Different Types of Meats Used in Popular Mexican Dishes
People all over the world have embraced the spicy and flavorful characteristics of Mexican cuisine. At the center of this rich cuisine is the Mexican meats used as the center of every dish. The food from Mexico has been adopted as a favorite throughout the United States and sometimes modified to fit regional preferences and other creative additions. Mexican food offers plenty of room for creativity, but understanding the quintessential Mexican meats ensures you get started on the right foot.
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For the Love of Meat: The Carnivorous Tradition of Mexico
Mexico is rich in natural resources and diverse landscapes and wildlife. The country enjoys the natural wonders of oceans, lakes, rivers, and forest areas. Because of this, an abundance of wildlife reigned throughout the land, and a wide variety of animals became staple food sources for the Mexican people.
The most common protein sources of the Mexican people include beef, pork, and chicken. Most beloved food dishes in Mexico are based on one of these three meats or a combination. Part of what makes the dishes stand out is how people cut, prepare, and season with the right spices. Mexico takes meat very seriously, and it’s why vegan or vegetarian visitors to the country can sometimes have a hard time finding what to order.
So, let’s take a look at some of Mexican cuisine’s favorite meats.
If you are looking for the right ingredients for your Mexican dishes, Productos Real can help you find the right cuts of meat. Call us to learn more.
The Most Beloved Mexican Meat and How to Prepare Them
If you’re trying your hand at traditional Mexican food for dinner, you can start with the meat. After all, tacos and other dishes can be highly personalized as long as the meat component is done properly.
Here are the most well-known types of Mexican meats.
Let’s start with the basics. Carne asada is simple but flavorful. It refers to steak cooked “al carbon,” which means over charcoal or on a grill. The trick to carne asada is about finding the right marinade and getting that smoky flavor from the charcoal. If the marinade consists of the right flavors, all you need is some tortillas and a grill, and you are good to go.
Dishes that use carne asada
Once prepared, carne asada is used as the central ingredient for:
- Steak tacos
Directly translated as “little meats,” this popular dish has many variations. Carnitas refers to tender pork. At the center of preparing this in authentic Mexican fashion is how the pork is seasoned, braised until tender (usually with lard), garlic, oregano, and herb. Traditionally carnitas were slow-cooked in cauldrons over an open fire.
In order to get the carnitas nice and juicy, most people will use cuts from the shoulder and cook them over a fire on cast iron.
Dishes that use carnitas: So, how do people traditionally consume carnitas? This flavor-rich meat is used in burritos, over rice.
Al Pastor is another staple Mexican meat. It is widely loved, though sometimes not well understood. Getting al pastor to taste just right is all about the marinade. The Al Pastor marinade incorporates different blends of chiles and spices. The cook then stacks the meat on what is known as the “trompo” or a rotating vertical spit, where it becomes tender and can be cut just right.
The origin of al pastor is courtesy of Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. These immigrants introduced roast lamb to the Puebla region, where it was modified to use pork and eventually became the al pastor dish.
Dishes that use al pastor
Enjoy these juicy meats in:
- As a main dish with rice
- Street tacos
This well-known meat is another Mexican staple used in a variety of dishes. Often known as a breakfast meat, chorizo can be used for so much more! This is a spicy sausage that first originated in Portugal and Spain. The Mexican chorizo, however, is mostly ground beef or pork and is made with a lot of red chile powder and seasonings.
Dishes that use chorizo
People can go all out with chorizo. Use this juicy sausage with:
- Eggs as a breakfast dish
- Breakfast burritos
- Mixed with potatoes
- Can also be prepared as delicious street tacos
Get the Right Meat for Your Mexican Dinner
Part of the fun of cooking Mexican cuisine is the great variety that exists. While there is a traditional way of preparing these meats and some fundamental principles, there is a lot of wiggle room for people to discover new flavors and variations. You can keep it simple or go bold with new ingredients.
Are you ready to get the best Mexican ingredients in the El Paso area? Whether you are cooking for two or for a whole party, we have the Mexican meat to make your dish unforgettable. Call Productos Real today.