Ok, not lying when I say these are the BEST Spicy Shredded Beef Tacos. Succulent shredded meat laced with spicy green chiles, chili powder and a kick of acid from cider vinegar. They’re stuffed into puffy fried flour tortillas, sprinkled with shredded cheese, diced tomato and plenty of cilantro.
When it comes to making Mexican food at home, I’m more of a non-traditionalist. Think hatch pepper enchiladas, chicken enchilada tacos quesadillas, beer-braised short rib tostadas, etc. While they all scream Mexican or tex-mex, there isn’t really anything old school about them, for that, I’ll head to my favorite Mexican joint in downtown KC.
However, like any other Mexican aficionado, occasionally all I want is a good old-fashioned taco or burrito with all the fixins’, and I want it within the confines of my own home. In this instance I’ll head to the grocery store and pick up the ingredients for a classic hard-shell taco with ground beef, but if I’ve got a few hours on my hands, today’s Spicy Shredded Beef Tacos are what will appear on our dinner table.
I’ve actually become quite smitten with shredded beef in just about every form of Mexican cuisine, so naturally the filling isn’t just limited to tacos. You could also stuff it in enchiladas, taquitos, flautas, burritos, the lit goes on.
Even though the cook time is significantly longer than a traditional beef taco, it’s honestly just as easy. Here’s how it goes:
A good sized chuck roast is generously seasoned with salt, onion powder and chili powder and browned up in a little bit of canola oil. You could use olive oil, but canola oil has a higher smoke point, and since you want your pan SCREAMING hot to sear the meat and get it super brown and crusty, it’s what works best.
Once almost every inch of the roast is browned, the heat is reduced and tomato paste, beef stock, apple cider vinegar, cumin and a can of green chiles are dumped in, the whole thing is brought to a boil, is a reduced to a simmer, covered and cooked until it’s fork-tender, about 3 ½ hours.
It may seem like an odd ingredient, but I do want to note that the vinegar is pertinent to the final product. It gives the beef this slight tang and acidic taste and, in my opinion is what makes it so delicious. ( I just love a kick of acid in something slightly spicy.)
Once the meat has cooked down, it’s shredded with two forks and tossed with the remaining cooking liquid.
From this point on, you could really do what you want with the shredded beef, but of course today, we’re stuffing them in taco shells. Except these aren’t your average taco shell. Instead of stuffing the meat inside store-bought hard shell tacos or plain flour tortillas (which is FINE), I quickly pan-fried each tortilla in a little bit of canola oil for a puffy-style taco shells.
Each taco is stuffed with the beef and simply dressed with some shredded pepper jack cheese, diced tomato and chopped cilantro.
Best Spicy Shredded Beef Tacos
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 3 1/2 lb chuck roast
- 1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 4 oz can diced green chiles
- 12 flour tortillas
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- Shredded pepper jack cheese
- chopped tomatoes
- chopped cilantro
Mix salt, onion powder and chili powder. Evenly sprinkle it over the roast.
Heat a large dutch oven to a medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the roast. Sear on all sides until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add tomato paste. Cook for one minute. Add beef stock, apple cider vinegar, cumin and green chiles. Add the roast back to the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and continue to simmer for 3 1/2-4 hours or until meat if fork-tender.
Remove roast from pot and use two forks to shred meat. Add meat back to the pan.
Add canola oil to a medium, shallow skillet. Heat over a medium flame, once oil is hot (about 375 degrees), add tortilla, fry until puffed and golden brown, about 30 seconds to one minute per side. Before the tortilla cools, use tongs to fold, into a taco shell, drain on paper towels.Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Spoon beef into tortillas and serve with shredded cheese, tomatoes and cilantro.