Americans eat more than 4.5 billion tacos a year. Tacos rank among our most beloved fast foods, good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack after the bars close. And now, tacos have their own day! Taco Tuesdays have become a ritual in kitchens across the country.
We challenge you to mix it up this week, and grill your taco ingredients! We’ve compiled a list of recipes below to get your started.
Like many totemic dishes on Planet Barbecue, the tacos al pastor stems from multiple peoples, cultures, and continents. Grill masters have, over time, adapted the recipe to make it their own. Pork came to replace the lamb, chiles and achiote replaced the olive oil and Middle Eastern herbs, and the whole shebang came to be served on tortillas instead of pita. We assume you don’t own a vertical rotisserie, so this recipe relies on direct grilling.
In coastal Mexico, from the Baja peninsula to the Yucatán, fish tacos are not so much a recipe as an appetizing equation: fish + wrappers + condiments = fish tacos. Consequently, they’re infinitely customizable. There’s the protein: fresh fish, seasoned and served hot off the grill. There’s the wrapper: a warm corn or flour tortilla, preferably handmade by someone who knows their masa on a cast iron comal or tortilla press. And at least one homemade salsa or relish.
Inspired by Korean bool kogi (grilled rib eye steak), the beef taco starts with one of the world’s most flavorful marinades, a sweet-salty-nutty mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and mirin (sweet rice wine), with ginger, garlic, and scallions to make sure you’re paying attention. Like so many great finger foods, you wrap everything up, in this case in lettuce leaves, and eat it with your hands.
With at least 4 hours for marinating the pork, plus 4 to 6 hours cooking time, you’ll need to plan ahead when making this recipe. The results are well worth the effort—especially when you serve the fall-of-the-bone tender pork with Salsa Borracha (Drunken Salsa). It’s not the sort of salsa you’d serve with chips, but barbacoa just wouldn’t taste right without it.
This recipe from BBQ USA combines cilantro, jalapeños, scallions, chopped garlic, salt, black pepper, and cumin in a marinade that gives the recipe its name. Try a wire mesh basket to make grilling the shrimp easier.
6. Build Your Own Taco Combination with Homemade Salsas
Craft your own taco combination with your favorite grilled meat, and a homemade salsa. Perhaps a piquant pico de gallo, a bright-tasting salsa verde, or a refreshing jalapeño-spiked pineapple “salsa.” Or try the traditional Latin American Molho à Campanha (Country Salsa) recipe from Planet Barbecue.