Have you ever asked yourself the question: ‘what is the best meat for tacos?’
Well, I’m here to help you answer that question with my personal list of the 13 best kinds of meat for tacos.
From chicken and beef to pork and lamb, there’s something on this list for everyone.
So, whether you’re looking for a traditional taco filling or something a little more adventurous, read on for my top 10 picks.
13 Best Kinds of Meat for Tacos
The type of meat you use for your tacos can make or break the dish.
You want something that is flavorful and will hold up well to the other ingredients.
Here are 13 of the best kinds of meat for tacos:
1. Flank Steak
Flank streak is lean and has a strong beefy flavor, making it a great type of meat for tacos.
The meat is also easy to shred, which is ideal for taco fillings.
Here are a few ways to use this type of meat for tacos:
- Shredded flank steak makes a great taco filling on its own. Simply season the shredded meat with salt, pepper, and your favorite taco spices.
- Another great way to use flank steak in tacos is by grilling or searing it and slicing it into thin strips. This is a great option if you want to add some grilled flavors to your tacos.
- You can also slow cook the flank steak until it is very tender and shredding it for tacos. This is a great option if you want to add some hearty, flavorful beef to your tacos without having to do any extra work.
2. Blackened Swordfish
If you’re into seafood, then you’re going to love this recipe for blackened swordfish tacos.
See Also: 11 Delicious Sauces for Swordfish I Can’t Resist
Blackening is a cooking technique where the food is cooked in a hot skillet with a small amount of oil.
This gives the food a crispy and slightly charred exterior.
The fish is then seasoned with a blend of spices, which gives it a unique flavor profile that pairs well with fresh toppings like avocado, tomatoes, and cilantro.
Here are a few reasons why blackened swordfish makes great tacos:
- The flavor of the spices pairs well with fresh toppings.
- The fish has a crispy exterior that contrasts nicely with the soft tortilla.
- Swordfish is a hearty fish that will fill you up without weighing you down.
If you’re looking for a new seafood taco recipe to try, give this one a go!
Shrimp is mild, sweet, and salty all at the same time, which makes it the perfect protein to complement the other flavors in a taco.
When pairing shrimp with complementary ingredients, be sure to keep the overall flavor profile in mind.
For example, fresh lime juice and cilantro are a classic combination that brightens up the flavors of shrimp.
The following are a few different ways to use shrimp in tacos:
- Shrimp & Citrus Tacos: Shrimp is cooked with fresh orange juice, lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Serve on soft tortillas with shredded lettuce and diced avocado.
- Chipotle Shrimp Tacos: Cook shrimp with diced onion and diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Serve on soft tortillas with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and diced avocado.
- Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos: Create a bang bang sauce by mixing together mayo, sriracha sauce, and sweet chili sauce. Toss cooked shrimp in the sauce and serve on soft tortillas with shredded lettuce and diced avocado.
4. Shredded Chicken
I’m sure you’ve had shredded chicken in some of your favorite dishes before – whether it be in tacos, nachos, quesadillas, or chicken salad.
But have you ever stopped to think about why shredded chicken is so great?
Let’s explore some of the reasons why shredded chicken just might be the best type of meat for tacos (and other dishes too)!
For one, shredded chicken is extremely versatile. It can be used in a variety of dishes, from Mexican to Asian cuisine.
Plus, it’s easy to cook with – all you need is a little olive oil and some seasonings, and you’re good to go.
Another reason why shredded chicken is a great taco meat option is because it’s relatively healthy.
Compared to other meats like beef or pork, chicken is lower in fat and calories, making it a healthier option overall.
And when it’s cooked without the skin, it’s even healthier!
These are just some of the reasons why shredded chicken just might be the best type of meat for tacos (and other dishes too). Now get out there and enjoy some delicious tacos!
5. Carne Asada
Carne asada is buttery, rich, and juicy— everything you want in a taco filling.
It’s traditionally made by grilling skirt steak, but any cut of beef will work.
Season the meat with a little bit of garlic, lime juice, and chili powder before grilling.
Once the meat is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes so the juices can redistribute, then thinly slice it against the grain.
Serve the carne asada in soft tortillas and top with your favorite taco toppings.
Here are a few ideas for toppings:
- Salsa verde
- Pico de gallo
- Sour cream
- Shredded lettuce
- Chopped tomatoes
6. Al Pastor
Sweet, savory, and just a tiny bit spicy, al pastor is one of the most popular taco fillings in Mexico—and for good reason.
The dish is made by marinating thinly sliced pork in a chili pepper-based adobo sauce before cooking it on a vertical rotisserie.
As the pork cooks, the fat renders out and bastes the meat, infusing it with flavor.
Traditionally, al pastor is made with achiote, an earthy spice made from seedpod powder that gives the dish its characteristic red color.
Commonly used in both Latin American and Middle Eastern cuisine, achiote has a slightly sweet flavor with hints of cumin, clove, and cinnamon.
Al pastor tacos are typically garnished with chopped onions, cilantro, and pineapple.
The sweetness of the fruit helps to balance out the spiciness of the peppers in the adobo sauce, while the cilantro adds a bright pop of flavor.
7. Basic Ground Beef
Ground beef is amazing in so many different recipes – but especially tacos!
There are a few reasons for this:
- Ground beef is extremely versatile. You can add whatever spices and flavors you want to create the perfect taco filling.
- Ground beef is easy to cook. Just brown it in a pan and you’re good to go!
- Ground beef is affordable. Beef prices can fluctuate, but ground beef is usually pretty affordable – making it a great choice for tacos.
So, how can you use ground beef in tacos?
Here are a few ideas:
- Add some spice with chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Then add some freshness with diced tomatoes and onions.
- Keep it classic with just salt, pepper, and onion. Then top with shredded cheese and diced tomatoes.
- Make it extra special with chopped bacon, sauteed mushrooms, and melted cheese. Yum!
8. Skirt Steak (ranchero)
Ranchero is a cut of tough meat from the lower abdominal muscle of the steer.
It is a great type of meat for tacos because it is flavorful and very tender when cooked correctly.
When grilling or frying, be sure to not overcook the meat or it will become tough.
Some ways to use this type of meat for tacos include:
- Steak Tacos
- Shredded for Tacos al Pastor
- Carne Asada
Porkbelly is salty, meaty, and hearty—everything you want in your taco filling.
It’s also affordably priced, making it a great option for feeding a large group.
There are endless ways to use porkbelly in tacos.
- One of my favorites is to slow-cook the pork belly until it’s meltingly tender, then shred it and serve it with fresh salsa and cilantro.
- Another delicious option is to fry the pork belly until crisp, then chop it into small pieces and use it as a toppings for tacos al pastor.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try making your own chorizo using ground pork belly. Simply mix the pork with some paprika, cumin, chili powder, and garlic, then cook it until browned.
Use the homemade chorizo in tacos Mexico City-style, topped with potato and cilantro.
No matter how you prepare it, porkbelly is sure to please everyone at the table.
10. Maciza (lean Meat)
You can also opt for maciza (which is all of the sort of white meat parts of the pig) if you’re looking for a leaner option for your tacos.
This type of meat is still relatively flavorful, especially when it is braised with some onions, garlic, and other spices.
Maciza can also be used in taco salads or as a filling for burritos.
11. Buche (tripe)
Tripe, also known as “buche”, is a type of meat that is often used in tacos.
This type of meat is very versatile and can be used in many different ways.
Here are some reasons why tripe makes a great type of meat for tacos:
- Tripe is very flavorful. This type of meat has a lot of flavor and can really add a lot to a dish. When used in tacos, tripe can really help to enhance the flavor of the dish.
- Tripe is very versatile. This type of meat can be used in many different ways. It can be cooked in different ways and can be used in different dishes. When used in tacos, tripe can really help to change up the flavors and textures of the dish.
- Tripe is healthy. This type of meat is packed with nutrients and is a great source of protein. When used in tacos, tripe can help to boost the nutritional value of the dish.
12. Corned Beef
Ah, corned beef.
A true delicacy in the mouths of many, and for good reason.
This type of beef is not only great for tacos, but pretty much any dish you could possibly dream up.
Corned beef is lightly seasoned with a variety of spices, then slow cooked to perfection.
This results in a juicy, flavorful piece of meat that is perfect for any tacos – be it traditional or Tex-Mex style.
The beef pairs well with a variety of fresh toppings, such as salsa, diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and cheese.
Not to mention, corned beef is also extremely versatile.
If you’re not in the mood for tacos, try it in a quesadilla, nacho dish, or simply on its own with a side of rice and beans.
No matter how you choose to enjoy it, one thing is for sure – corned beef will always hit the spot.
13. Skirt steak
Lastly, a beefy classic: skirt steak.
Skirt steak is long, flat, and a bit tougher than other cuts like flank steak; it’s also very flavorful.
When grilled or pan-seared properly, skirt steak makes for excellent tacos.
For the best flavor, look for a skirt steak that’s been marinated overnight in a mixture of lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and olive oil.
Pro tip: If you can’t find skirt steak, flank steak is a great alternative!
13 Best Kinds of Meat for Tacos
- Flank Steak
- Blackened Swordfish
- Shredded Chicken
- Carne Asada
- Al Pastor
- Basic Ground Beef
- Skirt Steak (ranchero)
- Maciza (lean Meat)
- Buche (tripe)
- Corned Beef
- Skirt steak
- Choose your favorite type of meat from this list to use for your taco recipe.
- Prepare the rest of your meal.
- Enjoy in no time!