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What Is Taco Meat and How Do You Make Taco Meat?

What Is Taco Meat and How Do You Make Taco Meat?

Last Updated on 10th March 2022 by

When someone talks about taco meat, you may be wondering what kind of meat they are referring to. Is it beef, chicken, pork, or something else? Is there a standard taco meat?

Traditional taco meat is ground beef, though there are several types of taco meat. This is cooked up and seasoned several different ways for your tacos, and I will show you how to cook taco meat in this article.

What Is Taco Meat?

Traditionally, taco meat is made from ground or ground chuck. It may or may not be seasoned, and it could include taco sauce or another kind of tomato-based sauce that gives it a red appearance.

This is a boneless meat that is usually packaged raw, and you need to cook it before adding it to your tacos.

How to Make Taco Meat

If you’ve never made taco meat before, the good news is that it is very simple to make. It cooks up quickly, without the need for cooking oil. You can make it right on your stovetop with just a pan and something to stir the meat with, though there are fancier and more complex ways to make taco meat as well.

Let’s start with a very basic method and then add on to that, giving you the option to make this as flavorful and complex as you like.

You don’t have to preheat the pan or prepare the meat. Just dump out as much of the ground beef as you like from the package and put it into a frying pan on the stove. You don’t even have to use a nonstick pan.

Just warm the taco meat on medium heat and stir it with a wooden spoon or other utensil. The meat should turn greyish-brown as it is cooked, and the pinkish-red color should start to disappear.

Once there is no more pink in the pan, your meat is cooked. You can allow it to cook for longer until the meat takes on a dark brown appearance, if you like.

This method for how to cook taco meat on the stove is very simple and basic, and the meat cooks in a just a few minutes. It cooks in its own fat as well, which is why you don’t need to add any oil, sauce or water to it.

You can drain out the fat and pat the meat dry with a paper towel if you want. That’s a good way to reduce the fat content and make the meat healthier.

How to Season Taco Meat

Now that you have your basic taco meat, there are a few ways you can make it more interesting. You can give it more flavor and a different texture by adding a few things to it.

How to make taco meat like Mexican restaurants? You will need to add some taco sauce and taco seasoning to it. These give it a complex and appealing flavor profile, and they are really easy to add as well.

What to season taco meat with? Taco sauce adds some flavor to it, and any kind of taco sauce will work, but if you have a favorite, then feel free to use that one.

You can also add prepackaged taco seasoning, which is often made from a combination of garlic, salt, paprika, cumin, oregano, sugar, and onion powder. You can make that yourself or buy a package from the grocery.

When do you add the seasoning? It should be added just after the meat starts to cook in the pan. This way, the sauce and the seasoning cook into the meat. You can use one or the other, or both.

Taco seasoning can dry out the meat a bit, giving it a saltier flavor. Taco sauce makes the meat moister, and it can be easier to work with as opposed to how crumbly a dry taco meat can be.

If your taco meat is wet with sauce, it will stay in the taco shell better, while crumbly, dry taco meat may fall out and be trickier to eat.

What to Do with Leftover Taco Meat?

If you decided to make some tacos and have some leftover meat on hand, there are lots of great uses for it. You don’t have to have tacos two nights in a row. Instead, try making a lasagna with it, or a bean and chili dish.

It can also be used in taco salad, Mexican casserole, soup, spaghetti, or other dishes that call for ground beef or meat sauce.

You can also use the meat to make different kinds of tacos. Try changing up the fillings you use for the tacos to make a variety of tacos. You can stretch the meat far this way, trying new flavors and even seasoning the meat differently.

Perhaps, one day you can add some salsa to the meat and another you can add a little hot sauce.

How Long Is Taco Meat Good For?

If you want to store your leftover taco meat safely and ensure it stays fresh for as long as possible, then put it into an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep there for three to four days, but only if it doesn’t sit out for too long.

You reduce its shelf life every time you leave the meat sitting out on the counter.

Only reheat what you are going to use. Any leftover meat that is reheated at a later date should be used immediately and not stored back in the fridge.

Changing the temperature back and forth from hot to cold, by placing it into the fridge after reheating, puts the meat at risk for infection. You are making the meat ripe for bacteria of all kinds to make their home in it.

Keep the meat stored in the back of the fridge until it is ready to be used. This prevents temperature changes from affecting the meat too much.

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Pauline Loughlin
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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!