The Spring and Summer Guide to Street Tacos: Delicious Mexican Dishes for Your Outdoor Gatherings
Spring and summer are a time to be outdoors and enjoy the abundant sunlight and warm weather. There is no shortage of great food ideas for people preparing for their outdoor gatherings, backyard pool parties, barbeques, or park picnics, but you can’t go wrong with the ultimate outdoor party food item: the street taco. This is one go-to favorite that has gained so much steam in the past few years it has gone from food cart vendors to a menu item at high-end gourmet restaurants.
So, if you’re preparing an outdoor food party, here’s the ultimate street taco guide.
Mexican Street Taco Options
In the world of the street taco, it is all about keeping things simple and authentic. Some might argue that less is more when it comes to preparing the best drop-dead-delicious taco. Others like to top their tacos with plenty of fixings, but what truly defines a taco is the taste of the meat, how it’s prepared, and the right touch of ingredients and spices.
So what are the most common street taco options? Let’s take a quick look.
#1 Tacos Al Pastor
The staple of the juicy street taco. This type of taco has a surprising history that comes all the way from Lebanon. As the story goes, Lebanese immigrants moved to Mexico in the early 20th century and brought with them a very specific technique of vertically spit-roasted meat. It is this technique that is the bread and butter for many tacos al pastor stands in the streets of Mexico, where the custom was adopted using pork. Al Pastor translates to “the style of the shepherd.” These are thin strips of pork that are marinated with chiles and spices and then stacked onto a long spit. The meat cooks and the top layer is crisped, which adds to a lot of the style. And while in authentic street tacos the spit is part of the very specific taste, it’s not necessary to have when making them at home.
Next on the list is the one-and-only barbacoa taco. This inspiration seems to have evolved from the Caribbean. The original way of cooking the meat was laying whole meats on agave plants and covering them until the meat was juicy and tender. All the fats and juices help to marinate the meat as it cooks. Of course, you don’t need an open fire pit to cook barbacoa in your home. As many restaurants do, they simply cook it like a pot roast. You can also purchase ready-to-eat delicious barbacoa.
Barbacoa is usually tougher cuts of meat that require longer, slower cooking. More traditionally barbacoa is taken from the cheek or head of the cow. Many people have experimented with using other gamier meats such as lamb, goat, and mutton.
#3 Carne Asada
Can’t go wrong with steak. Carne asada refers to the Latin American equivalent of barbeque. Using steak for street tacos has grown in popularity. The key here is the way the meat is marinated and seasoned and then going on in a blazing hot grill. The longer the meat marinades, the juicier and better the tacos will be.
Often thought of as a breakfast meat, chorizo has so much more to give. This spicy sausage can be used in a variety of dishes. Chorizo has a Spanish origin but was adopted with a unique Mexican spin that included native chilis and special spices. Chorizo and dubbed meats originated from Spain. The word is from the Portuguese “sourcio” and the Latin word for “salted.”
Another favorite is carnitas. These are pork meats simmered and cooked in fat. When cooked in this way, carnitas become juicy and flavorful. This makes incredibly tender pork, which can then be browned with some grilling or browning treatment.
Must-Have Ingredients for Street Tacos
Once you have the meat covered, the ingredients to the perfect street taco are just as important. If you’re serving a big party, simply providing various options can mean people prepare their tacos with their favorite ingredients. The most common ingredients include:
- Freshly prepared corn tortilla (small)
- Pico de gallo
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce or salsas
- Mango or mango sauces
Why Street Tacos are Perfect for Your Outdoor Gatherings
Whether you buy ready-to-eat Mexican meat or buy raw products and cook them yourself, street tacos make perfect food for outdoor parties and gatherings. They are easy to prepare, easy to serve, and quickly fill people up fast. You can’t go wrong!
Get Quality Mexican Food and Prepare a Feast
Here at Productos Real, we believe in providing people with quality food ingredients to keep the Mexican food tradition alive. Whether it’s traditional pozoles, menudo, or street tacos, quality ingredients make all the difference.
Looking to get quality ingredients for your outdoor gathering this summer? Call Productos Real today and see what we have to offer.