tbsp paprika, 2 tsp powdered hot chile (chipotle, cayenne, japon and/or de arbol), 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper Store in a sealed glass container.
  3. Prepare the meat filling by sauteing the meat in a skillet until pink color is gone, then drain all but one Tbsp of fat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, spice blend and saute until the onions are soft. Add the vinegar and simmer for one minute.
  4. Prepare the tortillas by heating a skillet and adding enough oil to cover bottom about 1/8 inch. Heat oil to high temp without smoking, then fry tortillas until just crisp (30 seconds per side); drain on paper towels.
  5. Place about one and a half oz of meat filling into the tortilla. Add a little diced tomato, lettuce and shredded cheese. Add salsa to taste.